Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 5
Hours: 4 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (84 total per quarter)
Prerequisite: SOC 1 or 1H.
Advisory: PSYC 7, SOC 7, MATH 10, or MATH 17; and ENGL 1A or 1AH; not open to students with credit in PSYC 10.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to identify specific methods used in sociological and psychological research.
  • Students will be able to analyze research by differentiating claims, data and findings.


How do we know what we know? This course develops students' analytical abilities and understanding of the fundamental importance of the social science research process in knowledge construction or how we come to "know" things, interpret the world, and move forward in ways that help us address issues, solve problems, and improve the human condition. The course is applicable to everyday citizens and social scientists alike and is relevant to people in all walks of life, not only social scientists. Students examine fundamental elements of empirical research and the ways in which sociologists, social scientists, academics, policy makers, community members, concerned citizens, and others approach, create, gather data, evaluate, critique, and interpret social research. Includes attention to the nature of theory, hypotheses, variables, and ethics of research. Application of qualitative and quantitative analytic tools, including logic and research design, such as survey, observational, experimental, case study, and comparative historical research. Emphasis on research design and statistical techniques, planning, experimental procedures, and the collection, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of data. Laboratory emphasis on group work, data entry, and analysis of data. Computer applications recommended.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Examine scientific inquiry in the social sciences
  2. Understand the importance of social research in the creation of greater good in the human and environmental condition
    1. Explore the importance of social research in the creation of greater understanding of human society with the aim of recognizing and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability at micro, meso, and global levels
  3. Explore the relationship between theoretical paradigms, theory, and social research
  4. Compare and contrast different types of research methods and designs
  5. Explore various types of social research, including survey research, ethnography/field research, unobtrusive research, evaluation research
  6. Compare and contrast qualitative and quantitative analysis of data, including current statistical software
  7. Read and write about social research
  8. Explain the basic principles of the scientific method
  9. Evaluate research studies
  10. Synthesize a body of research findings (literature review)
  11. Design a research project
  12. Explain the ethical treatment of human and animal participants in research
  13. Collect appropriate data and conduct analyses of the data using statistical software
  14. Interpret the results of statistical analyses
  15. Communicate research findings to others in written and oral formats

Course Content

  1. Scientific inquiry in the social sciences and social research
  2. Paradigms, theory, and social research
  3. The ethics and politics of social research
  4. Research design
  5. Conceptualizing and operationalizing measurement
  6. Indexing and scale construction
  7. Sampling
  8. Observation modes: survey research, field research, unobtrusive research, evaluation research
  9. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of data, including current statistical software
  10. Reading and writing social research
  11. Using research to improve the human condition—research in broad societal applications—for the greater good

Lab Content

  1. Identify various research designs
  2. Enter data and conduct statistical analyses on practice research studies
  3. Create a research study that contributes to the greater good
    1. Locate information necessary to conduct research
    2. Use computerized databases
    3. Access sociology web-based resources to create a literature review on a proposed study
  4. Formulate and test a hypothesis using appropriate research designs
  5. Collect data for a research project
  6. Code, enter, and analyze data using statistical software
  7. Write up research project using ASA format
  8. Give oral presentation of research project
  9. Conduct research using a team approach
  10. Reflect on how research studies can be used to create greater good

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught via Foothill Global Access, reliable and continuous internet access is required. Students should take note of the software and/or hardware requirements to access the online platform and are encouraged to not use smart phones to complete their online work.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Exams (multiple choice and short answer/essay questions)
Problem solving exercises
Oral presentation on research project
Written research project in ASA style
Group work

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Class discussions
Active learning exercises
Laboratory work (e.g., research study creation and analysis)

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Babbie, Earl. The Practice of Social Research. 2021.

Carr, D., E.H. Boyle, B. Cornwell, S. Correll, R. Crosnoe, J. Freese, and M.C. Waters. The Art and Science of Social Research. 2020.

Cozby, Paul, and Scott Bates. Methods in Behavioral Research. 2020.

Neuman, W. Lawrence. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 2020.

Schutt, Russell. Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research. 2018.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Required to choose a topic of interest from class lectures, readings, or real world examples
  2. Conduct a literature review on a specific sociological term, concept, or theory
  3. Conduct research by accessing psychological and sociological web-based databases (e.g., SOCArticles, Jstor, Sociology and Behavioral Sciences Collection)
  4. Meet with other group members to conduct research project
  5. Read textbook and research articles in sociology and related fields
  6. Write final research paper or alternative format project using ASA format