Fall 2017 - SA 255 D100

Introduction to Social Research (SA) (4)

Class Number: 2498

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 5 – Dec 4, 2017: Fri, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Nicholas Scott
    Office: AQ 5100
    Office Hours: Wednesday, 11:30-13:00
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150.



An introduction to the conduct of sociological and anthropological research. Topics covered include: the relationship between theory and research, concept formation, operationalization, exploratory studies, hypothesis generation and testing, data collection techniques within both sociology and anthropology, the assessment of causality, the critical evaluation of research on both theoretical and methodological grounds, the definition of research problems, and ethical issues in social research. Quantitative.


This course will introduce students to the design and practice of social research. Good research comes in many designs and this course will emphasize methodological diversity. It will stress the importance of learning, and mixing together, a variety of different research techniques, including visual methods, ethnography, mapping, survey research, mobile methods, and more. It will highlight the analytical power and sociological significance of crossing the qualitative/quantitative divide, a skill central to understanding the complexity and dynamic nature of contemporary society. 

Additionally, this course will focus on placing research methods in the context of the larger process of doing research. Namely, it will explore how social researchers: generate good questions, puzzles and hypotheses; relate social theory to research through various designs; operationalize concepts in multiple ways; select good case studies; collect, manipulate and analyze data; triangulate data from different methods; address ethical challenges associated with social research; and critically evaluate scientific knowledge. In order to complete course assignments, students will be required to conduct independent research outside the classroom. These activities may require travel by vehicle or public transit, as well as on foot.


  • Tutorial Participation 10%
  • Methods Application Assignments (3 x 15%) 45%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Final Mixed Methods Portfolio 25%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned a N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. If you fail to complete 40% (or more) of course evaluations, you will receive an “N”, which for purposes of academic standing is equivalent to “F”.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy:
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Readings will be available on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html