Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2017/2018

SOCI 495: Integrative Seminar

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  Course Description

This course is the culminating experience for the Sociology major.  It is a capstone course which asks you to apply prior learning to probing major areas of research in sociology.  A grade of a C or better is required to pass this course and all prerequisite courses

Prerequisite: Senior standing; sociology major; SOCI 111 or SOCI 112, BIOL/PSYC/SOCI 324, and either PSYC/SOCI 325 or ANTH/PSYC/SOCI 327.

Proctored Exams: None



  Textbooks

Required

  • Mills, C. W. (2008). The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.
    • [ISBN-978-0195343045]
  • The Sociology Writing Group. (2014). A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers (7th). Freeman/Worth.
    • [ISBN-978-1-4292-3479-5]

Recommended

  • Stephens, W. Richard. (2004). Careers in Sociology (3rd). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
    • [ISBN-0-205-37922-4]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

This course is the capstone course for the sociology degree. You will integrate information you have been exposed to throughout your program, including theory and research methods, and apply them to a substantive topic of choice. You are expected to complete an original research proposal, with appropriate theoretical foundation and research methodology, culminating in a 15 to 20-page written work. You will choose a research idea that interests you, establish a theoretical basis for your work, do an extensive literature review, describe the methodologies you would engage in to investigate this phenomenon, and integrate this information into a cohesive, well written paper. You need to make sure you pick a topic that you are interested in because you will be engaged with this topic for eight intensive weeks. This kind of proposal could eventually be used in a graduate program as a research project.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to formulate, propose, and defend a compelling sociological research proposal.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to ask a central sociological research question and explain its significance within the field of sociology.
  3. Evaluate and apply competing sociological concepts and theories to the analysis of fundamental sociological problems.
  4. Explain the main research methodologies in sociology and select and describe those appropriate for the proposed research project.
  5. Describe the current state of sociology as an academic discipline.

  Grading

Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (12) 300 30%
Research Statement and Reference List 50 5%
Research Proposal: Abstract & Literature Review 150 15%
Research Proposal: Methodology/Conclusion 150 15%
Research Proposal: Peer Review 50 5%
Research Proposal: Final Proposal 300 30%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1: Introduction 25 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 3: Sociology in Your Life 25 Friday/Sunday
Discussion 2: Theoretical Application to Social Phenomena 25

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4: The Importance of Writing Well 25 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 5: Preliminary Proposal Research Idea 25 Friday/Sunday
Assignment 1: Research Statement and Annotated Reference List 50 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6: Exploring Plagiarism 25 Wednesday/Sunday
Assignment 2: Literature Review 150 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7: Research Methodologies 25 Wednesday/Sunday
Assignment 3: Methodology/conclusion 150 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8: C. Wright Mills Revisited 25 Wednesday/Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9: Careers in Sociology 25 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10: Potential Issues with Data Collection 25 Friday/Sunday
Assignment 4: Peer Edit 50 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11: Research Reflection 25 Wednesday/Sunday
Assignment 5: Final Proposal Submission 300 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12: Evaluate your Program of Study 25 Wednesday/Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview

Discussions

Discussion postings should be completed by their respective deadlines (Wednesdays/Sundays and Fridays/Sundays at 11:59 pm CT) of each assigned week. Students are required to post a thorough response to the question, interact substantively with peers in each topic, and read the majority of peer responses to receive full credit.

Research Proposal

The major project in this course is a 15-20 page research proposal. You will write the proposal in stages.

Assignment 1: Research Statement and Annotated Reference List

In Week 2, it is imperative that you focus on your research question and begin looking for sources you will use.  You are required to have 8 peer-reviewed sources.  This means that your sources have been evaluated by other professionals in the field.  For the nature of this course work, journal articles would be best, although books will count as peer-reviewed sourcing. Items that will not count towards your source totals are business or agency websites, government publications on government websites, popular periodicals such as Time or Newsweek, dissertations or theses, or newspaper articles. For your first assignment, research your topic of interest. In one Word document, provide a one paragraph research statement of what you will be examining in your proposal. Include why it is important to study this, how you intend to study this, and what you expect you would find. Then, provide a brief annotated bibliography, addressing for each source (separately) why you think it would be valid and relevant to your study. Submit the one document containing your Research Statement and your Annotated Reference List of 8 resources in APA style, by Week 2 Sunday at 11:59 pm CT.

Assignment 2: Literature Review

In Week 3, you will submit a Literature Review; this draft will include the title page, abstract, literature review, and reference list (without annotations). Review the research proposal outline presented in the Research Proposal Guidelines area of the course.  You will need to have the main ideas here (such as your research question and key points of the literature review).  It should be written in third person (eliminate personal anecdotes and first-person language). This is a rough draft, so it is not expected to be perfect; it should still be complete, and proofread.  If the proposal is riddled with grammatical errors I will simply return it to you and require you clean it up before I will grade it (and you will lose points for a tardy submission).  If you do not have access to a writing center and writing is not your strong suit, contact another student in the course to request a ‘paper exchange’ to swap papers and help each other proofread.  Please submit by Sunday of week 3 at 11:59 pm CT.

Assignment 3: Methodology/Conclusion

In Week 4, you will submit a plan for conducting the research and collecting analyzing the data.

Describe the methods for data collection and analysis and a conclusion for your proposal and submit it to the dropbox by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT.  Be sure to reference the Research Proposal Outline presented in the Content area of the course.  Enlist an outsider to help edit/proof read this for you.  This outsider can be a member of the Columbia College campus community or the Writing Center. It can also be a member of your family or some outsider who may not have any sociological knowledge, but will be able to help make sure your paper logically flows, is well written, and has limited spelling and grammatical errors. This should include your complete methods (sample, methods, data analysis, conclusion, reference list, and appendices with copies of consent and instruments).

Before submitting your paper, refer to the guidelines at the beginning of the syllabus and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your research design (methodology) explicit? Are your justifications for your choice of research design explicit?
  • Are you using your sociological imagination? In other words, are you ‘taking it big? Are you analyzing your research question in terms of larger social and historical circumstances within which the phenomenon occurs?
  • Are you using APA formatting style (in the body of the text as well as on the reference page)?
  • Have you eliminated spelling and grammatical errors?

Submit by Sunday of Week 4 at 11:59 pm CT.

Assignment 4: Peer Review

In Week 6, you will provide peer review of another classmate’s proposal. You will read one of your colleague’s papers this week and provide written feedback on his or her final paper, using the criteria in the Content area by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.  I will assign you a classmate to peer edit and post that in the course announcements by Monday of week 6.  By Wednesday of week 6, you need to send a full draft to your peer reviewer (intro, abstract, literature review, methods, data collection and analysis, and conclusion) via the designated group discussion board.  By Sunday of week 6 you need to return the draft with your comments to your partner via the group discussion board.


Assignment 5: Final Proposal

After giving and receiving peer review, you will revise and submit your final proposal in Week 7. Submit the final draft of your research proposal. This paper is expected to be 15-20 pages in length (at least 15 pages of content, not including title page, abstract, or reference page(s). It must be properly formatted (see your text for guidance) and must include the use of at least eight academic sources.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Readings
  • A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers: Chapters 1 & 2
  • Introduction to Sociology: Chapter 3 (in the Content area of the course)
  • TED Talk: “The Wisdom of Sociology”
  • Review Lecture Materials
Discussion 1: Introduction
Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic. Please give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interests, background in sociology, and any other information that can help us get to know you. Specifically for this class, it would be useful for you to discuss your favorite sociology courses and why you chose sociology as your major. Post your initial response by Wednesday and your response post by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT.
Discussion 3: Sociology in Your Life
Watch Sam Richards discuss “The Wisdom of Sociology.” How has your study of sociology changed your perspective toward life? How are you using your knowledge of sociology professionally? How has it influenced your decision-making for your personal life?  Initial post due by 11:59 pm Friday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Discussion 2: Theoretical Application to Social Phenomena
Identify and describe the three theoretical perspectives in sociology. Go beyond your two textbooks. It might be useful to refer to an introductory or advanced sociology textbook, for instance. After identifying and describing the three theoretical perspectives, identify the one that most resonates with you and explain why. Initial post due by 11:59 pm Friday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Readings
  • A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers:  Chapter 3 and Chapter 4
  • APA Resources in Content Area of the course
  • CC Evaluating Resources
Discussion 4: The Importance of Writing Well
Why is writing well important? Identify one of the reasons writing well is so important that was discussed in the readings and why it resonated with you. Additionally, identify one weakness you have in writing and how you can improve upon that. This takes courage to admit, I realize, but remember, everyone can improve his writing; in order to improve, we must recognize our weaknesses. Initial post due by 11:59 pm Wednesday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Discussion 5: Preliminary Proposal Research Idea
Discuss your preliminary research proposal idea, the sociological significance of this, why are you interested in the topic, and how you would  investigate your topic. What research methodology would you plan on using?  Initial post due by 11:59 pm Friday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Assignment 1: Research Statement and Annotated Reference List
It is imperative early on in the course you begin looking for sources you will use. You are required to have 8 peer-reviewed sources. This means that your sources have been evaluated by other professionals in the field. For the nature of this coursework, journal articles would be best, although books will count as peer-reviewed sourcing. Items that will not count towards your source totals are business or agency websites, government publications on government websites, popular periodicals such as Time or Newsweek, dissertations or theses, or newspaper articles. For your first assignment, research your topic of interest in the Columbia College Library (the Journal Locator would be your ideal starting point). In one Word document, list your eight sources (in APA style), properly formatted. Provide a brief annotation for each source to explain why you think it is a valid source and why you think it would be relevant for your research. Submit the document containing your Research Statement and Annotated Reference List to the dropbox by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.
Readings
  • Peer-Reviewed resources used for literature review
  • A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers : Chapter 5
  •  Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting: A Guide to Doing it Right! Video
  • APA Literature Review Video
  • Plagiarism 2.0: Information Ethics in the Digital Age
  • The Punishable Perils of Plagiarism
Discussion 6: Exploring Plagiarism
There is considerable discussion of the influence the Internet era, and online technologies have had upon fair use of academic resources (namely, plagiarism). View the video, “Plagiarism 2.0 Information Ethics in the Digital Age” from our Columbia College library resources, and then consider the ethics of plagiarism. Identify some of the ways plagiarism occurs. What types of plagiarism do you think happens most commonly in a college environment? Is there ever an instance where plagiarism is justifiable? What ways can students avoid plagiarism? Initial post due by 11:59 pm Wednesday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Assignment 2: Literature Review
This draft will include the title page, abstract, literature review, and reference list (without annotations). Review the research proposal outline presented in the Content area of the course.  You will need to have the main ideas here (such as your research question and key points of literature review).  It should be written in third person (eliminate personal anecdotes, and first-person language). This is a rough draft, so it is not expected to be perfect; it should still be complete, and proofread.  If the proposal is riddled with grammatical errors I will simply return it to you and require you clean it up before I will grade it (and you will lose points for a tardy submission).  If you do not have access to a writing center and writing is not your strong suit, contact another student in the course to request a ‘paper exchange’ to swap papers and help each other proofread.  Please submit by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Readings
  • A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers: Part 3
  • "Social Science and the Public Good"
  • TED Talk: "Design and Discovery"
Discussion 7: Research Methodologies

Describe the research methodology you have selected for your research proposal.  Feel free to reference a research methods textbook to assist you with this process.  How you would go about answering the research question you have posed?  You must demonstrate knowledge of various research methodologies by justifying your choice of method.  Provide feedback to one another to help tease out issues or research dilemmas you may not currently recognize. Initial post due by 11:59 pm Wednesday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Assignment 3: Methodology/conclusion

Describe the methods for data collection and analysis and a conclusion for your proposal and submit it to the Dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.  Be sure to reference the Research Proposal Outline presented in the Content area of the course.  Enlist an outsider to help edit/proof read this for you.  This outsider can be a member of the Columbia College campus community or the Writing Center. It can also be a member of your family or some outsider who may not have any sociological knowledge, but will be able to help make sure your paper logically flows, is well written, and has limited spelling and grammatical errors. This should include your complete methods (sample, methods, data analysis, conclusion, reference list, and appendices with copies of consent and instruments).

 Before submitting your paper, refer to the guidelines at the beginning of the syllabus and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your research design (methodology) explicit? Are your justifications for your choice of research design explicit?
  • Are you using your sociological imagination? In other words, are you ‘taking it big?’Are you analyzing your research question in terms of larger social and historical circumstances within which the phenomenon occurs?
  • Are you using APA formatting style (in the body of the text as well as on the reference page)?
  • Have you eliminated spelling and grammatical errors?

Submit to the Dropbox by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Readings
  • The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills:  Any three (3) chapters of your choosing.
Discussion 8: C. Wright Mills Revisited
Consider the applicability of a sociological imagination to your proposed research topic. What are ways the issue can be misconstrued in an individual or cultural context? What are insights you can gain by considering the phenomena sociologically? Who would benefit from reading your proposed research study, and in what way? Would anyone oppose the scientific exploration of your topic? If so why? Initial post due by 11:59 pm Wednesday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Readings
  • “What are they doing with a bachelor’s degree in sociology?” available in the Content Area.
  • Careers in Sociology ASA website.
Discussion 9: Careers in Sociology
Identify careers for sociologists. Which of these might interest you? Why? How are you using sociology in your current career? Please provide examples. Initial post due by 11:59 pm Wednesday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Discussion 10: Potential Issues with Data Collection
Discuss any potential issues with data collection. Can you foresee particular difficulties? If so, how would you address them? What are the limitations to your study (specify at least 3)? What would you need to note in your “call for future research needs”? This will tie into your conclusion for your proposal, so use this as an opportunity to get feedback from peers.  Initial post due by 11:59 pm Friday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Assignment 4: Peer Edit
You will read one of your colleague’s papers this week and provide written feedback on his or her final paper, using criteria in Content area by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.  I will assign you a classmate to peer edit and post the assignments in the course announcements by Monday of week 6.  By Wednesday of week 6, you need to send a full draft to your peer reviewer (intro, title page, abstract, literature review, methods, data analysis, and conclusion) via the assigned group discussion board. By Sunday of week 6 you need to return the draft with your comments to your partner via the group discussion board.
Readings
  • A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers:  Part 4
Discussion 11: Research Reflection
Analyze stages of the proposal. What has been the most difficult component of your research proposal? What would you have liked more information on?  What do you feel you have gained through the process of writing this proposal? Initial post due by 11:59 pm Wednesday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.
Assignment 5: Final Proposal Submission
Submit the final draft of your research proposal. This paper is expected to be 15-20 pages in length (at least 15 pages of content, not including title page, abstract, or reference page(s). It must be properly formatted (see your text for guidance) and must include the use of at least eight academic sources. Due by Sunday 11:59 pm CT.
Discussion 12: Evaluate your Program of Study
Evaluate your program of study. Reflect on your sociology coursework. What strengths would you identify in the curriculum? Weaknesses? What percentage of your sociology coursework was taken through Columbia College (estimate)? What percentage of your coursework was taken online (estimate)? Initial post due by 11:59 pm Wednesday and response posts due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

No late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and with instructor notification prior to the due date. If approved for late submission, work will still be penalized 20% per day.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.