Research Methods 2

SOCY 2112
Spring 2023
Tues/Thurs 2:15 – 4:30pm
Full syllabus document here.

Prof. Naomi Braine
3103 James Hall
Tues 1-2pm

This course introduces the core concepts and principles of quantitative analysis and reasoning; students will learn how to think with and about numbers and what they can tell us about society. Sociologists often use quantitative data to test and revise theories, and a solid grounding in statistics is essential to participating in the discipline, even for sociologists whose own work uses qualitative methods.  In addition, in our current “information age,” a basic understanding of statistical reasoning and analyses is vital to critically digest the daily news and engage with the data aspects of public policy debates.  

In this class, we will focus on the analysis and interpretation of quantitative data, which includes learning key mathematical formulas.  Students will learn concepts and analytic techniques through lecture and discussion, then apply them through hands on analysis and interpretation during lab sessions and homework assignments.  We will examine how quantitative research questions are developed in Sociology, and critically read journal articles to learn how statistical arguments are used to answer research questions.   Students will work together to apply analytic techniques to actual data, and learn how to ask research questions that use quantitative methods.  The goal is a better understanding of the uses and analysis of quantitative data in social research.

All class readings and assignments are on the class website (see tiles below).


At the end of the semester, students who successfully complete the course requirements will be able to:

  • Understand what types of sociological questions are best suited to quantitative analysis
  • Explain the logic of statistical inference and hypothesis testing
  • Perform basic data analyses using Excel
  • Read and interpret basic statistical analyses
  • Apply quantitative reasoning to their own sociological questions
  • Develop a research proposal