SOCI 498 (Senior Seminar) Requirements
- Sociology 498 is the capstone course for the sociology major. Its primary goal is to guide students through a theoretically-informed independent research project linked to the course topic selected by the instructor and using data collected by the method(s) selected by the instructor. Its secondary goal is to expose students to key themes, perspectives, and theoretical concepts in a substantive sociological topic selected by the instructor.
- The senior seminar builds on the fundamentals of research design and data analysis presented in Sociology 300 and the theoretical perspectives presented in Sociology 375. In addition, Sociology 498 encourages students to draw on sociological theories and research presented in their elective courses in designing their projects and analyzing the data collected. Ultimately, students should create a project that constitutes the culmination of their learning within the sociology major.
- Student Prerequisites
- Students must complete SOCI 201, SOCI 300, SOCI 375, MATH 165/SOCI 301 (each with a minimum grade of C-); 12 additional Sociology units; and have senior standing. Students must have filed (and be eligible) for graduation in the semester in which they plan to take SOCI 498.
- Instructors may use the books and readings of their choice when they teach this course.
- Course Content
- Instruction on the method(s) to be used for the research projects [instructors should expect students to have no familiarity or past experience with the methods(s) in question]
- Supervision of and feedback on the stages of an independent research project, including project design, research ethics, data collection, data analysis, literature review, and writing the final paper
- Key themes, perspectives, and ideas in the course’s substantive sociological topic
- Note: Each instructor must specify a substantive sociological topic and research method(s) to be the focus of the senior seminar course they will be teaching. The topic and method(s) to be emphasized must be clearly identified in the syllabus. All research projects for the course will use the topic and methods specified in the syllabus. The course topic and method(s), as well as an extended course description, must be made available to students at least one week prior to the start of the first registration period. All elements of student research projects are subject to instructor approval.
- Course Requirements
- Each student must complete an individual, independent research project based on original data analysis. Group projects are not allowed. In most cases, this project will require original data collection. Projects will utilize the data collection and analysis methods and will focus on the topic specified in the syllabus.
- The project must culminate in a paper of no fewer than 20 double-spaced pages of narrative/analysis (excluding table of contents, bibliography, tables, etc.) but instructors may require more.
- Students must submit two copies of the final project. The second copy, for departmental assessment purposes, should have the author's name removed.
- Students must analyze (and collect, in most cases) a minimum quantity of data to be explicitly specified by the instructor. See below for departmental guidelines on minimum data quantities.
- Students must complete their projects in stages and receive instructor approval of each stage before continuing to the next. Stages may include (but are not limited to) topic selection, research proposal, literature review, theoretical framework, data collection instrument, data analysis, and paper introduction.
- Instructors may specify a date by which students can turn in a completed first draft of their project to receive feedback before submitting the final project.
- Students must give an oral presentation of their research to the class.
- Students will be expected to turn in all raw data with their final projects. The data do not have to be returned.
- In addition to the final research project and related assignments, instructors may require additional assignments, papers, and/or exams.
Guidelines for Suggested Minimum Data Quantities
Surveys = 100 surveys
Interviews = 10 (intensive, 45 minutes)
Field Observations = 15 hours of observation
Note: These guidelines do not include all possible methods; data minimums for additional methods should be determined by (1) the critical mass of data necessary for good analysis, and (2) equivalence (in terms of demand on students) with the minimums specified above.
Approved: September 7, 2006; Revised: April 2012; February 2013; May 5, 2015; Prerequisites revised to match previously approved changes, June 2021