How Do You Know What You Know?

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Spring 2019
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Wenhong Wang
sociology and social statistics

In this world of information explosion, we are constantly bombarded by new discoveries, surprising claims, as well as familiar statements, routine analyses, often backed by scientific evidence and numbers. So what is social scientific methodology? Why do we need it? What do we really mean by  scientific  research? What is the difference between scientific research and common sense? Can we really be objective in our research? What is the role of subjective judgment in research?  Is experimenting on human being ethical? What data can and cannot tell you? How to tell good research from bad research? Which approach is better, qualitative or quantitative, in what situations? What are the major methods for social scientific research? What role does statistics play in scientific research? How can you tell which numbers are used correctly and which are not? How can we use statistical tools to inform, to explore and to empower? And how do we know what we know? 

In this introductory research methodology program, we will look into the rationale of social scientific research, study the major methods in social sciences, and their pros and cons. We will learn to ask meaningful questions, practice research design, understand and evaluate research papers and last but not least, get our feet wet in the actual research practice. We are also going to study social statistics, including descriptive statistics and an overview of inferential statistics. Class activities will include workshops, lectures, seminars, and film screening. The students will demonstrate their learning through essays, group work, and a major research project involving statistical analysis.

The statistical component meets the prerequisites of Master in Teaching and Master of Public Administration. 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: Research in social sciences, social work, education, teaching, public administration

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

High school algebra

Scheduled for: Weekend

Located in: Olympia

Advertised schedule:

Sat/Sun 9:30am-5:00pm on odd numbered weeks: April 5, 6, 20, 21, 27, 28, May 11, 12, 25 and 26.