This course was essential to my success as a sociology major because it introduced me to independent research, behavioral research techniques, and methodologies. The information I learned in this course will help me in any situation where I may need to evaluate or design research. I also learned how to use qualitative and quantitative methodologies to explore different issues. At times, qualitative and quantitative methodologies are used within the same studies, we will also examine how this can be done well, and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of approach. Data analysis was emphasized for organization, summarizing, and interpreting data for scientific research. I learned important concepts needed to understand statistics in research because it stands out. I also became a better consumer of statistics in my own life.
In this class, I also learned about conceptualization, research design, concept formation, data collection, data reduction, data analysis, and data interpretation for both sociology and criminology. I learned about both basic research, applied research, and methods of conducting program evaluation. The principal objective of this course is to provide you with a basic understanding of social science research qualitative and quantitative methodologies with an emphasis on social science research. This semester we worked on a project that has real-life implications for the people in our community.
This year, we worked with Dr. Lee Bidwell’s class to see how parents in our community respond to specific parental engagement programs. This type of research is often called an assessment. We specifically targeted parents and caregivers of children from three to five years old, who are enrolled in Head Start in Farmville and Buckingham County. I also learned how to conduct a literature review. The literature review section of a research article or research proposal demonstrates the researcher’s understanding of the research that has already been done on his or her topic, helps the researcher develop his or her research question and approach to that question, and helps the reader understand what is already known about the research question. To do this, we learned that we must synthesize information from already published journal articles. The qualitative section of a research article or research proposal demonstrates the researcher’s ability to analyze qualitative data, helps the researcher answer his or her research question, and helps the reader understand more about the research question. Overall I learned a lot about how to conduct research as a sociology major. The material I learned will help me prepare for going into my career.