SOC/ANTH 3040 - Research Methods
Spring 2009

General Information:

Time and Place: MWF 10:20-11:15, PH 319
Instructor: J. Brandon Wallace, Ph.D.
Instructor's Office, Phone, and Email: TODD 330, 898-5976,
Instructor's Office Hours: MWF 8:00-10:15 AM and 11:30 AM-12:30 PM or by appointment.

It is the responsibility of each student to read and understand the syllabus. It acts as an agreement between the student and the instructor, specifying the rights and responsibilities of each. Be sure to clarify any questions you may have about the syllabus as soon as possible.

Required Text:

The required text for the course is Basics of Research Methods, 2nd Edition, by Lawrence Neuman. It is available for purchase in the bookstore.

Recommended Reading:

You may be interested in purchasing The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual, 5th Edition.  Though not required, the book is an excellent resource for students conducting sociological research and writing sociology papers.  This book may be ordered online or from most any book store.  You may also want to consider purchasing the ASA Style Guide.  It can be ordered directly from the American Sociological Association.

Course Structure:

The course is primarily a lecture course, supplemented by research design discussions and illustrations. However, questions and comments are welcomed and encouraged. Reading assignments for each lecture topic are specified in the course outline and should be read as the topic is being addressed. Lectures expand on assigned readings and include material not found in the text. All class documents, including the syllabus and course outline (which contains links to lecture notes) are available on-line at

Requirements and Assignments:

Students are expected to attend class, participate in discussions, take good notes, and keep up with assigned readings. While no specific credit is given for attendance, attendance and participation in class sessions has a positive impact on final grades. Students will complete 3 out-of-class assignments, each requiring 5-10 type-written pages.  These assignments involve (1) reviewing academic literature on a topic chosen by the student, (2) designing a quantitative research project, and (3) designing a qualitative research project.  Due dates will be announced in class. Students also are expected to develop a research project on a topic of their own choosing and write a 10-20 page research proposal in which they describe the project in detail. Specific guidelines for the proposal will be discussed in class.  Students are NOT expected to carry out the research, but are expected to design the project so that it could feasibly be completed. The research proposal is due during the scheduled final exam period and will serve as the final examination for the course.


The 3 assignments are worth 100 points each. The final research proposal is worth 200 points.  A total of 500 points is possible. To determine final grades, each student's point total will divided by 5 and grades assigned according the following scale: 90-100=A, 87-89=B+, 83-86=B, 80-82=B-, 77-79=C+, 73-76=C, 70-72=C-, 67-69=D+, 63-66=D, 60-62=D-, and less than 60=F.

Lottery Scholarship Information:

To retain Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship eligibility, you must earn a cumulative TELS GPA of 2.75 after 24 attempted hours and a cumulative TELS GPA of 3.0 thereafter.  A grade of C, D, F, or I in this class may negatively impact TELS eligibility.  Dropping a class after 14 days may also impact eligibility.  If you withdraw from this class and it results in an enrollment status of less than full time, you may lose eligibility for your lottery scholarship. For additional lottery scholarship rules please refer to your Lottery Statement of Understanding form, review lottery scholarship requirements on the web at, or contact the MTSU financial aid office at 898-2830.

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism:

Copying another student's work, having someone else complete assignments for you, and claiming another's written work as you own (plagiarism) are dishonest and unacceptable.  Students engaging in such acts will not only be given a zero on the assignment in question, but may fail the course as well. Additionally, the professor may report such actions to appropriate university officials for subsequent action, including probation or suspension. (See the Student Handbook).


If you have a disability that requires assistance or accommodation, or if you have any questions related to accommodations for testing, note taking, reading, etc., please speak with me as soon as possible.  You may also contact the Office of Disabled Student Services (898-2783) with questions about their services. Students registered with the Office of Disabled Student Services will be accommodated as best as possible.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at MTSU hosts an Undergraduate Social Science Symposium each Fall to give undergraduate students an opportunity to present papers and research they have done in conjunction with various social science classes. If you are interested in presenting and discussing papers written in this or another class, please contact the Department 898-2508.

Additional information of interest to sociology students is available on the Department of Sociology and Anthropology web page at