SOCIOL 205: Sociological Research Design




This course provides new graduate students in the Harvard Sociology program with the necessary fundamentals for designing, analyzing, and publishing high quality sociological research. Our focus is on the evaluation and construction of a “good” research design, more so than on the practicing of particular research methods (although I include examples of a wide range of methods through the assigned readings). We begin with a broad overview: What constitutes sociological research? What does the publication process entail? What is the role of research in a sociologist’s career? Next, we examine a series of topics that scholars should consider when designing any research
project, including questions of theory building, theory testing, measurement, sampling, causality, and research ethics. We also discuss the comparative suitability of different kinds of research methods for different kinds of questions. Finally, we briefly review recent debates about research design and data collection in the discipline.