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Master of Arts Integrated Studies (MAIS) 602

Researching Society and Culture (Revision 2)

Revision 2 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

View previous syllabus

Delivery Mode:Grouped study.


Area of Study:Integrated Studies 2

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Integrated Studies

**Note:Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


In this methods of inquiry course students examine a range of approaches to research in the social sciences and cultural studies. Different research methods and methodologies (quantitative / qualitative / feminist / ethnographic / deconstruction / discourse analysis / social history and more) are introduced and critically assessed. As well, students review a selection of books that take an integrative approach to inquiry. This is a required course.

Note: It is recommended that MAIS 601 and MAIS 602 be completed early in the program.

In the Master of Arts- Integrated Studies 602: Researching Society and Culture course you will have the opportunity to learn about various approaches to research and to propose an integrated study of your own.

Course Activities

  • reading and writing about various research methods
  • discussing these methods online with your professor and your fellow students
  • preparing a draft proposal for your research
  • giving and receiving feedback on research proposals
  • submitting a revised and enlarged final draft of your proposal

Throughout the course you will be encouraged to work across disciplinary boundaries, so that your work becomes an interdisciplinary, integrated project. The course is designed in the hope that you will learn something new, challenge yourself, engage with your colleagues in the course, and have fun.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to

  1. critically discuss various characteristics of interdisciplinary research.
  2. describe the operation of various research perspectives and methods that can be incorporated within integrated studies at an introductory graduate level.
  3. critically discuss data analysis and research ethics.
  4. analyze data.
  5. evaluate research proposals and published research.
  6. write a proposal for a master's level research project.

Student Evaluation

Please note that your work on each assignment will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Your professor will also give you an indication of your strengths, weaknesses, and areas requiring improvement for each assignment. This evaluation process is intended to assist you in achieving greater competency as you progress through each stage of the course. Try to focus on your learning, rather than on how that learning is assessed.

The below weightings suggest an approximate percentage of the work in the course that you should devote to each activity. However, this will vary among students.

Course Activity Weighting
Online Participation 20%
Assignment 1: Preliminary Suggestion and Justification of Interdisciplinary Research Question 15%
Assignment 2: Research Proposal Draft 20%
Assignment 3: Peer Review of a Research Proposal 10%
Assignment 4: Final Research Proposal with Reflections on What You Have Learned 35%
Total 100%

Course Materials

Athabasca University Materials

The course materials for MAIS 602 include the items listed below. If you find that any of these items are missing from your course materials package, please contact Course Materials Production of Athabasca University at (780) 675-6366, or 1-800-788-9041, ext. 6366 (toll free from anywhere in Canada or the United States). You may also send an e-mail to


  • Palys, Ted, & Atchison, Chris. (2008). Research decisions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives (4th ed.). Scarborough: Nelson/Thompson.
  • Seale, Clive, ed. Researching Society and Culture (2nd ed.). London: Sage, 2004.

Athabasca University Printed Materials

Reading File: The Reading File contains selected articles from various sources that are required reading for this course.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, January 1, 2009 - Revision 2 closed January 1, 2013.

Last updated by MAIS; 09/11/2014 11:58:12