Social Science (SOSC) 366

Research Methods in the Social Sciences (Revision 7)

SOSC 366 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: A junior social science course is recommended but not required.

Precluded Course: PSYC 304. SOSC 366 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for PSYC 304.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

TELUQ equivalency: SOC 1013.

Télé-université du Québec equivalency

SOSC 366 is not available for challenge.

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Social Science 366: Research Methods in the Social Sciences is designed for students who wish to gain an understanding of the limits and potentials of social science research, and for those who intend to research social phenomena scientifically.

Social Science 366 is intended to facilitate your awareness of the research process and your ability to conduct research in an ethical and thorough manner using appropriate research strategies. This course has technical and critical components. This means understanding the course requires a good grasp of many technical concepts and processes and applying these concepts to the study of social phenomena.

Learning Outcomes

Social Science 366: Research Methods in the Social Sciences has been designed to help you achieve the following course objectives:

  1. Understand the ethical responsibilities of a social researcher toward research participants.
  2. Explain the principles and objectives of social science research.
  3. Describe the use of common research methods in the social sciences.
  4. Define a research problem.
  5. Write a research proposal.
  6. Conduct an independent pilot research project involving the collection of empirical data.
  7. Analyze and report findings from a research project.
  8. Better understand research reported in the media and critically analyze research studies.


Social Science 366: Research Methods in the Social Sciences comprises 15 units:

  • Unit 1: Doing Social Research: An Introduction to Inquiry
  • Unit 2: Theory and Research
  • Unit 3: The Ethics and Politics of Social Research
  • Unit 4: The Logic of Causation
  • Unit 5: Obstacles to Scientific Inquiry
  • Unit 6: Research Design
  • Unit 7: Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement
  • Unit 8: The Logic of Sampling
  • Unit 9: Survey Research
  • Unit 10: Experiments
  • Unit 11: Nonreactive or Unobtrusive Research
  • Unit 12: Qualitative Field Research
  • Unit 13: Evaluation Research
  • Unit 14: Mixed Methods
  • Unit 15: Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis


Students must achieve an overall passing grade of 60% in the course. In addition, students must obtain a passing grade of 60% on all written assignments. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Quiz 1 3%
Midterm Test 15%
Literature Review 10%
Quiz 2 3%
Essay 20%
Research Proposal 20%
Quiz 3 4%
Research Project 25%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Babbie, E., Edgerton, J. D., & Roberts L. W. (2021). Fundamentals of social research. (5th Canadian ed.). Cengage.

Neuman, W. L., & Robson, K. (2018). Basics of social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (4th Canadian ed.). Pearson Canada.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

All other materials, including a Course Information, Study Guide, and additional reading and viewing materials, are available online through the course site.

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 7, March 8, 2021.

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