Introduction to Sociology using Computers
Professor Caroline Hodges Persell
Department of Sociology, New York University
Group Project and Assignments
Revised last 12/30/02
In your labs, each of you will be randomly assigned to a project group comprised of 4 or 5 people. You will work in this group to research, analyse, write, and orally present your group research project. There are a number of reasons for working in a group. Since you are studying groups and societies, you will get some chance to apply sociological understandings you are obtaining. You will also be developing intergroup skills that will be very useful to you in your work, community, and family lives after college. Finally, you will be able to do a more extensive project than one person working alone could do, and you will learn from each other in the process.
A Timetable of Tasks and Intermediate Assignments
Fri.1/31 Get group member assignments from the course website.
2/4 & 2/6 Rank the questions listed above according to your preferences for working on them. It is very important that everyone in the group have a voice in ranking the questions. Perhaps you can have group members rank their individual preferences so that even if everyone does not get his/her first choice s/he could at least work on an issue of interest.
Fri. 2/7 Group project questions are assigned.
2/18 & 2/20 Meeting of groups in lab. Work on 1) Stating your question(s), 2) defining the relevant concepts, 3) articulating the sociological theories you think may be relevant, and 4) stating hypotheses or questions based on those concepts and theories. 5) Indicate who or what you think you may be going to compare and say why. Individual group members, prepare for this meeting in advance so you have something to contribute. Turn in a typed statement of your current reflections on these five points at the end of lab, Group Project 1.
2/25 & 2/27 Groups work in lab searching Sociological Abstracts for theoretical and research abstracts that relate to your group's question. Turn in copies of your abstracts at the end of lab. Keep a copy to work on next week in lab. This is Group Project 2.
3/4 & 3/6 Groups work in lab, refining the key terms used in their searches, sorting the abstracts they have found with respect to whether they are theoretical or research papers. For the research papers, have at least two members of your group analyze them, using the eleven questions in the lab assignment for this date. At the end of lab, turn in at least four analyzed abstracts that are relevant for your project. Do you need to find more abstracts for your project? This is Group Project 3.
3/11 & 3/13 Does what you learned from Group Project 3 change the ideas you wrote in Group Project 1? Discuss this in lab and turn in a revised version of Group Project 1, using Track Changes in MS Word to indicate what is new. This is Group Project 4.
3/25 & 3/27 In lab this week you will be investigating data sources that may be used to shed light on the question you are investigating. What census data resources help to describe the variables in your question? (See ssdan.org) Can you use the General Social Survey (GSS) to analyze hypotheses that bear on your project or to describe trends through time? Look through Healey et al. to see if any of the chapters, exercises, or projects may relate to your project. Print out and turn in the GSS and Census data you have found that you think are relevant for your project. This is Group Project 5. Keep a copy to work on in your groups next week.
4/1 & 4/3 If you continue to see the data you have found to be relevant for your project, work on analyzing the data in relation to your question. How does it bear on your question. Write up this analysis. What new questions does your analysis suggest? What are the limitations of your analysis? This is Group Project 6.
4/8 & 4/10 Continue to work on your group projects, investigating other data sources if needed, finding other theoretical resources, analyzing other abstracts, or whatever else your project needs.
4/15 & 4/17 Plan, outline, and prepare written report of your project.
4/22 & 4/24 Prepare group oral presentations
4/29 & 5/1 Take lab exams.
Research on collaborative groups in education and the workplace suggests that groups work well when:
1) Each member attends all group meetings (in this case labs and classes).
2) Each member comes prepared to contribute productively to the tasks facing the group.
3) Each member participates in group discussion, problem-solving, and work.
4) Group members treat each other with respect and civility at a minimum, or better yet in a friendly way.
5) Group members realize their interdependence, i.e., the group will not do well unless every member contributes his/her best effort.
6) Every member does a fair share of the work.
7) They consider assigning roles to group members, such as facilitator, either for a given day or a period of time. Roles may rotate through time.
Step-by-step guide at: http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/info/instruct/book/Find an article
Take a library tutorial at: http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/howto.htm
Ask a Librarian at http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/research/ask/aska.htm
Take a library class (Here's the schedule) http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/info/instruct/sched.htm
I would like to thank Paula Feid, Jim Terry, and the other librarians
at Bobst Library for their help with these library weblinks.