Guide to Sociology 2211
Oliver Garretson is the Teaching Assistant this semester (Spring '20). You
can contact him at email@example.com to arrange a meeting time.
Assorted Updates after 4/1/2020
(Note: changed dates in the assignments below are now in red.)
Instructions for the new final report option on the Coronavirus.
- Background materials
- Life in the age of the Coronavirus. A qualitative interview protocol, here
- Life in the age of the Coronavirus. Informed consent script, here
- A guide to writing a good report for the Coronavirus project, UPDATED, here
- Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic. Crowdsourced document.
- General instructions
- Note: You can begin conducting your interviews for this project. We have finished preparing the materials, and we have received approval from the LSU IRB.
- Your report will be based on 5 interviews you do about life in the age of the Coronavirus.
- These should be in-depth, extended interviews, probably lasting 30-60 minutes each, or longer if you have enough to talk about.
- You can use the interview protocol, here, as a jumping off point for what you talk about. We strongly recommend that you try to cover most of the points on the interview protocol, but you can also go beyond them if you or the interviewee think of things that are relevant.
- If you want to take the interview in a different direction, make a proposal to us, and wait for us to respond. If we approve, you can go ahead, but do not take a different direction without our approval.
- There are a few basic facts about the interviewee you should make sure to establish, like age/gender/race, occupation and employment status, household composition (alone, or who else is in the household).
- Note, you should not interview anyone below the age of 18, because according to usual research practices, they are not able to give informed consent. If they are in your family, you can of course talk to them for background, but please don’t include them in your report.
- Your five interviewees should include at least one of each of the following: someone under age 30, someone over age 60, a man, a woman, someone who is now or was formerly employed full time. It is okay to do all your interviews among your family members and/or friends if you want.
- You should record your interview as an audio and/or video file. You can transcribe your interviews, which you will generally find helpful, but this is not a requirement. We ask you to turn in the transcript or the audio/video file, as the basis of your report. We will make exceptions if this imposes a hardship for you (say, for technical reasons), if there are privacy concerns, or if you give us another reason that we approve.
- Your report should analyze and interpret the interviews. You should find and develop themes that emerge from the interviews. These themes may follow along the lines of the interview protocol, and/or you may develop your own themes.
- You will want to compare and contrast the statements of the different interviewees, in order to show how the covid crisis affects different people according to their different circumstances. Thus, your report should include both detailed, in depth observations, and also a discussion of the context in which each interviewee lives and how it affects him/her.
- Your method of analysis and your write-up should be guided by what you learned from the lectures and textbook chapters on qualitative research. Here is a guide for writing a good report.
- You could follow some of the methods of textual analysis we have explored in this class. You can, but don't have to, use text analysis software like NVivo or Atlas.ti. The report should include quotations from the interviewees, but the whole report cannot consist only of quotations: it must include your own analyses and interpretations of the interview and settings.
- This project is qualitative, like the photo project. You might find it useful to look at photo projects from earlier years, here, but keep in mind that this is not an identical project, so you’ll need to adapt.
- The report should be about 5-10 pages of text (based on 10-12 point, 1 inch margins, double spaced), though it can be longer.
- If you want to modify this approach, discuss your ideas with the instructors, and we may approve your approach. You should begin this when you submit your original proposal. We may not approve any proposed modifications if they are not well ahead of the due date.
- Please turn in an electronic version of your final report in an email to Oliver Garretson.
- Also turn in copies of your audio/video files of the interviews.
- Please name your interview media files like this:
- cv (stands for coronavirus) +
- The date of the interview in the form of YYMMDD, so if you conducted the interview on 4/21/20, you would use 200421 +
- Your LSU user name, so Mike the Tiger might have mtiger12 +
- A sequence letter for the interview number they do, so the first one would be "a" the second one "b" and so on, no matter what date.
- Put all those pieces together with no spaces, and all lower-case letters. So for three interviews on 4/18 and 4/19, with a combination of *.mp4 and *.wav files, you might have:
- The first part of the name (“cv200418mtiger12b”) will be the interview “code”
- Please upload these files to a dropbox link we will give you.
- Note that we are conducting our own research project on life in the age of the Coronavirus. If you and your interviewees would be willing to let us include your interviews in our project, we would be grateful. This is completely voluntary and optional on the part of you and your interviewees. There are sections of the informed consent script where you can ask the interviewees permission. Also, if you would like to work with us on our research project, we would be interested in talking with you about it. Just let us know if you are interested.
- Midterm (Spring '20): Wed, March 4, in our classroom
- Final (Spring '20): Sat., May 9, 7:30am - 9:30am, in our classroom
- due dates
(watch this section for
- Initial class requirement: complete the Human Subjects Protection Training.
- Go to https://www.lsu.edu/research/resources_for_faculty/training.php on the LSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) website.
- Expand the section at the bottom of the page, "CITI IRB Training," and follow the instructions there. Here's what it says as of January 2020:
- Go to https://www.citiprogram.org/
- If you do not have a CITI account, click Register.
- Under 1: Select your Organization Affiliation by typing in Louisiana State University. Click continue to create your username and password.
- Under 2: Enter your name and email address.
- Under 3: Create a username, password, security question, and security answer.
- Under 4: Enter your country of residence.
- Under 5: Answer the questions regarding Continuing Education.
- Under 6: Answer the required questions. You are required to fill out your Language Preference, Institutional Email Address, Department (students should put in department of the grant), and your Role in Research.
- Under 7: Select question 6 in either Biomedical Research Investigators or Social & Behavioral Research Investigators [Choose Social & Behavioral]. For the courses you are not taking, you need to check not at this time or no in order to proceed to the training.
- Next, you will be brought to the main menu for the training program. There is a link to View Louisiana State University Instructions Page. Go to this link and read the instructions for completing the courses and getting your certificate of completion.
- When you are done with the institution-specific instructions, you can close that window and go to My Courses on the Main Menu page and begin the program.
- Users can log on and off at any time and normally will take a few sessions to complete the training program (roughly 3-4 hours). Upon satisfactory completion of the program, a copy of the completion certificate can be printed out for your files.
- You’ll need to print out the certificate of completion, or save it as a file that you can print out. This is a class requirement necessary to pass the class. The LSU IRB is requiring this of us. See the assignment below for more information about the LSU IRB.
- This assignment is due at the end of the second full week of the semester.
- You need to print out and give us a copy of the certificate of completion.
- If you already have a certificate of completion, you don't have to do it again, but you'll need to give us a copy of your certificate.
- Note that it may take you 3-4 hours to complete this training, so pls plan ahead!
- These are Federal & LSU requirements, and we must comply with them.
- Jan 29: Turn in
five survey questions that you find in the GSS that
might be usable for your group's module for the GSS subset that we will assemble. The GSS is the central national survey for sociology. Each group will discuss their questions and choose two of them for
- GSS Data Explorer is the portal for searching & using GSS data. You will need to register to use it, but it only takes a moment. (You will have to confirm on an email they send you.) ... Search for questions by going to "Search for Data" or the "Explore GSS Data" button.
- Important: Print out the exact question text from the web, including the exact answer categories, the exact years asked, and include
the exact question mnemonic (the funny abbreviated question name)
from the GSS, so that we can make sure to access the correct questions . Include
whatever percentaged results you find for the whole population
(sub-population breakdowns optional).
- Also. Pls email me the mnemonic of each of the 5 questions you select. Pls do that before class. I'll use that to cut & paste from the web & make a webpage of our survey-in-progress.
- Note. If you are looking for political questions and can't find what you want on the GSS, you could look at the American National Election Studies website, https://electionstudies.org/, especially their Guide to Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior, https://electionstudies.org/resources/anes-guide/. The ANES is the central survey for political science. Caution: you can search for questions on the ANES, but we cannot include them in the dataset we are assembling, so you won't be able to analyze these questions for your final report. These questions come from a separate survey, and it's impossible to combine the surveys.
the following assignments, please turn in your SPSS output
along with the exercise page from Healey. Abbreviations
for the following assignments: RR=Research Report; IP=Independent
Project; CA=Comparative Analysis]
- Jan 31: Turn in
2 of the following Exercises in Healey, Chap. 4 Religiosity - RR4.1,
IP4.1, IP4.2, CA 4.1
- Jan 31: Go to the
U.S. Census website, especially the "Quick Facts" section (see links below). Compare the economic level of Baton Rouge (city) to
a rich place and a poor place, and look for two or three possible
reasons for the differences. Look through the Quick Facts
tables till you find some statistics you think are good indicators
of economic level and the other factors you are looking for. List
the results side by side by making a table with the places down the
side (rows) and the variables you've chosen along the top (columns). A
spreadsheet program will make a nice table for you. Here are
some places to try comparisons for:
- Rich places: Marin
(County), CA; Fairfax (County), VA; Darien (city), CT;
Scarsdale (village), NY; Lake Forest (city), IL.
- Poor places: Harlan
(County), KY; Tensas (Parish), LA; Mora (County), NM; Shannon
- Note - as of the
beginning of 2012, the Census reorganized its website fairly
- The 2010
decennial census no longer includes facts like income,
education, commute times, and various other things. Most
of these issues are now
on the American Community Survey (ACS).
- The ACS is conducted
every year, rather than every ten years, but because they
ask fewer people, they have to aggregate data over several
years if the place is too small. (see their FAQs for more information.)
- Here are some suggestions
for looking up data. (There are more links on my links page):
- The Census "Quick Facts" (here)
is the easiest place to start.
Click through the prompts to select the geographical
place you want, and you'll get a table with a large variety
- When you get to one of the tables, you can then follow
the links from "Want more? Browse data sets for ... [place]"
just above the table on the right.
- For instance, the table for East Baton Rouge
(parish) is here.
also put a version here,
in case you can't get through to the census website.
- The "American
is the main portal now for getting census information,
but it's not easy to use.
- Try poking around here. This section was always
a little hard to use if you're new at the census
site, and unfortunately, I think they've actually
made it harder to use. Do your best, but you don't
have to use this section.
- You can access zip code areas here, but since they're small in population, they may not give you data.
- Hint: You may need to search on "Topics" one by one. It seems when you select several topics, the site only gives you tables that include all those topics in them (the "intersection" in Venn diagram terms). This makes it very cumbersome.
- The 2010
Census page (here)
is not hard to use, but as noted above, it only gives
very limited information about each place. I don't
recommend using it for this assignment.
- Several other
section of the census site work shockingly badly, I find.
- I found a few mobile apps, but as of now (1/2014), I haven't seen anything all that great. Take a look at apps from the census & esri, for instance.
- Feb 5:
Turn in five more GSS questions that might be usable for your group's module for the GSS subset we will assemble. See the subpoints for the previous assignment for the details.
- Feb 7: Turn in
2 of the following Exercises in Healey, Chap. 5 Attitudes toward
- RR5.2, IP5.1, CA5.2
- Feb 12: We will discuss the questionnaire today.
- Feb 14: Turn in
2 of the following Exercises in Healey, Chap. 7 Crime - RR7.4, IP7.1,
IP7.2, IP7.3, CA7.1
- Feb 17: Read the article, "Visual Sociology" by Dennis Zuev and Jerome Krase, here. We will have a short quiz on it.
- Feb 17: Turn in 5 photos of some social situation to which you have access. You have to take the photos; they can't be photos you find on the internet or elsewhere. It might be family, or street shots, or an event. It CAN be photos of other students, but we'll give you a bonus point if you do something not showing students (just so they're not all the same topic!).
Also write a one-page commentary discussing the social element shown in the photos. It could be the interaction among the people shown, it could be the social setting, or whatever you think would be interesting.
- Send the photos as attachments by email to the instructors, as well as your page of written commentary. This electronic submission is mandatory, but you can also turn in the photos and commentary printed out on paper if you want.
- It will probably work best if you show some of the setting around the subject. It's possible to socially analyze a close-up of a face, but it's easier if you see more of the surroundings, and also easier if it's not just a blank wall in the background.
- There are lots of ways to think about the social aspect. For instance, if the photo is a candid, you can describe what the subjects are doing in the photo. If it's a posed photo, you can describe the social "presentation of self" of the subject. You can also describe what the surroundings tell us about the social setting.
- You can use any kind of camera you want, including the one on your phone. The photos don't have to be "artistic," but they should be clear enough that you can see what you're trying to show.
- The photos should not all be "selfies." You can include one photo showing only yourself, and you can appear in one or two of the photos, but not more. The photos should mostly be of people other than yourself.
- Pls do not photograph anything that is too private or sensitive or compromising to the subject. No illegal activities, violence, nudity, substance abuse/overuse, or the like. We will discuss issues of privacy and confidentiality in social research soon. For now, simply begin thinking about the issue, and know that the photos will not be published, or shown outside the classroom, or shown to the class without your permission.
- See this page for a series of photo essays done by Weil, "portraits" of New Orleans neighborhoods. We arrange to photograph people who agree to be part of the project. We also videotape what they tell us about their neighborhoods, transcribed it, and put the pictures and their words on a web page for each neighborhood. We also walk around the neighborhood and ask other people if they would be in the project. Most, but not all, agree.
- This assignment will help us think about qualitative methods.
- Feb 19: Discussion of the 5 photos. I will upload the photos to a website, and you can choose to have them shown for class discussion.
- Tthe photos will not be accessible to other class members or publicly without your permission, and we will not view them in class without your permission.
- You will get an extra credit point for showing and introducing your photos for class discussion. This is voluntary.
- Feb 21: Turn in
2 of the following Exercises in Healey, Chap. 9 Inequality and gender
- RR9.3, IP9.1, IP9.2, CA9.1, CA9.2, CA9.3
- Feb 28: Extra credit quiz -
Read the brochures about surveys at the American Statistical Association, here (also
linked near the top of this page). We'll have a simple quiz
on what the brochures say.
- March 2: Review for the Mid-term exam.
- March 4: Mid-term exam
- March 6: Quiz - Read the LSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) Policies and Procedures, here. Almost
all university research everywhere in America must pass a review
(or get an exemption) to make sure that no one (humans or animals)
is harmed by the research. This is an important ethical issue. In the first assignment, above, you had to complete the Human Subjects Protection Training at the NIH website (http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php), and obtain a certificate of completion. Today, we'll have
a quiz on what the LSU IRB materials say, and we'll have a discussion
about what this means for our research. Here are the documents
to look at:
- Mar 9: Turn in 5 more photos. This is a continuation of the assignment from last week. Follow the same instructions as above.
- Mar 11: Discussion of the second 5 photos. I will again upload the photos to a website, and you can choose to have them shown for class discussion. The assignment will be the same as last week.
- March 13: Turn in
2 of the following Exercises in Healey, Chap. 10 Inequality and race
- RR10.3, RR10.4, IP10.1, IP10.2, IP10.3, CA10.1, CA10.2
- March 13: In-class quiz:
Marketing Systems Group GENESYS Sampling Systems
is a survey sampling firm. The Genesys website used to have a good description of how they do it, but they don't have it anymore. Some years ago, they sent me this description, which you should read. (Also see their basic descriptions of RDD
sampling for cell, landline, and/or both,
and their GENESYS-IDplus system.) Be prepared to summarize the basic steps
they take in preparing a list of telephone numbers for us
to use. Don't worry about small details; just understand the basic steps.
- March 20: Turn
in 2 of the following Exercises in Healey, Chap. 11 The Family -
RR11.5, IP11.1, IP11.2, IP11.3, IP11.4, CA11.1
- April 3: Proposals for final report
- See full instructions below
- If you are doing a survey project: Develop
five hypotheses to test using the GSS survey subset we assembled. State
briefly what causal relationship you expect to find in the data
and why (e.g., women are more likely than men to support the Democrats because they support more liberal policies, say, in health care and education). These
will probably form the core of your report, which will be due
- If you are doing a photo-based project: Write a one-page description of the photos you will take, or have taken, and the description you plan to write of the project.
- April 3: Turn
in 2 of the following Exercises in Healey, Chap. 12 Voting - RR12.3,
RR12.4, IP12.1, IP12.3, IP12.4, IP12.5, CA12.1, CA12.2
- April: You will be
doing one of two things, depending on what independent project you chose, survey or photo based. See the assignment for the final reports below for more details about what you need to do.
- Analyze the results of the GSS survey subset we assembled. You will develop
a set of interrelated hypotheses, analyze the data, and write a final report.
The instructors will help you do this work in class.
- Prepare a photo essay from photos you take. Again, the instructors will help you do this work in class.
- You can work in groups to do your analyses, and you can give presentations in groups of your work in the last week. However, the final reports must be written individually.
- April 10: First progress report due for final project. Turn in a 1-page progress report on how your final report is progressing. Also attach a copy of your 1-page proposal, including any modifications you have made. In the new section, tell us about about the analyses you are performing on the data and/or the photos you have made, and tell us about the interpretations of results that are starting to emerge from your analyses. We will meet with each of you in class individually this week to discuss your progress report.
- April 20: Second progress report due for final project. Turn in a 1-page progress report on how your final report is progressing. Also attach a copy of your 1-page proposal, including any modifications you have made. In the new section, tell us about about the analyses you are performing on the data and/or the photos you have made, and tell us about the interpretations of results that are starting to emerge from your analyses. We will meet with each of you in class individually this week to discuss your progress report.
- April 27: Optional, Extra credit. Class presentations of photo essays. You can do these in groups if you want.
- April 29: Optional, Extra credit. Class presentations of survey analyses of the GSS survey we assembled. You can do these in groups if you want.
- May 1: Turn in your
final report, based on your analysis of the GSS survey subset we assembled or your photo project. The final report must be individually written, though you may expand on the group work you did for a presentation. Fuller details of the assignment are below.
Instructions for Final Reports (choose one of the following two formats)
- Survey-based project.
reports should be about 5-10 pages (10-12 point, 1 inch margins, double spaced) plus supporting output of data
analysis (tables, graphs, etc.). The reports should cover 5
or more connected hypotheses which, together, give a causal picture
- or tell a story - of the situation you are investigating.
- Your basic analysis will probably involve differences among different social groups. You can also consider explaining changes over time and/or differences among different regions of the country. You can also explore differences among rural/urban, ideology or party preference, religiosity, etc. If you think changes over time or between regions are due to demographic change or differences, consider accessing census information to back up your arguments. For instance, what are the effects of de-industrialization, immigration, changes in family/household composition, etc.
should also discuss what questions your analysis raises that can't
be answered with the available data, and you should suggest what
new data would be desirable to answer these open questions, and what
sort of study design would be appropriate to acquire these new data.
outline of the sections of a good report is given here. You
can use the reports from the workbook as a guide in developing your
report. The instructors will help you develop the report in
class in the weeks leading up to the due date. Examples of
reports from previous years are here.
- Note: Please turn in a paper and an electronic version of your final report. You should attach the electronic version of your final report in an email to Oliver Garretson. This should include both the text of your paper, and also SPSS tables you are describing. If you need technical help with this, pls make sure to contact us ahead of time.
- Photo-based project.
- Your report will build on what you learned from the class photo exercises earlier in the semester. See the instructions above for guidance on how to approach photo-based qualitative sociology.
- Here is a guide for writing a good report, here.
- Examples of good photo reports from previous years is here.
- The report should include about 10-20 photos, plus about 5-10 pages of text discussing the photos. (The 5-10 pages of text are based on pure text - 10-12 point, 1 inch margins, double spaced - prior to embedding the photos.)
- The photo project should explore a unified theme, that is, the photos should be thematically connected, exploring different aspects or dimensions of a theme. As before, you will get more credit for the assignment if the theme is not student life. We want you to explore the social world around you. Likewise, you can include yourself in a photo or two, but it should not be a project of selfies.
- As before, do not photograph anything that is too private or sensitive or compromising to the subject. No illegal activities, violence, nudity, substance abuse/overuse, or the like. Remember, the photos will not be published, or shown outside the classroom, or shown to the class without your permission.
- Your text should describe the social situation shown in the photos. This can include the setting or situation in which the photo was made. It can include a discussion of "presentation-of-self" or the interaction of photographer and subject, if the photos are taken with the knowledge of the subject (i.e., not candids).
- One approach would be to interview the photo subjects and include some of their statements in the reports. A good way to do this is to videotape your interview and transcribe it. Then you could follow some of the methods of textual analysis we have explored in this class. You can, but don't have to, use text analysis software like NVivo or Atlas.ti. However, the whole report text cannot consist only of quotations of the subject: it must include your own analyses and interpretations of the images and settings.
- Weil's "neighborhood portraits" (see this page) provide an example of combining photos and text. However, Weil used ony quotes from the subjects. Your report can include such quotes, but must also include your own analyses and interpretations of the images and settings.
- If you want to modify this approach, discuss your ideas with the instructors, and we may approve your approach. You should begin this when you submit your original proposal, above. We may not approve any proposed modifications if they are not well ahead of the due date.
- Note: Please turn in a paper and an electronic version of your final report. You should attach the electronic version of your final report in an email to Oliver Garretson. If you need technical help with this, pls make sure to contact us ahead of time.
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