Introduction to Social Research

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 240

       Course Name: Introduction to Social Research

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Introductory course in any of the social sciences.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces basics of research in social sciences. Content includes research design, methodology, simple statistical analysis of data and interpretation of empirical social data. Students design, conduct, and interpret short survey.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. The student will recognize the crucial need for scientifically rigorous research in the social sciences as well as the criteria for such.
  2. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts and procedures of statistics.
  3. The student will demonstrate an understanding of testable hypotheses, the major types of experimental design, methods of data collection as well as data analysis and interpretation.
  4. The student will demonstrate what they have learned by designing their own research project.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Critical thinking within the context of modern social science research.
  2. Basic statistical tests and procedures including frequency distributions, measurements of central tendency, sampling distributions and effect size estimations.
  3. Major research designs as well as basic methods of data collection and interpretation of results.
  4. Principles of scientific writing, effective graphical displays and presentation of research results via posters.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods include lecture, discussion, collaborative assignments, and case studies that foster critical thinking about the subject.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Regular attendance in this course is absolutely essential. In every class we will cover a week’s worth of material. There will be a short quiz at the beginning of each class to ensure that students have come prepared for our class discussions and activities. There will be four essay tests over the reading as well as four papers of approximately four pages in length. These papers will entail summaries and critiques of research studies. Students will also conduct an original research paper and present a paper following standard APA style and will be approximately 10 pages in length.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Texts include:

Stanovich, Keith (2001) How to Think Straight About Psychology. (6th Edition)

Needham Heights, MA, Allyn & Bacon (required)

Kline, Rex Becoming a Behavioral Science Researcher. :  A Guide to Producing Research That Matters (2007) New York, NY Guilford Press. (required)

Koosis, Donald (1997) A Self-Teaching Guide:  Statistics (4th Edition) New York, John Wiley & Sons. (required)

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades are based on the 4 essay exams (40%), the 4 papers (40%) and conducting a presentation of an original research study (20%).

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.