Introduction to Social Research

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SSC 240

       Course Name: Introduction to Social Research

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Any SSC course with a minimum grade of a C.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

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

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. The student will understand the proper role of research in the social sciences.
  2. The student will understand the various steps involved in doing social science research.
  3. The student will be able to interpret the results of social science research.
  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. The Contribution of Research to Social Policy
  2. Problems of Measurement: Accuracy
    1. Reliability
    2. Validity
    3. Random and nonrandom errors
  3. Problems of Measurement: Precision
    1. In measures
    2. In measurements
  4. Causal Thinking and the Design of Research
    1. The subjective nature of causation
    2. Eliminating alternative causal interpretations
  5. Basics of a Research Design
    1. Deciding what to investigate
    2. Formulating hypothesize and exploratory questions
    3. Selecting a method
    4. Developing the research design
    5. Pre-testing the design
    6. Collecting data
    7. Interpreting the data: statistics
    8. Writing up the results
    9. Planning for further research

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods of presentation include lecture, discussion, computer experience, and research design.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

This course relies on the student's ability to read and understand college-level text material.  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

Example of textbook typically used is:

Schively, W. Phillips (1997).  The Craft of Political Research (4th ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice Hall

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades are based on exams and involvement in the research design.

XI.   Other Course Information


Class policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.

Important dates

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.