This course is intended as a first step for learners who seek to become producers of social science research. It is organized as an introduction to the design and execution of a research study. It introduces the key elements of a proposal for a research study, and explains the role of each. It reviews the major types of qualitative and quantitative data used in social science research, and then introduces some of the most important sources of existing data available freely or by application, worldwide and for China. The course offers an overview of basic principles in the design of surveys, including a brief introduction to sampling. Basic techniques for quantitative analysis are also introduced, along with a review of common challenges that arise in the interpretation of results. Professional and ethical issues that often arise in the conduct of research are also discussed. The course concludes with an introduction to the options for further study available to the interested student, and an overview of the key steps involved in selecting postgraduate programs and applying for admission. Learners who complete the course will be able to make an informed decision about whether to pursue advanced studies, and should be adequately prepared to write an application for postgraduate study that exhibits basic understanding of key aspects of social science research paradigms and methodologies.
Explore the big questions in social science and learn how you can be a producer of social science research.
Part 1 should be completed before taking this course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/social-science-study-chinese-society
Designing a Study
Welcome to Social Science Approaches to the Study of Chinese Society Part 2! Part 2 focuses on being a PRODUCER of Social Science Research. Take some time to review the course overview, assignments for this course and say hello in the discussion forum.
Week 2 will discuss the kind sources social scientists use for research. By the end of this week, you should be able to identify some of these major sources and perhaps pinpoint some sources that can be used in your own study.
By the end of Week 3, you should be able to understand why RANDOM SAMPLING is important in a survey, outline the most common approaches to sampling and discuss key considerations when choosing a sampling strategy for your study.
Public Data for China
Week 4 discusses major sources of public data available to you. By the end of this week you should be able to describe the opportunities as well as the challenges associated with using publicly available survey data.
Week 5 will give you a taste of the basic methods for quantitative analysis. From there you should be able to identify key issues when interpreting results and discuss implications for research.
Research and Professional Ethics
By the end of this week you should be able to describe major ethical and professional concerns in social science research.
Where to go from here
Welcome to the last week of Part 2! By the end of this week you should be able to be aware of the options you have for further study in social science research and know the steps to move forward in the application process for advanced training.
You've reached the final exam week! Complete the final exam and the post-course survey. Your feedback can help us improve the course. Thank you for being a part of this course and good luck for your pursuit of advanced studies in social science research!