The Sociology Research Experience Capstone Course at Three Institutions

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SoTL Category

Course/Classroom Design and Considerations

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This study describes the objectives, structures, and outcomes of a one-semester, required sociology research capstone course as taught at three institutions. Pre- and postquestionnaires from students, syllabi from instructors, and a random sample of final research papers were analyzed. Results indicate that the main foci of the course are to conduct research, produce a paper or thesis, develop writing and presentation skills, and integrate past learning. Instruction in this course includes numerous best practices from the literature on teaching and learning. There appears to be an underemphasis, however, on helping students to apply theory in their projects. The theses reveal a wide range of topics, methodological approaches, and quality, with the introduction/literature review and discussion/conclusion sections receiving the lowest quality scores.


This article was published in Sage Journals. Vol. 39, Issue 3. (2011). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0092055X11400438