Jamie BaxterWestern Social Science


This syllabus is "dynamic" or a "living document", it will change throughout the term. Come back here before each lecture.

Lecture Schedule

Lecture Topic Readings
1. Scope of Course None

Research problems and research questions

Discussion of project

Bryman et al., Ch 1


Bryman et al., Ch 11

Research Design

Field camp week, some students may be away

Bryman et al., Ch 2, 18
5. Quantitative Research I - Overview, observations Bryman et al., Ch 3, 6

Quantitative Research II - Sureys

Bryman et al., Ch 4, 5


Bryman et al., Ch 2, 12

Qualitative Research I - Nature of qualitative enquiry, interviews, focus groups

Bryman et al., Ch 8, 10
9. Qualitative Research II - Case studies, ethnography, participatory research Bryman et al., Ch 8, 9

Analysis and Interpretation I - Quantitative

Bryman et al., Ch 13

Analysis and Interpretation II - Qualitative 

Bryman et al., Ch 14



Tutorial Schedule

Each student is required to complete the readings or any other prepatory steps prior to lab/tutorial. All are expected to participate in tutorial discussions. See the evaluations page for details of labs taht will be handed in for grades. 

Lecture Topic Readings

Introduction, ice-breaker, groups, critical appraisal 

Lab Assignment 1 

Bring you laptop if possible

Critical appraisal form

Research problems and questions 

Bryman et al., Ch 1, Cutter, 2003


Lab assignment 1 due to TA

Tricouncil Ethics CORE Tutorial (2 hrs)

No tutorial - field camp week 



Lab assignment 2

Bryman et al., Ch  6

Focus on writing your proposal! 


Survey design 1 

Lab Assignment 3; Lab Assignment 2 Due to the TA

Bryman et al., Ch 4, 5

Survey design II 

Bryman et al., Ch 4, 5

In-depth interviews

Lab Assignment 3 due to TA

Bryman et al., Ch 8, 10

Quantitative Analysis

Lab Assignment 4

Bryman et al., Ch 13

Qualitative analysis of "text"

Lab Assignment 4 due to TA

Bryman et al., Ch 14

Course Description

This course is designed to help students to learn some geographic and other social science research methods to address real-world problems. The focal point of the course will be a group research project that will allow students to examine an issue of interest using skills and ideas gained in the course. A range of social science methods weill be covered, both qualitative and quantitative and they will be juxtaposed against traditional experimental scientific methods. Students will learn about research design and the implications of choosing paritcular research questions  methods, and designs. 


This course consists of two lecture hours per week and one two hour tutorial per week. The "lecture" hours will consist of a mixture of lectures and discussion.  Some lecture class time may even be devoted to tutorial-style discussion. The lab/tutorial will involve a combination of the following: practical aspects of using various research methods, data analysis, reporting results as well as discussion of selected readings.  These readings may be unique to the tutorial (see tutorial schedule) but often they will overlap with the lectures (see lecture schedule). Though students are responsible for completing readings prior to each lecture and lab/tutorial, this is especially true for the latter since this is where most of the participation marks will be awarded. The format of the lab/tutorials is described below (prior to the tutorial schedule).


Lecture: Tuesday, 3 hours, 10:30 - 13:30, B&GS 0165


Participation (tutorial and lecture) - 10%

Lab Assignments  - 20%

Study Proposal - 10%

Study Final Report - 30%

Final Exam - 30%

You must complete all course components to pass the course.

No electronic devices - e.g. phones, calculators, are allowed at the midterm or exam

For a full description of assignments and exams please click here.


Course Text: Bryman, Allan, Edward Bell and James J. Teevan (2012). Social Research Methods (Third Canadian Edition). Don Mills: Oxford University Press. 

Any additional readings will be made available via Owl Sakai.  The text chapters will NOT be made available on Owl.

Handing in Material

I cannot get it in on time!

For cases where your reason is not medical, compassionate grounds (e.g., family death) etc. as per below there is a 5% per day penalty - a weekend counts as one day. The clock starts at 9am every morning. You can slide the paper under my door (I typically arrive before 9).

University Policies

Accommodation for Illness, Family Death etc.

For UWO Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness and a downloadable SMC see:


Downloadable Student Medical Certificate (SMC): http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/medicalform_15JUN.pdf

Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed graded course components must apply to the Academic Counselling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department.

And now some messages from our lawyers...

Mental Illness

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you. Please visit http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these resources and on mental health.


The Department of Geography has a zero tolerance policy towards plagiarism. If a student commits plagiarism, the instructor will assign a grade of zero to the assignment. A second instance of plagiarism is regarded as a scholastic offense and will be dealt with according to The University of Western Ontario policy for Scholastic offenses - more on our policy on plagiarism via this link. The most common offense is failing to cite properly - if you quote directly, cite the author! You do not get the benefit of the doubt (you are not presumed innocent until proven guilty) when such offenses are committed. That is, the burden of proof is reversed. Can you prove "it was an accident" (this is a rhetorical question)?

The following is an excerpt from the university secretariat: Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf

Not citing the work of others is generally the main violation - ignorance is no excuse! See next...


Unfortunately turnitin has "caught" several offenders in my classes, please do not be the next one - it is awkward for everyone involved. If you do original work and write and cite properly you have nothing to worry about. The university has provided this mandatory wording: "All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and Turnitin.com"

Once logged in to Turnitin copy the id and pass below to the appropriate fields at the Turnitin website.

1. Login to turnitin - register if you do not have an account.

2. Join the course with the following credentials:

TA "All Students" ID: 10691701
"All Students" password: Reed