SOSC7410 Research Methods for Global Studies (3 units)
Global Studies is a diverse subject that includes studies of human behaviour and the physical environment. It also embraces a diverse range of philosophical approaches to knowledge. The primary objectives of this course are to impart a functional ability to reason well and to improve students' critical thinking. In addition to familiarizing students with methods of building strong arguments, the course further aids students in understanding the essential methodologies involved in scientific research. The course will equip students to address the breadth of subject matters, philosophical approaches, research methods, and data sources that are relevant to analysing global issues. By working on cases of disciplinary and transdisciplinary research, students will learn how to apply the methods to various domains. The reasoning and writing skills students develop in this class will serve them across all academic disciplines and in the workplace.
The fundamentals of quantitative, qualitative, and ethnographic methods will be introduced. This will include statistics, data visualization and mapping, and techniques to explore subjective meanings, values and emotions such as interviewing, content analysis and visual imagery. As a consequence of globalization and new ways of communication, the global society is becoming more and more complex, fluid and interlinked. Problems such as the transitions between technologies in society, social segregation, urban development, environmental change, crowd behaviour, sudden violent uprising and the emergence and reproduction of social inequality have proved difficult to study using traditional methods. To handle such global issues, new research paradigms will be introduced to address and embrace the increasing complexity entailed by non-linear systems with heterogeneous elements.
In this course, students will be guided through the essential components of research, including doing preparatory work such as research design, literature review and research ethics; thinking through the practicalities of data collection; planning how to manage and analyse the data generated from these techniques; and thinking about how to present and write up the findings of the research. Students are exposed to various skills and transdisciplinary thinking and get the opportunity to apply them in the development of their research proposal.
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