Research Design

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The students will be equipped with the conceptual and empirical tools to understand the most salient features and the most relevant consequences of today's processes in a number of significant social domains.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course students will acquire the ability to critically evaluate and discuss the impact, development and use of the topics covered during the course. The final exam aims to verify the expected learning outcomes in relation to these topics.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
If the distancing rules to fight pandemics are still in force at the start date of the lessons, the course will be held through the platform Microsoft Teams.
Course syllabus
Content of modules 1 and 2:
Scientific propositions and everyday sentences
Theories and hypotheses: how to control propositions
Different types of explanations in the social sciences
From concepts to variables
Quantitative and qualitative approaches
The research design and its steps
Data organization and processing
What kind of data are good for testing hypotheses
Reliability and validity of research results

Content of module 3:
Individual and relational approaches
The theoretical origins of the relational approach
Basic concepts: actor/subject, relation, tie, group, structure
Relational data collection
Graphical techniques in network analysis (sociograms)
Matrix analysis of networks and main structural concepts and statistics
Groups detection and sub-group analysis
Data reduction methods
Role theory and structural equivalence
Prerequisites for admission
The course can be successfully attended by students who have already acquired a basic knowledge of the techniques of social research at undergraduate level. Those who do not have this knowledge can refer to the text by Corbetta Piergiorgio, Methodology and techniques of social research, Il Mulino.
Teaching methods
Lessons in classroom with students' participation to discussion of examples and applications proposed by the teacher.
Teaching Resources
Students attending the lessons:
Module 1-2, Slides provided by the teacher
Module 3, Slides provided by the teacher

Students not attending the lessons:
Module 1-2, Elster J. Explaining Social Behavior, Cambridge Univ. Press, New York, 2007 OR Elster J. la spiegazione del comportamento sociale, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2010;

Module 3, J. Scott, Social Network Analysis, Sage, London, 2nd edition 2000 OR A.M. Chiesi, L'analisi dei reticoli, Franco Angeli, Milano, 2nd edition 1999;
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exam
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Monday 15:00 to 18:00
Department room n. 219 starting on August 31st