SOCI 4023 Honours Workshop

This course is designed primarily as an intensive seminar course in research strategies and analysis oriented specifically to writing an honours thesis. The overall goal of the course is for students to have their thesis research actively under way and major sections written by the end of the first semester. Students will be expected to present their work in progress to the group and to actively help each other in research designs and problem-solving.

This course presupposes that participants already have a reasonably clear idea of their thesis topic. Most will have taken SOCI 3033 in their third year. Students who have not yet developed a thesis proposal should expect to work very intensively with thesis supervisors and Honours Workshop director in the first three weeks to get caught up.

The first 3-4 weeks of the course will be organized around chapters from Silverman text which provide intensive study of the logic of qualitative methodology and the relationships between theorizing, evidence, and analysis. Students will be asked to keep journals that address how issues raised by Silverman relate to their own honours thesis research.

The first round of student presentations will focus on the theoretical perspective and basic research questions that provide the framework of the honours thesis. Any sociological research needs to be embedded in relevant scholarship that provides an orienting framework for the new study. This framework may vary widely, depending on whether the research is envisioned as exploratory ethnography, textual analysis, testing competing explanations for experience, and so on. Some research begins from relatively clear assumptions about important causal relationships and variables to be explored. Other research may be oriented to intense fieldwork observation as the groundwork for theorizing. This presentation should form the opening chapter of the thesis.

The second round of presentations, overlapping closely with the first, will describe thesis methodology. This should give details about the approach being used, access to the research site, samples, strategies for textual analysis, interview or questionnaire design, as appropriate. This presentation should form the first draft of the methods chapter of the thesis.

The final 3 weeks of the course will be devoted to sharing data analysis. Every student is expected to have gathered some research material by November, and to be prepared to share this material with the class and provide some preliminary analysis. Seminar participants are responsible for actively helping each other to generate ideas and to strengthen weak areas in the research.

Required text

Silverman, David 1993 Interpreting Qualitative Data. Methods for Analyzing Talk, Text and Interaction Data Thousand Oaks, California: Sage


In-class discussions and journals around chapters of Silverman text (25%). Three presentations that will also constitute draft chapters of thesis:
Theoretical Framework (25%)
Methodology (25%)
Preliminary analysis of data (25%)

Dr. Sylvia Hale
Sociology 1006 Introduction to Sociology
Sociology 2013 Research Methods
Sociology 2443 Race and Ethnic Relations
Sociology 2633 Sociology of the Family
Sociology 4023 Honours Workshop

Sociology / Faculty / STU Homepage