American Sociological Association


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  1. Share, Show, and Tell: Group Discussion or Simulations Versus Lecture Teaching Strategies in a Research Methods Course

    Impacts of incorporating active learning pedagogies into a lecture-based course were examined among 266 students across nine research methods course sections taught by one instructor at a large public university. Pedagogies evaluated include lecture only, lecture with small group discussions, and lecture with simulations. Although lecture-simulations sections outperformed lecture-only sections on one outcome measure, few performance differences appeared between lecture-only and alternative groups.
  2. Do They Have to Like It to Learn from It? Students’ Experiences, Group Dynamics, and Learning Outcomes in Group Research Projects

    Small-group pedagogies, such as group research projects, are a common instructional method in undergraduate education. The literature suggests that small-group learning has positive effects on learning outcomes, but some students have negative attitudes toward group work, and student complaints about negative group dynamics, such as free-riding, are common.
  3. Teaching Note: Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality: A Role-playing Activity to Teach Difficult Concepts

    Role-playing activities, as a form of active learning, enable instructors to teach difficult concepts in ways that better facilitate student learning. This note tests the effectiveness of a role-playing activity that simulates the job market: Most students play job seekers seeking employment, and a few play the employers who make employment decisions. However, students are constrained in that they can only talk to students they already know or meet during the game.
  4. Integrating Community-based Research into a Senior Capstone Seminar: Lessons Learned from a Mixed-methods Study

    This article describes a senior capstone, Neighborhoods and Health, which used community-based research (CBR) as its primary pedagogy. Students in the course drew upon multiple research methods and forms of data to provide our partner, the Urban Farming Institute of Boston, with an array of research products in support of the revitalization of a historic farm in the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan.

  5. “I Understand What They’re Going through”: How Socioeconomic Background Shapes the Student Service-learning Experience

    Traditional service-learning pedagogy assumes that learning occurs when contact between relatively advantaged students and a relatively disadvantaged service population reduces prejudice. However, little is known about how students whose backgrounds are similar to the populations they serve process this learning experience. This study explores the connections between socioeconomic status and learning trajectories within service-learning. Students provided written reflections on a service-learning experience focused on food insecurity as part of course requirements.

  6. Exploring Classroom Climate in Sociology Courses Using Syllabi

    The classroom climate shapes students’ learning and instructors’ teaching experience in profound ways. This study analyzes classroom climate statements in syllabi from various sociology courses to understand the extent that sociology instructors highlight climate issues and how climate is conceptualized in their syllabi. Drawing from data from two different times periods (pre-2005 and post-2010), the current study examines the frequency of classroom climate statements, the factors that may contribute to the presence of a statement, and themes within these statements.

  7. Sociology, Teaching, and Reflective Practice: Using Writing to Improve

    The scholarly literature on teaching sociology contains relatively little about improving courses from one semester to the next. In this article, I describe a method for continual teaching improvement that is based on writing, the well-established practice of teacher reflection, and classical sociological principles. This method was developed through the analysis of nine semesters of autoethnographic data that I collected in the form of daily reflective notes.

  8. Do Sociology Courses Make More Empathetic Students? A Mixed-Methods Study of Empathy Change in Undergraduates

    Assessing course goals is often challenging; assessing an abstract goal, like empathy, can be especially so. For many instructors, empathy is central to sociological thinking. As such, fostering empathy in students is a common course goal. In this article, we report the initial findings of a semester-long assessment of empathy change in undergraduate students (N = 619). We employ a mixed-methods research design that utilizes qualitative instructor data to determine independent instructor-level variables and student surveys to measure student empathy change.
  9. Teaching Replication to Graduate Students

    Replicating published studies promotes active learning of quantitative research skills. Drawing on experiences from a replication course, we provide practical tips and reflections for teachers who consider incorporating replication in their courses. We discuss teaching practices and challenges we encountered at three stages of a replication course: student recruitment, course structure and proceedings, and learning outcomes. We highlight that by engaging in replication, students learn from established scholarly work in a collaborative and reflective manner.
  10. Making It Count: Using Real-World Projects for Course Assignments

    Previous scholarship has demonstrated the value of high-impact practices of community engagement, inquiry-based pedagogy, and collaborative learning for engagement and learning in sociology courses, especially undergraduate research methods and statistics. This article explores the changes made to an upper-division undergraduate course focused on applied research practices and community-level interventions.