Social Science Approaches to the Study of Chinese Society Part 1

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About this course: This course seeks to turn learners into informed consumers of social science research. It introduces concepts, standards, and principles of social science research to the interested non-expert. Learners who complete the course will be able to assess evidence and critically evaluate claims about important social phenomena. It reviews the origins and development of social science, describes the process of discovery in contemporary social science research, and explains how contemporary social science differs from apparently related fields. It describes the goals, basic paradigms, and methodologies of the major social science disciplines. It offers an overview of the majo…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: This course seeks to turn learners into informed consumers of social science research. It introduces concepts, standards, and principles of social science research to the interested non-expert. Learners who complete the course will be able to assess evidence and critically evaluate claims about important social phenomena. It reviews the origins and development of social science, describes the process of discovery in contemporary social science research, and explains how contemporary social science differs from apparently related fields. It describes the goals, basic paradigms, and methodologies of the major social science disciplines. It offers an overview of the major questions that are the focus of much contemporary social science research, overall and for China. Special emphasis is given to explaining the challenges that social scientists face in drawing conclusions about cause and effect from their studies, and offers an overview of the approaches that are used to overcome these challenges. Explanation is non-technical and does not involve mathematics. Statistics and quantitative methods are not covered. Explore the big questions in social science and learn how you can be a critical, informed consumer of social science research. Course Overview video: https://youtu.be/QuMOAlwhpvU After you complete Part 1, enroll in Part 2 to learn how to be a PRODUCER of Social science research. Part 2: https://www.coursera.org/learn/social-science-research-chinese-society

Who is this class for: Advanced undergraduates or college graduates without a background in social science who seek a basic understanding of the relevant disciplines’ concerns, methodologies, and challenges. It is especially aimed at anyone contemplating applying to a social science postgraduate program who has not had systematic prior exposure, and would like to assess the fit of social science to their interests, and gain a basic understanding that will help them decide whether to pursue advanced training. The course may also be useful to students enrolled in an introductory social science research methods class as a complement to lectures and readings.

Created by:  The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Taught by:  Cameron Campbell, Professor of Social Science

    Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science
Level Beginner Commitment 1-2 hours a week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 5.0 stars Average User Rating 5.0See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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Syllabus


WEEK 1


What is social science?



Welcome to Social Science Approaches to the Study of Chinese Society Part 1! Part 1 focuses on being a CONSUMER of social science research. Take some time to review the Course Overview video and the assignments for this course. In Week 1, we will explore What is Social Science. By the end of this week, you will be able to understand the differences between social science from humanities, natural and life sciences, outline the origins of social science and have a grasp of key definitions and terms.


8 videos, 4 readings expand


  1. Video: Course Overview
  2. Reading: Assignments & Grading
  3. Discussion Prompt: Meet and Greet your peers!
  4. Reading: Suggested Reading List (Optional)
  5. Video: 1.1 Overview
  6. Video: 1.2 Why social science is a science
  7. Video: 1.3 Theory and evidence in social science
  8. Video: 1.4 The origins of social science
  9. Video: 1.5 Social science as a new way to study society
  10. Video: 1.6 Differences between social science and other disciplines
  11. Video: 1.7 Summary
  12. Discussion Prompt: Interest in social science
  13. Reading: Week 1 General Reading List
  14. Reading: Week 1 Classics Reading List

Graded: Week 1 - What is social science?

WEEK 2


The Big Questions
In Week 2, we will focus on The Big Questions. By the end of this week, you should have some sense of the range of questions that are the focus of much social science research. The next week, Week 3, will expand on China specific research.


7 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: 2.1 Overview
  2. Video: 2.2 Inequality
  3. Video: 2.3 Family
  4. Video: 2.4 Social context and individual outcomes
  5. Video: 2.5 Divergence
  6. Video: 2.6 Political and social change
  7. Video: 2.7 Summary
  8. Discussion Prompt: The Big Questions
  9. Reading: Week 2 The Big Questions Reading

Graded: Week 2 - The Big Questions

WEEK 3


Social Science Research on China
In Week 3, we will focus on Social Science Research on China. By the end of this week, you should have some sense of major topics in current social science research on China.


7 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: 3.1 Overview
  2. Video: 3.2 Change and continuity
  3. Video: 3.3 Family
  4. Video: 3.4 Population aging
  5. Video: 3.5 Migration
  6. Video: 3.6 Education, Health, and Wellbeing
  7. Video: 3.7 Summary
  8. Discussion Prompt: Notable changes in (Chinese) society
  9. Reading: Week 3 Social Science Research on China Resources

Graded: Week 3 - Social science research on China

WEEK 4


The Social Science Disciplines
In Week 4, we will focus on The Social Science Disciplines. By the end of this week, you should have a better understanding of the emphases of each of the major social science disciplines, and the differences between the disciplines.


7 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: 4.1 Overview
  2. Video: 4.2 Sociology
  3. Video: 4.3 Political Science
  4. Video: 4.4 Economics
  5. Video: 4.5 Anthropology
  6. Video: 4.6 Other disciplines
  7. Video: 4.7 Summary
  8. Discussion Prompt: Social science disciplines
  9. Reading: Week 4 Social Science Disciplines Reading

Graded: Week 4 - Social science disciplines

WEEK 5


Study Designs
In Week 5, we will focus on Study Designs. By the end of this week, you should understand the differences between the most common types of study, and have some sense of the settings in which each is most relevant.


8 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: 5.1 Overview
  2. Video: 5.2 What is a study?
  3. Video: 5.3 Cross-sectional studies
  4. Video: 5.4 Longitudinal studies
  5. Video: 5.5 Qualitative and quantitative studies
  6. Video: 5.6 Experimental and observational studies
  7. Video: 5.7 Macro and micro studies
  8. Video: 5.8 Summary
  9. Discussion Prompt: Study Designs
  10. Reading: Week 5 Study Designs Reading

Graded: Week 5 Study Design Peer Assignment

WEEK 6


Challenges
In Week 6, we will focus on Challenges. By the end of this week, you should be able to have a better understanding of key challenges to interpreting results from social science research, and be able to reflect on potential problems with study design.


8 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: 6.1 Overview
  2. Video: 6.2 Representativeness
  3. Video: 6.3 Selection bias
  4. Video: 6.4 Omitted variables
  5. Video: 6.5 Reverse causality
  6. Video: 6.6 The ecological fallacy
  7. Video: 6.7 Validity of measures
  8. Video: 6.8 Summary
  9. Discussion Prompt: Challenges in social science research
  10. Reading: Week 6 Causation vs Correlation

Graded: Week 6 - Challenges

WEEK 7


Cause and Effect
In Week 7, we will focus on Cause and Effect. By the end of this week, you should understand the basic approaches that social scientists follow in trying to establish that an observed relationship reflects cause and effect.


8 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: 7.1 Overview
  2. Video: 7.2 Experimental designs
  3. Video: 7.3 Cause and effect in observational studies
  4. Video: 7.4 Control variables
  5. Video: 7.5 Natural/quasi experiments
  6. Video: 7.6 Instrumental variables
  7. Video: 7.7 Matching approaches
  8. Video: 7.8 Summary
  9. Discussion Prompt: Cause and effect
  10. Reading: Week 7 Measuring Causal Relationships

Graded: Week 7 - Cause and effect

WEEK 8


Final Exam



You've reached the final exam week! Complete the final exam and post-course survey. Your feedback can help us improve future iterations of the course. Good luck on the exam and hope to see you in Social Science Approaches Part 2. https://www.coursera.org/learn/social-science-research-chinese-society


1 video, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Video: Concluding Remarks
  2. Practice Quiz: Post-course survey

Graded: Final Exam
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