Introduction to Social Inquiry


Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction to Social Inquiry

  • Host University


  • Location

    Sydney, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Communication, Gender Studies, International Communications, Mass Communications, Multicultural Studies, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    How do we understand the structure and changing nature of the social world? This subject provides an introduction to key ideas in social and political thought which enable the critical interpretation of social life. It focuses on concepts such as gender, race and social class, and explores how they can be applied to understand society and the life-paths of individual social actors. As a core activity of the subject, students undertake their own empirical biographic or 'life-story' analysis as a vehicle through which to begin to develop their social research skills and to concretely explore the ways the social structures explored shape the possibilities of individual agency.
    Subject objectives
    a. Explain key concepts of the social sciences
    b. Appreciate different standpoints, viewpoints and frameworks for understanding the social world
    c. Analyse their own beliefs, assumptions and expectations
    d. Collaborate to organise and present information
    e. Critically apply theory and mobilise empirical data for social analysis
    Teaching and learning strategies
    The subject consists of a weekly lecture and tutorial. Core texts are reproduced in a subject reader; additional resources are available online and in the UTS library. The lectures engage students with key concepts and methods while in the tutorials students evaluate theoretical claims through discussion and analysis of student projects. Tutorials involve students in a variety of activities, including individual and group presentations, discussion groups and formal debates. Online debates support and extend these tutorial activities.
    The subject comprises two main parts: Part 1 ? up to Week 6 - introduces students to some of the key concepts in the social sciences, including gender, race, and social class. In Part 2, in Weeks 7, 9 and 10, students will be asked to consider familiar institutions and common lifetime experiences which are influence by all three concepts: gender, race AND class ? as well, perhaps, as other pressures. This is often identified as a condition of ?intersectionality?, in which not one factor (or position) but an interaction of factors will shape the experiences of people or the workings of institutions. For Assignments 2 and 3, students will each conduct a biographical interview, that is, an individual life story, then transcribe it and finally analyse it using the concepts introduced in Part 1, operating in the ?intersectional? conditions identified in Part 2.
    Assessment task 1: Reading Journal
    Weight: 30%
    1500 words
    Timeliness of submission of entries
    Relevance of the arguments identified for discussion
    Depth of discussion of the chosen arguments
    Clarity of writing
    Accuracy of referencing
    Sensitivity to multiple perspectives, including Indigenous worldviews
    Assessment task 2: Transcription and focused biography
    b and d
    Weight: 20%
    Transcription length will vary with interview structure. Bibliography (list of relevant readings) should be between 1 and 2 pages.
    Respectful interviewer interactions with interviewee.
    Effective Interviewer encouragement for interviewee to speak
    Technical: Inclusion of biographical information, inclusion of time markers.
    Relevance of readings to interviewee?s life story.
    Assessment task 3: Interview Analysis
    a, c and e
    Weight: 50%
    The ESSAY should be no longer than 2500 words
    Coherence of analytical narrative
    Depth of analysis
    Clarity of writing
    Succinctness of writing

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.