Course Descriptions

two women in regalia in front of concrete building

Dr. Samantha Friedman (dissertation chair) and newly hooded Dr. Colleen Wynn at University at Albany, SUNY graduation

Introduction to Social Research

This course is intended to provide a basic introduction to quantitative (ex: surveys and censuses) and qualitative (ex: interviews, observations, and ethnography) methodology used in sociological research. Major topics include the logic of scientific inquiry, problem formulation, research design, conceptualization and measurement, techniques of data analysis, and ethical issues involved in the study of social phenomena. Research methods that will be covered in this course include experiments, surveys, qualitative interviews, secondary data analysis, content analysis, observation, and ethnography. I focus on teaching students to become contentious and critical consumers of the research they come across in the classroom and in their daily lives by offering them opportunities and tools to critically examine research. Students also practice hands-on research by creating surveys, doing a participant observation project, and designing and presenting a research project proposal.

Sociology of Families

This course introduces students to the study of families and covers topics such as; defining family, the history of families in America, intimate relationships, cohabitation, marriage, divorce, children, parents, and stepfamilies. Specifically, students examine forms, characteristics, and challenges of American families; variation by social location (race, class, gender, and sexuality); and relationships between families and other social institutions.

Community and Urban Sociology

This course introduces students to the field of community and urban sociology. Major historical and theoretical perspectives on the city as developed by sociologists, as well as other social scientists, will be examined and applied to an analysis of the contemporary American city. This course examines both macro and micro-level aspects of urbanization in American metropolitan areas. Particular attention will be paid to urban sprawl, suburbanization, residential segregation, housing issues, neighborhood effects, gentrification, and urban poverty.

Introduction to Sociology

Sociology explores how groups influence human action and interaction. This course provides an overview of sociological study and methods of inquiry examining the influence of gender, race, class, region of the country, and type of community on an individual’s values, behavior, and expectations. Student explore the differences and similarities among groups within the United States. We focus on contributions made by social institutions such as the family, the school system, the economy, and political groups in shaping social knowledge. Through discussing these sociological issues the course enables students to think critically about the social world in which we live by awakening their sociological imagination.