Methodology of Social and Evaluation Research

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course has two objectives: 1) to provide essential elements concerning the debate on the specificity of social sciences, on their reliability, on the control of statements relating to social reality; 2) illustrate the main alternatives for projecting an empirical reserach (research design) on the basis of the initial hypotheses and available theoretical approaches.
This second part in turn has two objectives: a) providing the tools for understanding the procedures that lead to research results and for a critical assessment of their reliability, for those students who want to acquire a capacity to use the research results correctly in various fields of social sciences; b) building a basic methodology for those students who will later choose more advanced courses for the use and application of empirical quantitative and qualitative research techniques.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding of the main methodological paradigms of social research, of the developments of positivism and interpretativism, of the specificities of quantitative and qualitative research. Knowledge of the scientific research cycle. Ability to understand the theoretical elements of the research process (concepts, theories, hypotheses).
Ability to apply knowledge and understanding in relation to the construction of research designs and to literature review, to the ways of translating concepts into variables, to the main data collection methods (sample survey, secondary data, macro data) and data analysis (contingency table, linear regression). Ability to apply the main qualitative research techniques (participant observation, qualitative interview, focus group).
The course also aims to develop students' ability to communicate what they have learned by involving student groups in the preparation of an original data analysis.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
If, for measures related to the health emergency, teaching should be distance mode, teaching methods and methods of verifying learning will be modified as described below. Prerequisites, program and reference material remain the same.
Teaching takes place on the MS Teams platform. The teaching is divided into three days dedicated to three different moments:
1. LESSON (whole class): illustration of the weekly syllabus with indication of the topics and sources: short recorded lessons + slides + texts. The material is simultaneously made available to students.
2. REVISION (for subclasses): revision of the topics with students' questions and lecturer's answers + scheduled student interventions.
3. EXERCISES (for subclasses and for relationship groups): general exercises + exercises with SPSS for the production of a group relations. Exercise phases: instructions, development, correction.
The final evaluation adds up the following items:
* intermediate and final writing (0-15 points)
* Correction of exercises related to exercises (0-10 points)
* Group report (0-5 points)
For non-attending students the writing does not undergo changes but is administered in the presence. Students can apply well in advance to support it remotely in Moodle + SEB + MS Teams mode.
Course syllabus
1. Theories and hypotheses
2. Primary and secondary research designs,the evaluation of public policies
3. From concepts to variables
4. Working with variables
5. The survey
6. Macro data and contingency tables
7. Linear regression
8. Qualitative research techniques, document analysis and digital methods
9. Research paradigms
10. Group presentations
Prerequisites for admission
The teaching of Social statistics and population dynamics is preparatory to the teaching of Methodology of social and evaluation.
Any students not enrolled in GLO must have the basic knowledge usually provided by an introductory statistics course.
Teaching methods
The course is completed by a series of sessions in the IT laboratory on the SPSS data analysis program.
Teaching Resources
de Lillo A., Arosio L., Sarti S., Terraneo M. e Zoboli S., Metodi e tecniche della ricerca sociale, Pearson, Milano, 2011.
Biolcati-Rinaldi F. e Vezzoni C., L'analisi secondaria nella ricerca sociale, il Mulino, Bologna, 2012.
Further referenceswill be indicated during the lessons.

de Lillo A., Arosio L., Sarti S., Terraneo M. e Zoboli S., Metodi e tecniche della ricerca sociale, Pearson, Milano, 2011.
Biolcati-Rinaldi F. e Vezzoni C., L'analisi secondaria nella ricerca sociale, il Mulino, Bologna, 2012.
de Lillo A. (a cura di), Il mondo della ricerca qualitativa, Utet, Torino, 2010.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of three parts: an intermediate writing, a final writing and a presentation. The intermediate writing (duration 40 minutes) includes 15 closed-ended questions and 1 open-ended question relating to the first part of the program. The final paper (duration 90 minutes) includes 15 closed-ended questions and 1 open-ended question on the second part of the program. It also provides a series of exercises with STATA similar to those performed during the lab sessions. The third part of the exam is dedicated to a presentation of the group work on secondary data analysis. The final mark is given by the average of the intermediate and final writing to which are added up to 3 evaluation points of the group presentation.

The exam is written (lasting 40 minutes) and consists of 30 closed-ended questions (which are worth 60% of the final grade) and 2 open-ended questions (which are worth the remaining 40%).
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Tuesday, 16.30-19.30 (for any changes please refer to the personal web page)
Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e Politiche, via Passione building, second floor, room 204