Soc 111 – Introductory Sociology
MWF 11 – 11:50 a.m.
Office Phone: 801-422-1683
Office Hours: MW 3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
TAs (see Blackboard for additional contact information):
[email protected][email protected][email protected]
This class satisfies both general education, Sociology BS, and Sociology minor
requirements. We will survey many of the foundational concepts, theories, and methodologies
that sociologists use to understand the social world. My hope is that you obtain a beginning
knowledge of each of these and begin to foster the "sociological imagination" which will not
only help you understand the social world, but will help you better understand yourself as well as
others who are not like you.
Expected Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, you will –
Understand core sociological theories and concepts and be able to apply them to various
Demonstrate your ability to critically read, understand, and analyze academic texts and
Generate high-quality professional writing
Understand the role of statistics in generating sociological knowledge
Think about and analyze socialization (who you are), social life (what you do), social
structure (why you do it) from a sociological perspective
Explore the connection between a sociological perspective and the Gospel
I do not (necessarily) expect that you will:
Become a sociologist
"Believe in" sociology or that the sociological perspective is the "right" one
Henslin, James M. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach, Core Concepts. Pearson, Allyn and
** EITHER 2ND, 3RD, or 4th EDITION ARE ACCEPTABLE**
*Ehrenreich, Barbara. 2001. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. New York:
Metropolitan Books. Chapter 1.
Gladwell, Malcolm. January 19, 1999. “Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg.” The New Yorker.
Sections 1 and 3 – 6; http://www.gladwell.com/pdf/weisberg.pdf
**Guo, Guang and Kathleen Mullan Harris. 2000. "The Mechanisms Mediating the Effects of
Poverty on Children's Intellectual Development." Demography 37:431-447.
**McLanahan, Sara. 2004. "Diverging Destinies: How Children are Faring Under the Second
Demographic Transition." Demography 41:607-627.
Mills, C. Wright. 1959. “The Promise.” The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford
University Press. (Available on Blackboard in Course Materials.)
*Postman, Neil. 1985. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show
Business. New York: Penguin. Chapters 1 & 2.
* Available through the HBLL electronic reserve; password: eri111
** Available through the HBLL
We will be using clickers the semester. This means that most days I will ask you to
respond to a number of multiple choice questions. These questions will poll you on your
background, assess what you have learned from reading assignments, discover what you think
about different social issues related to class content, and/or to spark discussion about how to
apply the concepts we are studying. Sometimes you will receive points for correct answers, other
times the questions will be used as an instructional tool (i.e., sometimes there won't necessarily
be a "correct" answer). In short, we are not using clickers just "for fun" or for attendance but as a
tool to facilitate class participation, sharing, and to help discussion flow more smoothly and
I am still learning how to best use this technology to facilitate learning in a large section
class. Consequently, any feedback you have on the questions themselves, how the questions are
used, etc. are more than welcome. I would like to know both those questions help you better
understand course material and which ones may be a waste of time. Finally, it is dishonest to ask
a friend to bring your clicker to class if you can’t be here.
Consistently missing class will limit your ability to achieve the desired outcomes of a
general education as well as your chances of scoring well on exams. I will keep track of each day
you respond to an iClicker question. At the end of the semester, if you have responded to a
question 80% of the days we have class (8 classes), you will receive full attendance points. This
is purposively not a particularly strict attendance policy. It should allow you a number of
legitimate or non-legitimate opportunities to miss class or forget your clicker without losing
points. Also, it keeps me from having to decide what is legitimate or non-legitimate in the first
To buy insurance against losing attendance points, I recommend attending two out-ofclass University events related to Sociology and turn in a one paragraph response to each event.
You are welcome to identify activities across campus and approach me with ideas to satisfy this
requirement but I will also let you know of various opportunities as they arise. If you have not
answered at least half of the iClicker questions, you will get zero attendance points, regardless of
whether you attended out-of-class events. If you cannot make it to class, it is your
responsibility to get notes or other relevant information from another student.
I will give five assignments throughout the semester. They should not take a substantial
amount of out of class time to complete and will be designed to give you some rudimentary
experience as a sociologist. In the various assignments, you will be collecting data and doing a
simple statistical analysis and using the sociological imagination to understand a variety of social
phenomenon. These assignments are designed to introduce you to the tools sociologists use to
understand social life. Surprisingly (?), this means an introduction to the fundamentals of
statistical analysis. Also, by doing the reading associated with these assignments, discussion with
your group, and answering questions about the reading you will get practice thinking like a
sociologist and will start to see the world a little differently than you did before.
The assignments are meant to be completed in groups so I encourage you to get together
with 4 or 5 people to complete each assignment. You only need to turn in one completed
assignment with the names of all group members. You may also complete any or all of the
assignments on your own; just realize that part of the learning intended by the assignments can
only occur in groups. Each assignment will be worth 15 points.
Synthesis & Argument Paper
Good analysis and writing skills are critical components of this class. You will be
required to write a short “synthesis and argument” paper that will be based on two scholarly
journal articles that we will discuss in class. There are two parts to the paper -- first, you will
answer summary questions for each of the articles (15 points). You may do this portion of the
paper (the summary) with your group. Second, you will have to write the synthesis and argument
paper (60 points). This you must do by yourself. Because formal writing for a specific audience
is particularly difficult, 10 points of your grade will be awarded for taking a COMPLETED
initial draft to consult with one of the TAs. We will arrange for you to schedule an appointment
with a TA later in the semester.
There will be a mid-term and final exam. Each will be more focused on application of
concepts (e.g., what we will be trying to do in class) than recall of vocabulary. The format for
both exams will be multiple choice and each will be worth 100 points (50 questions at 2 points
each). Again, exams will focus primarily on application of concepts which you will get practice
doing during class discussions.
The midterm will be given at the Testing Center between Feb 22 and Feb 25. If you
cannot take the exam during this time, you may make arrangements with me to take it early.
Exams cannot be taken late. The final will also be given through the Testing Center. You may
take it any time during finals week that the Testing Center is open. Historically they have
scheduled our final to be administered in the JSB Auditorium.
I'm not interested in accepting late work. However, if you are unable to complete the
work when it is due, write a memo explaining the situation that caused your problem and turn it
in with the completed work. I will file away both the memo and work. At the end of the
semester, if you have turned all your other assignments in on time, I will look at your assignment
and give you full credit. On the other hand, if I have a collection of late assignments from you I
will take that to be an indication of your commitment to the course and you will get zero credit.
There will be no extra credit assignments given or accepted.
Your final grade will be determined based the percentage of the total points you have
earned at the end of the semester. The percentage-grade breakdown I will use is:
Percentage 100 – 94
93 – 90
89 – 87
86 – 84
83 – 80
79 – 77
76 – 74
73 – 70
69 – 60
Your total points will come from the following (described earlier):
Paper (including summary)
(80% of class attendance)
(5 at 15 points each)
(50 multiple choice questions)
(50 multiple choice questions)
Assignment or Reading due
What is Sociology?
Ch 1, p. 1 – 18
KING DAY – NO CLASS
Structure & Interaction
Societies to Social Networks
Ch 1, p. 18 - 31
Guo & Harris
PRESIDENTS DAY – NO CLASS
MID-TERM – NO CLASS
Paper summary due
FINISH EXAM BY CLOSE OF TESTING CENTER
Deviance & Social Control
Sex and Gender
Assignment or Reading due
Race and Ethnicity
Synthesis & Analysis paper due
Marriage and Family
Final Exam in Testing Center
BYU Academic Honesty Policy
“BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should
complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic
dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including plagiarism, fabrication or falsification,
cheating, and other academic misconduct. Students are responsible not only to adhere to the
Honor Code requirement to be honest but also to assist other students in fulfilling their
commitment to be honest.” A complete version of the Academic Honesty Policy is available at
Preventing Sexual Discrimination or Harassment
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any
participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended
to eliminate sex discrimination in education and pertains to admissions, academic and athletic
programs, and university-sponsored activities. Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment of
students by university employees, other students, and visitors to campus. If you encounter
sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the
Equal Employment Office at 801-422-5895 or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours), or
http://www.ethicspoint.com; or contact the Honor Code Office at 801-422-2847.
Students with Disabilities
If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this course, you should get in touch
with the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (1520 WSC). This office can evaluate
your disability and assist the professor in arranging for reasonable accommodations.