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Introduction to Sociology Sociology 1000

Fall 2017-18 Bentley Annex 102 TuTh 3:05-4:25

Hailey Murdock 2 Bentley Annex, Office Hours T/W/Th, 2-3

Welcome to our Intro to Sociology course. Have you ever wondered why we
as a society send our children to school for most of their lives where they are
forced to memorize information that they will never use again? Have you
ever wondered why we as a society prioritize money over things like food
quality, air, and water? Or have you ever wondered why the U.S. has over
2.4 million people incarcerated at this very moment in time leading us to
have the highest incarceration rate and largest prison population in the
world? If you have ever wondered why these facts are seen as normal in our
society then this is the course for you. This course will change the way you
look at life. We will analyze contemporary social problems such as mass
incarceration, immigration, and many others through using a sociological
lens. We will critically read, compose, and discuss various sociological
concepts, theorists and their theories, and research methods to gain a richer
sense of the practical uses of sociology. By the end of this course, you will be
able to identify social norms, deviance, exploitation, and many other
sociological concepts in your everyday interactions.


Required Reading:

Discover Sociology Second Edition by William J. Chambliss and Daina S.

ISBN-13: 978-1483393520
ISBN-10: 1483393526

Blackboard Readings are identified in quotes throughout this syllabus


Learning Objectives

1. Students will demonstrate their familiarity with sociological theorists by

applying theoretical perspectives to contemporary social problems
through class discussions and a short write up.
2. Students will be able to distinguish between C. Wright Mills concepts
of personal troubles and public issues through providing examples in a
written essay.
3. Students will learn and apply sociological methods, for example,
quantitative and qualitative, by designing a research proposal in a
sociological area of their interest.
4. Students will develop an understanding of the importance of sociology
when studying the social world through sociological readings,
discussions, and examinations.

5. Students will develop a better understanding of sociological

frameworks such as race, gender, and class. Students will apply these
frameworks to contemporary social issues such as the pay gap, police
violence, etc. in a group project.


Attendance for this class is not required, however, with that said there will be
5 random quizzes given that will count for 5% of your final grade. If you miss
one of the days that the quizzes are on, you must have contacted me 5
hours in advance with a reasonable explanation for your absence. I realize
that life happens and you may have to miss class, but it is important to
communicate with me when these things come up. You are paying thousands
of dollars for your education, so it is up to you to get the most of it.

Electronics Policy

Cellphones must be on silent by the start of class. If you are caught using
your phone I will ask you to put it away. If I have to ask you again, you will be
dismissed from the class for the remainder of the period.

Course Evaluation

1.) Breaching

Students will be put into groups of 3-4 in order to complete a sociological

breaching experiment. Students will use the symbolic interactionism theory
to guide their experiment. In groups, students will go to three different
restaurants of their choosing during lunch or dinner time. One student will
cut to the front of the line and try to order food, while the other students
take field notes on what they observe. Students should vary the gender of
the line jumper at least one of the restaurants. Students should also have the
line jumper use crutches at one restaurant. Additional information about this
assignment will be given out at a later date.


DUE: Students will be expected to write up a synopsis about their
findings. Students can choose to write the paper individually or as a
group. Students will be evaluated by showing their understanding
of why breaching experiments are beneficial to sociology. Students
will also be evaluated by their ability to frame their findings with a
symbolic interactionism lens. Research papers should include a
literature review, theoretical section, methods section, findings
section, conclusion, and references section. Papers should be 3-5
pages double spaced.

2.) O.J. Simpson paper

In todays social media consumed society it is important to think critically

about the information that we are given by various news sources. There is
no form of checks and balances or fact checking for media sources, so
how do we distinguish between facts and false facts? We can no longer
take what we see from media sources as true until after we investigate
and verify the information. We need to ask questions like is this
information biased? Is this information backed by facts? The United States
court system was far from prepared to deal with these technological
advances. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison could have never
imagined how information could be shared by one click of a finger. Social
media and the court system brings up questions about the ability of those
accused to have a fair trial. We are going to analyze the role that social
media plays in the outcome of court cases. Additional information about
this assignment will be given out at a later date.

DUE for this assignment: Individually write up a 2-3 page paper

(double spaced) about how the media affects court case
outcomes by using the O.J. Simpson trial or any others that may
interest you. You will be evaluated on your ability to answer the
questions above as well as to show an understanding of sound
versus biased information. Additional Resources: It may be helpful
to watch the series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
(available on Netflix and YouTube) and the documentary O.J Made in
America (available on YouTube)

3.) Exams

There will be a Midterm exam as well as a Final exam. The Final exam will
NOT be cumulative.


4.) In class writing assignments

There will be many times that I will have you write a response to a question
or prompt that I pose in class. Students will be required to turn the writing
assignment in before leaving class in order to receive credit. These
assignments cannot be made up.


Grades will be determined on the basis of:

Breaching Paper (15%)
O.J Simpson Paper (15%)
Midterm Exam (30%)
Final Exam (30%)
In class writing assignments (5%)
Quizzes (5%)

Make up homework/exams

Exams, papers, quizzes, and in class writing assignments CANNOT be made

up. There are few exceptions for this:

You have an Ohio University approved absence

You have contacted me within 24 hours of the test and or assignment
date to make other arrangements to complete the test and or

I know that life happens and things come up when we least expect it. I am
willing to work with you through these instances IF you communicate with

Extra Credit

There will be opportunities to earn extra credit throughout the semester,

which will be determined at a later date.


I am willing to work with anyone who requires accommodations due to disability. Please let me
know as soon as possible in order to work out the best plan for the rest of the course. If you have
not yet spoken and registered to receive accommodations please call the Office of Student
Accessibility Services, 348 Baker University Center, at (740)-593-2620. Do not be hesitant to
reach out. I want every student to succeed in this course!


Class Rules, Norms, and Culture

1.) Discussion is vital to having an atmosphere conducive to learning. This classroom is an

open safe space where you are free to share your opinions and thoughts about the various
areas that we will be covering. I want every student to be mindful that there are many
other perspectives regarding one issue, so I ask that you be respectful of others opinions
and they will do the same in return.
2.) I suggest that you work together with a friend or a group of friends in the class. Study
together and share your ideas or questions about the class. However, with that said, I
want you to turn in your OWN work on individual assignments. Cheating and plagiarism
is not permitted. To refresh yourselves on areas concerning plagiarism see the Student
Code of conduct here:
The Student Code of conduct, available at

Course Schedule 2017