SC208-5-FY-CO:
Quantitative Research on Social Stratification: Inequalities from Cradle to Grave

The details
2022/23
Sociology
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
ReassessmentOnly
Thursday 06 October 2022
Friday 30 June 2023
30
07 October 2021

 

Requisites for this module
SC101
(none)
(none)
SC203

 

SC385, SC830, SC831

Key module for

(none)

Module description

This full year module shares the Autumn term lectures and classes with Researching Social Life II (SC203). In this part of the module, students are introduced to quantitative data analysis. The second term builds on the knowledge gained in the first and introduces students to the study of stratification across the life course, with an emphasis on the critical examination of empirical evidence on inequality in both Britain and the USA.

In the autumn this module introduces you to the principles and practice of quantitative data analysis. Students are first introduced to basic descriptive statistics and the fundamental concepts of statistical inference, then to measures of association for both continuous and categorical variables. The term ends with a focus on regression analysis, which is the most commonly used statistical model in social science. Students will learn how to conduct statistical analysis using IBM SPSS software in weekly lab sessions.

In the spring term, building on the knowledge gained in the previous term, students are exposed to a selective introduction to the study of stratification across the life course, with an emphasis on the examination of empirical evidence from Britain and the USA. Social stratification is the unequal distribution of scarce resources, and of the processes by which these resources are allocated to individuals, groups, and social positions.

The study of stratification is broad and occupies a central role in sociological research, encompassing studies of income and wealth inequality, occupational and class hierarchies, inequality of educational opportunity, poverty, social mobility between and within generations, gender and race-ethnic inequality, and the consequences of inequality. We will also pay particular attention to the life course perspective on stratification; in other words, how experiences in early life influence later events and choices in education, marriage, or health.

In this course, we examine specific examples of sociological research in selected areas, covering the concepts, theories, facts, and methods of analysis used by sociologists to understand different aspects of social stratification. The examples are not meant to provide a comprehensive overview, but rather to illustrate prominent questions in the field and how sociologists go about answering them.

Module aims

The aims of the module are to provide:

Substantive understanding of current key debates and recent empirical work in the field of social stratification

Improved ability to critically read scientific journal articles and to interpret quantitative evidence

Experience in formulating research questions and testable hypotheses, and applying these to real data

Module learning outcomes

In the process of taking this module, you will develop skills that are transferable to your undergraduate project, the labour market, or postgraduate work, when you complete your undergraduate studies. You will also appreciate more how sociologists go about applying their skills and knowledge to the empirical investigation of issues they study. Chiefly, upon successful completion of the module, you will:

Autumn term:

1. Have gained an understanding of the principles and practice of quantitative analysis in sociology
2. Have gained an understanding of the fundamentals of statistical inference
3. Have basic skills in analysing and presenting quantitative data using computer software IBM SPSS and Excel

Spring term:

4. Gain a substantive understanding of current key debates and recent empirical work in the field of social stratification
5. Have an improved ability to critically read scientific journal articles and to interpret quantitative evidence
6. Gain the ability to critically examine the link between theoretical framework, research questions, data choice, and modelling strategy
7. Be able to formulating research questions and testable hypotheses, and applying these to real data

Module information

After the introductory week, this course is divided into four two-week sections, each devoted to a stage in the life course. Every section contains two lectures (one each week), followed by a class discussion after the first lecture and a lab session after the second. The class discussion will include in-depth discussion of the readings, with particular attention paid to identifying the research question and discussing the analytical choices and evidence provided by the authors. The class takes most of its examples from the contemporary United Kingdom and the United States. In each lab session, we will formulate our own research questions and hypotheses based on our readings and discussions. Building on knowledge and skills gained in the autumn term, students will then use SPSS software to test these using data from the largest longitudinal study of UK households: Understanding Society (UKHLS).

Please click on the link below to view the Introduction video to SC208 Quantitative Research on Social Stratification: Inequalities from Cradle to Grave

https://moodle.essex.ac.uk/mod/page/view.php?id=668554

This module is part of the Q-Step pathway. Q-Step is an award which you can gain simply by enrolling on specific modules and will signal to employers your capability in quantitative research. Learn more about the Q-Step pathway and enhance your degree now.

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching approach While restrictions related to COVID-19 are still in place, much of the teaching on all our modules will take place online. All lecture-type content will be available via Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities each week. [update here to 2021-22 face-to-face classes]. SC208-5-FY will include a range of activities to help you and your teachers to check your understanding and progress. These are frequent reports (you have the dates listed on the course outline), and interaction with discussion forums. In addition, we have our office hours in which you can book a variety of different slots – please, make sure to email us in order for us to assign you a slot! The lecture-type videos provide an overview of the substantive debates around the topic of the week, while the classes will give you the opportunity to reflect on your learning and actively engage with your peers to develop your understanding further. The weekly classes will take place on Zoom or face-to-face (should this be deemed safe). You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The classes will be recorded and available for you to watch or listen again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these classes it is very important that you attend and engage. Please note that classes may be divided into small break-out groups on Zoom and these will not be routinely recorded. In addition to your timetabled hours for this module, you should aim to spend up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.).

Bibliography

This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Nick Allum, email: nallum@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Carlos Solar, email: carlos.solar@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Katy Wheeler, email: katy.wheeler@essex.ac.uk.
Professor Nick Allum, Dr Katy Wheeler & Dr Carlos Solar
Jane Harper, Student Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
Yes

External examiner

Dr Jennifer Fleetwood
Goldsmiths, University of London
Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 590 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
590 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Sociology

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