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READ 104 Reading Mastery (Rosemond): Day 1: Social Science

This guide is here to assist students in Harry Rosemond's READ104 class

Your Assignment

Explore how the social sciences are reported on in everyday life:

Click on the link to NPR below to see a list of social science radio reports by NPR correspondent Shankar Vedantam. Be sure to listen to the report as well as read the full transcript. Think about the questions in your worksheet as you listen.

Need a copy of the assignment?

Click on the document link below to download a copy of the assignment

The Language of the Social Sciences

When you start researching a topic in a particular discipline, like the Social Sciences, you will start to notice that they use a lot of special words and expressions that may be unfamilar to you. It's very common for people in an academic discipline (or profession) to use a unique vocabulary or jargon that may be hard for outsiders to understand.

It is extremely helpful to familarize yourself with some of the common words and concepts used when discussing your topic during the early stages of your research.

What are the Social Sciences?

SOCIAL SCIENCE is the study of human society and of the relationships of individuals within society. Disciplines (or subject areas) within the social sciences include:

Social science disciplines chart

Professionals in the Social Sciences conduct their own research using a variety of methods (interviews, surveys, observations, and analyzing statistics just to name a few) but for students research primarily involves reading, comparing, synthesizing and analyzing the research results and theories of others.

What Does Social Science Research Look Like?

After completing a research project, researchers will often present their results and conclusions by publishing a detailed research paper in an academic journal that's written by and for experts in that field of research.

Anatomy of a Research Paper in the Social Sciences

  • Author(s)  - scholarly research usually involves multiple authors and lists their academic affiliation
  • Abstract - an overview of the research conducted
  • Methodology - what kind of research did they do and how did they go about it?
  • Results - what did their research show?
  • Data - tables, charts, graphs
  • Discussion - how does the research fit in with similar research on the topic?
  • References - research builds on the work of others. 

Example:

Open the PDF below to see the a current scholarly research paper entitled: "Evolutionary Origins of the Endowment Effect: Evidence from Hunter-Gatherers."

Below, a public radio journalist digests and makes sense of that scholarly study for a more popular audience. Click on the NPR radio report "Are We Genetically Inclined to be Materialistic?" to hear NPR's social sciences reporter Shankar Vedantam.

Books about the Social Sciences

Social Science Research Methods

Video still from "Research Methods for the Social Sciences"

Call Number: Streaming Video
Publication Date: 1995
Streaming video available from Films on Demand