Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Spring 2023



Course Number

DIPL 4101/5101

Course Description

This course is designed to help students learn research, writing, and oral communications skills that they can apply to all academic and professional pursuits. The ultimate goal is to complete a well-written. strongly argued, and thoroughly documented paper. To this end, the course focuses primarily on the production of knowledge, while at the same time recognizing that knowledge production requires the ability to critically analyze knowledge produced by other scholars.

The course includes both in class and one-on-one meetings with the instructor, all in an effort to turn a general research problem/topic/issue into a researchable question, develop hypotheses, conceptualize and operationalize variables, locate primary and secondary data sources, and identify an effective research design. In most of the class sessions, students will make presentations, and this includes PowerPoint presentation in order to formally present the research findings and constructively critique one another's presentations. The one-on-one meetings with the instructor will focus on the instructor's feedback to students. In addition, two articles published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals will be reviewed in class by the instructor to learn how accomplished scholars communicate with the academic community.

It is hoped that, by the end of the semester, students should have acquired the ability to critically analyze published articles and reports, have an in-depth knowledge of a particular functional area and/or region of the world sufficient to contribute to the existing state of knowledge, and demonstrate an understanding of the social science research process, including skills to collect, sort, and evaluate information; analyze complex situations and synthesize information; and communicate effectively in oral and written form.

Note: Students who intend to conduct interviews may have to seek approval from the Office of Institutional Research Board (IRB) located in the Presidents Hall, especially if the data collection procedure(s) involves risk to human subjects and if the findings are to be disseminated outside of the classroom. This is an issue which Seton Hall University, the State of New Jersey, and the Federal Government see with utmost concern, especially if the interview and any other data collection method involve more than "minimal risk" to the research subjects. Since research involving human subjects may not begin without the IRB approval, you need to see the instructor to file the necessary papers as soon as possible. Given the lengthy process and the time needed for IRB approval, it is important to seriously think about the feasibility of conducting research involving human subjects. Completion of the research on time may be hard to meet unless IRB approval is granted very early in the semester.