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Distributed Requirements: Social Scientific Inquiry (3 credits)

Social Scientific Inquiry

Social Scientific Inquiry

Social science is a core component of liberal education, both for the development of theoretical and evidence based thought, and for the formation of citizens who are capable of contributing to the construction of a more just and humane world. Education in this area includes the application of social scientific theories, concepts, research findings and methods in identifying and comprehending broad societal trends and important events.

Social Scientific Inquiry Learning Outcomes

Key Outcomes:

  • Social scientific thinking. Students will develop an initial comprehension of social scientific thought, including the core ideas, concepts, development and purposes of one field of study, and an understanding of the connections between that discipline and other social sciences. They will also demonstrate intellectual curiosity and appreciation of the value of knowledge within the social sciences.
  • Theoretical knowledge and thought. Students will develop an expanded ability to think theoretically, and to appreciate the importance of that competence for understanding recurring social patterns. They will comprehend the logic of discipline-specific theories or models, display a capacity to construct logical, informed, and persuasive arguments, and clearly communicate their thinking through written and/or oral expression.
  • Research. Students will comprehend the connections between theoretical thinking and empirical research, the development and testing of hypotheses, and exhibit appreciation of the contingent nature of social scientific knowledge. They will become aware of research methods utilized by social scientists, and of quantitative and/or qualitative data sources. They will demonstrate increased capacity to evaluate primary and secondary social scientific sources.
  • Critical thinking and application of knowledge. Students will apply social scientific thinking to a critical evaluation and deeper understanding of media portrayals and “common sense” explanations of political, social, and economic trends and events.
  • Communication and collaboration. Students will develop their abilities in social scientific writing, and realize the importance of the collegial environment of academic communities, including an appreciation of respectful disagreement, and the value of constructive criticism and collaboration in creating and communicating social scientific knowledge.
  • Social responsibility. Students will increase their commitment to meaningful participation in the social and political life of local, national, and global communities, to awareness of cultural and ethnic diversity, and to meaningful responsiveness to social injustice.

Evidence of Student Learning

Outcomes are evaluated through some combination of writing, oral presentation, participation in class activities and discussions, examinations, or involvement in and reflection upon community based service and projects. Regardless of the methods of evaluation, faculty should be explicit about how assessment of one or more outcomes is included in assignments so that students’ capabilities for critical social scientific thinking are clearly understood and measured.

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