Independent Studies in Social Sciences

General Course Information

Course Lecturer Name(s):  Oliver Benoit & Wendy Crawford-Daniel

Course Director Name: Oliver Benoit

Course Lecturer(s) Contact Information:;

Course Director Contact Information: 

Course Lecturer(s) Office Hours:  by appointment 

Course Director Office Hours:  by appointment

Course Lecturer(s) Office Location:  Ballsier building  - upstairs

Course Director Office Location:      same as above

Course Support:   Nikisha Thomas;; 3692

Course Management tool: To learn to use Sakai, the Course management tool, access the link

Course Curriculum Information

Course Description: 

This course is offered in the final year of the Humanities & Social Science Program. The research projects are designed and tailored to fit student’s own interests and research proposals.  This course is done over a 2-semester period.

Course Objectives: 

This course, by itself, does not equip students to become proficient researchers. However, students who successfully complete it would become more discriminating users of empirical research. To attain this goal, the following objectives will be pursued:

Completion of empirical research project. Further develop the following:

  1. Levels of research approaches
  2. Unit of analysis
  3. Crafting research purpose statements
  4. Sampling and recruitment
  5. Delimitations, limitations, and significance of the study
  6. Research quality and ethical issues

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Prepare a thorough literature review 
  2. Collect data in the field
  3. Enter and analyse data collected
  4. Write up a detailed research report
  5. Present research findings

Program Outcomes Met By This Course:

PO.1. Apply research methodologies to investigate social problems/issues

PO.2. Demonstrate their critical thinking skills to sociological analysis of social problem/issues. PO.3. Employ sociological research methods to investigate and explain social issues

SAS Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned as follows:

A  = 89.5% or better

B+ = 84.5 - 89.4%

B  = 79.5 - 84.4%

C+ = 74.5 - 79.4%

C = 69.5 - 74.4%

D = 64.5 - 69.4%

F = 64.4% or less

Course Materials:

Supplementary Readings/Resources: Library database resources.  Students are guided through the complete research proposal.  

Course Grading Requirement:

Introduction/Research Question/Rationale: 10%

Literature Review:                                 30%

Findings:                                                30%

Analysis/discussion:                              30%

TOTAL                                                                  100%

Course Requirements:

It is required that students meet with their lecturer on a regular basis. In composing your papers strive to build a convincing argument; and in doing so, adhere to accepted principles of argumentation, e.g., (a) ensure that claims are clearly articulated and supported by adequate evidence; (b) connect ideas with adequate transitions; (c) make efforts to avoid internal inconsistencies in your argument; and (d) remember that contradictions are not always reconcilable. If and when you encounter irreconcilable contradictions, write in such a way that your readers would know that you are aware of the contradictions and have struggled to resolve them.

  1. Unless otherwise indicated, submit your written assignments electronically (i.e., in the designated assignment drop box on SAKAI), as a WORD attachment. If there is no designated drop box on SAKAI, send it to my SGU email.
  2. In creating a FILE NAME, begin with your last name, followed by a BRIEF description of the document—with no spaces between—and end with a date. For example, if I were submitting a proposal on April 19, 2013 I would name it: BaptisteProposalApr19-2013, where "Baptiste" is my last name and "Proposal" is the description of the document, and April 19, 2013 is the date.
  3. As far as possible, follow the most current APA Style Manual when submitting your work:
    1. Include a title page with the title of the paper, the name(s) of the person(s) who wrote the paper, and the date submitted,
    2. A header must appear at the top of each page,
    3. All pages must be numbered,
    4. All pages must have one inch top/bottom, and left/right margins, and e. Papers must be double-spaced, with 12 point fonts.
  4. All sources of information used in your paper must be documented. This is true whether you are quoting or paraphrasing; whether you are making direct reference to the material, or using it in a general and indirect way. Sources here refer to written as well as non-written materials, such as audio or video recorded interviews, personal conversations, etc. It is a criminal offense to use other people's information without giving them the credit. It is called plagiarism. A source must be cited by author(s), year (and page numbers if quoting) in the passage in which it is used.
  5. Please proof read and spell check your document. With word processors now possessing both grammar and spell check, I consider it highly unprofessional to submit documents with incorrect spelling and blatant grammatical errors.
  6. Papers that do not adhere to these guidelines may not be reviewed.

Course Schedule




Develop and present research question


Consult lecturer for guidance with project


Data collection/ field work


Data Analysis


Individual consultation


Submission of first phase of the project

School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.