INTS 300 Fall 2021

What is Social Inquiry?

Social inquiry focuses on probing questions related to social nature. For example, in international studies, we’re concerned about human behavior, forms of political and economic organization, and decision-making. Social inquiry is, by nature, interdisciplinary: it uses both interpretive methodologies as well as quantitative approaches. It finds its roots in political science, history, sociology, geography, and economics, among others.

Course Overview

This course, taught asynchronously online, is an introduction to the fundamental concepts and methods that form the foundation of the international studies discipline. I take a primary focus on research design: the methodological steps necessary to build and execute a plan to test an idea or hypothesis using empirical evidence. The goal is to get students from research question to hypothesis and then choosing the design appropriate to test our research expectations.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop the appropriate written and verbal skills for interpreting quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the major tenets of statistical and qualitative research.
  • Practice the methods associated with performing social science research.
  • Develop the skills to interpret research methods employed in various social sciences.
  • Critically evaluate scholarly research and execute an original social science research project. 

About Dr. Fattore


Salsa Dancing Journal: At the end of each chapter of Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences, there is an exercise that we will treat as a journal reflection on the research process.
Research Question/Lit Review Assignment: Provide an annotated bibliography related to your original research question.
Theory and Hypothesis Assignment: Tell the causal story about the concepts you are planning on observing from your research question.
Research Design Draft Assignment: This is a draft of your final project that Dr. Fattore will provide feedback to you. It also serves as the basis for your poster presentation
Poster Presentation + Feedback Assignment: Students will record a 5 minute presentation that they then post to YouTube. We will watch each person’s presentation and provide constructive feedback for their final paper.
Research Design Final Paper: Your final research design, which includes all of the building blocks from our workshops, is due during finals week.

Full assignment descriptions and evaluation criteria are available in the Official Syllabus.

Course Structure

  • 15 weeks, August 19 to December 9
  • Asynchronous, weekly lectures posted on Sunday nights
  • Final Paper due December 17
  • Students can expect to spend approximately 4-10 hours per week on work related to INTS 300, including the 3 hours of class time each week, as well as out of class readings and working on various assignments/assessments.

Office Hours

Office hours are set times dedicated to you, the student. This means I will be available in my “online” office (via Zoom) during these times and you are encouraged to come in with whatever questions you might have. In fact, I will be largely waiting for you! This is the best and easiest way to find me outside of class and the best chance for discussing class material and concerns. If nothing else, come talk to me about my obsession with all things 90s (ooh, scrunchies!), pop music (I heart Taylor Swift), and TV shows. Students who make office hours appointments via the Calendly app will be given priority, but drop ins are welcome.

The Syllabus, More Ways

The Official, Traditional Syllabus