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Sociology Project Ideas

Project Idea
The author of this project hypothesized that movies often disappoint readers because book-based movies tend to "dumb down" the works on which they are based (Fuhrman, 2002). Naturally, selective compression is necessary when telling a story as a movie, or no one would sit through it. (Hey, maybe there's an idea for a different experiment!) Selective compression is not necessarily the same, however, as simplification. There are ways to objectively measure the complexity of written language… Read more
Soc_p024
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
How well do adults understand basic science concepts? This project is a good opportunity for you to test your own scientific understanding as you create a short test to assess knowledge of basic science concepts. Your test will have to brief (probably 10–15 questions, maximum) or you'll have a hard time getting a sufficient number of complete responses. With so few questions, you'll have to think carefully about exactly what comprises "basic science knowledge," and exactly how to word your… Read more
Soc_p016
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
This project challenges you to think like a politician (and a scientist!), and try to ascertain what factors are most important as individuals make their decision on how to vote. For example, is it what is being said, or who is saying it? Read more
Soc_p010
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You must be willing to conduct and analyze a large number of surveys.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision recommended when conducting surveys.
Project Idea
Although some of us may not like to admit it, everyone's afraid of something. Big dogs, thunderstorms, public speaking, heights: what are you most afraid of? Do you think grown-ups have the same fears as kids? How about first-graders and sixth-graders? Find out for yourself by doing this project. Read more
Soc_p008
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites You must be willing to conduct and analyze a large number of surveys.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
We can't say it any better than he did, so here is Ryan Ponec's capsule description of his excellent project (Ponec, 2002): "At the end of a lesson, a teacher will sometimes have students summarize the information presented by stating, 'Tell me something you learned.' The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether or not this 'lesson summary' significantly enhances the students' ability to later recall the information presented. Students from grade levels fifth through eighth were… Read more
Soc_p015
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
The concept of beauty changes over time and often differs among societal groups. How strongly do societal conceptions of beauty shape an individual's self-image? There are many fascinating questions you could choose to explore with surveys on this subject. For example, how well do girls' ideas of what is attractive in boys agree with boys' expectations about what girls find attractive (or vice versa)? Try your survey with different generations to see how conceptions change over time. If you… Read more
Soc_p025
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
Can an authority figure make someone question their own memory? How reliable is eyewitness information? This project looks into these questions. You'll need a poster-sized image that includes many faces, and a volunteers to act as "eyewitnesses." The volunteers are tested individually. The instructions are that they have one minute to examine the poster, and then a fixed amount of time (e.g., 5 minutes) to write down brief, accurate descriptions of all the faces they can remember. They'll… Read more
Soc_p026
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
What causes the most stress for teenagers? Is it school? family relationships? peer pressure? worries about the future? Design a survey to find out what contributes to teens' stress levels. Possible variations include: How do teenagers deal with stress? Are today's teens more or less stressed than their parents were as teenagers? Were the sources of stress the same for your parent's generation or different? (Idea from De Biasi, 2003) Read more
Soc_p020
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
Is there a correlation between birth order and grade point average? Design a survey study to find out. How many completed surveys do you need for a representative sample of your school? If you limit your survey to one school, would you expect it to be representative of a larger population (such as your county or state?) How do you control for potential effects of parental age at birth? (In other words, younger siblings will have a higher probability of being born to older parents. If there… Read more
Soc_p018
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
This project asks the question "How do friendship groups change over time?" The results may support inferences about how "people skills" develop. What types of changes would you expect to see? Do you expect friendship groups to grow larger over time? Do you expect that individuals will belong to more, less or about the same number of friendship groups as they get older? Do you think there will be more or less exclusivity among groups (and how would you measure such a concept)? Do you… Read more
Soc_p021
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
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