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User:Piotrus/Social Research Methods course

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This page has information on planning and resources for the online writing assignment taught by Piotr Konieczny for the University of Pittsburgh's Social Research Methods (SOC 0230 spring 2010).

The goal of this assignment is for students to develop the Social Research Methods book over the duration of the course (4 months).

Introduction for studentsEdit

We will be using this site - Wikibooks - for our assignment.

The assignment is composed of two parts: individual and group.

Individual: each student should edit Wikibooks on a weekly basis, sharing insights from the lectures and recent readings (think of it like a collaborative note taking online). How to do that? You will go to this Wikibooks entry related social research methods, select the chapter corresponding to the week you are in, and edit that page, adding notes / comments / thoughts based on our class discussions, your notes, textbook, etc.

Group: each student will join a group (5 people each). Each group will chose two topics (chapters) of this Wikibooks entry related social research methods to focus on, and will be responsible for rewriting and organizing that part of our book project. The end result of your group work will be to combine the notes of individual students (which you add in the individual assignment) into something resembling a book chapter. You should expect to have a chapter of about 10 pages length.

Editing wikis is easy (and a useful skill to have). Learn how to edit a wiki by doing the Wikipedia editing tutorial.

Stages and deadlinesEdit

  • Week 1: Introduction to the individual assignment (worth 3% of the final credit). The deadline for the individual assignment is Sunday of each week (in other words, you are expected to add your notes to the relevant wikibook chapter by the end of the week we are going over it).
  • Week 3: Introduction to the group assignment (worth 7% of the final credit). The deadline for the group assignment is Tuesday of Week 16.
  • Week 16: Grading of the wiki assignments


Grading of this assignment is simple.

We have 14 content weeks. For grading individual assignments, I will see how many of those weeks you have contributed to wikibooks adding notes, add them up, divide by 14, multiply by 3, round to the nearest digit. Simple :) For grading group assignments, you will get a group grade weighted by your activity grade. What that means is that I will assess the chapters done by the group, then I will see how active you were in contributing to them. Students who were very active may get extra credit (over 7%), students who did almost no work will get less than 7%...

What does it mean to be active? Edit the assigned chapters over the course of at least several days, interact with others to integrate your work with theirs, discuss outline/progress with other group members on chapter's discussion page, and so on.

Important note: if your group is dividing labor so that members will contribute to only one chapter, please let me know about this beforehand (and preferably make a note of this on our discussion page).

Important tipsEdit

Create an account and sign in every time you edit

Whenever you edit, make sure that you are signed in (if in the top right corner of the screen you see "log in" button, you are not signed in!). If you are not signed in, course instructor (Piotr Konieczny) will not be able to verify that you were the person who made the edit and give you points for it.

Talk pages

Whenever editing a talk page, add four tildes ~~~~ to the end of all comments you make on talk pages. This will let people know who is talking. You can also just press the signature button.

We don't own the wikibook

Wikibook is a project with thousands of editors, who collaborate on all articles. We don't own the books we work on. Don't be surprised if you receive comments from editors who are not part of the course, or if they do edit our wikibook. All editors are here to help.

Expect to interact (politely) with others

It is likely that over the course of the project, you will receive messages from editors outside our course, and that they will make edits to your article. Be polite in replying, and don't hesitate to ask them to explain something.

Work on Wikibooks

A. Don't work on a draft in Microsoft Word. Work on a draft in the article on Wikibooks. This way your colleagues (and instructor) will be aware of what you are doing the instant you do so, and can comment on it sooner.

B. Don't exchange comments by email. Exchange comments by using article's talk pages, for the same reasons as above (unless you are certain that your discussion have to stay private). If you like to receive email notifications, you can monitor the article's talk pages (and your own userpage talk page) by subscribing to that page RSS feed (see here for how).

Remember: gaining experience with wiki software may be important to your future career. Three years ago, Technorati's chief technologist states that in five years "knowledge of wikis will be a required job skill". Do the math.

Getting extra help

You can always ask the course instructor for help (but check Help:Contents first). You should not hesitate to ask your fellow students from other groups for help, for example if you see they have mastered some editing trick you have yet to learn. We are here to collaborate, not compete. If you can lobby and get help/assistance/advice from other editors to improve your work (for example by using Wikibooks:Community Portal), I am fine with that.

Advice from past assignments

This is not the first time I am running this assignment for my students. Based on my past experiences, here are common mistakes that tend to lower your grade:

  • read the "getting extra help" tip above
  • complete the tutorial and edit some Wikipedia articles "for fun" early on; experience gained will be very helpful
  • work on a draft on Wikibooks, in the article; don't work in Microsoft Word or such
  • remember its a collaborative assignments. Work with your colleagues from the first day on a single wiki-draft. Groups whose members work alone and try to combine their parts a day or so before the final submission don't do very well.
  • don't focus solely on your own sections. Help your teammates by proofreading their section, see if they have troubles with things you've figured out.
  • image questions? See here, and in particular, here and here. Try to avoid looking for images on "the web", focus on the Wikipedia's sister project, Wikimedia Commons, which has millions of images that can be used on Wikipedia without any restrictions.

Editors in SOC0230Edit

Course instructor: User:Piotrus (Piotr Konieczny)

Max 5 students per group. Please add your username, first name and initial of your second name name below in the following format:

{{user|your username}} (First Name, Inital of Second Name)

For example, {{user|Piotrus}} (Piotr K.) yields: Piotrus (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Piotr K.) Once you do this the strange table below will look like this.

Please also add the note on which chapters your group will be editing.

Group 1

  1. robertchriste (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Robert Christe), Sav12 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Sergey V.) , Cmc115 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Christine C.), scr21 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Sarah R.), ajr70 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Alex R.)

Group working on chapters:11 and 12

Group 2

  1. Hilmarc10 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Hilary M.), KSars (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Kyle S.), KerryS87 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Kerry S.), jvd12 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Jessica D.), pkw5 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Katy W.)

Group working on chapters:5 and 6

Group 3

  1. Tessa Lewis-Whitson (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Tessa L-W), jmolek08 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Jessica Molek), Brb65 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Briana B.), .Trp26 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Truc P), Sav12 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count), TylerZ (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Tyler Zucchiatti)

Group working on chapters:3 and 4

Group 4

  1. MaineTwin2 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Jerm. L), Agatha12 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Agatha K.), J.Stoltzfus (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Jena S.), Maw230 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Marnik W.), Tiffanyk (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Tiffany K.), Grace,duffy (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Grace D.)

Group working on chapters: 9 and 10

Group 5

  1. MeganLac (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Megan L), bella713 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (brittany moreland), Matthew Joe Roden (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Matthew R.), hls36 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Heather S), elm52 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Erinn McMahon)

Group working on chapters: 1 and 2

Group 6

  1. Emh60 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Erika H.), Sc21 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Sarah C.), Jad148 (discuss · email · contribs · logs · count) (Jared D.B.), [[:b:User:|]] ([[:b:User talk:|discuss]] · email · contribs · logs · count) (), [[:b:User:|]] ([[:b:User talk:|discuss]] · email · contribs · logs · count) ()

Group working on chapters: 7 and 8