Department of Social Sciences

General Survey (Introduction to Sociology) – SOC GSO 121 QM, Spring 2014; 4 Credits

Dr. Komla S. Ganu

Phone: 718-436-0843


Web Site:


Welcome to Sociology! 


The Department of Sociology is delighted that you have chosen to take one of our courses.


The courses in our department seek to give students the ability to use sociology’s concepts and analytic approaches in order better to understand their experience in various group and institutional settings. We also try to enhance students’ ability to understand and evaluate reports of research -- in the news, in professional work, and elsewhere -- that use methods of social science. Our emphasis is on enabling students to use sociological perspectives to become more insightful and effective participants in society and culture as well as in the wide range of careers relevant to group life. Those who major in sociology are also prepared to undertake further study in graduate school.


More specifically, we want to help our students acquire the ability --


to explain and apply the major sociological concepts


to identify and describe the main methods used in building sociological knowledge


to evaluate reports based on an appreciation of their methods


to understand the meaning and impact of culture, institutions, socialization, differentiations (by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and social class), change, and other major aspects of social structure


to appreciate how cultures and social structures vary across time and place


to determine what information is relevant to any inquiry


to describe how sociology differs from, but is also similar to, other social sciences


to gather the relevant sociological information effectively and efficiently


to write a clear report of the findings of a sociological data analysis



We hope that you will enjoy this course and find it useful.  If there is any way that it can be made to serve your needs better, please feel free to talk with your instructor.



Touro College and University System is a community of scholars and learners committed to maintaining the highest standards of personal integrity in all aspects of our professional and academic lives. Because intellectual integrity is a hallmark of scholarly and scientific inquiry as well as a core value of the Jewish tradition, students and faculty are expected to share a mutual respect for teaching, learning and the development of knowledge. They are expected to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, fairness, professional conduct of academic work and respect for all community members.

Academic dishonesty undermines our shared intellectual culture and our ability to trust one another. Faculty and administration bear a major responsibility for promoting a climate of integrity, both in the clarity with which they state their expectations and in the vigilance with which they monitor students. Students must avoid all acts of dishonesty, including, but not limited to, cheating on examinations, fabricating, tampering, lying and plagiarizing, as well as facilitating or tolerating the dishonesty of others. Academic dishonesty lowers scholastic quality and defrauds those who will eventually depend on the knowledge and integrity of our graduates.

The Touro College and University System view violation of academic integrity with the utmost gravity. Such violations will lead to appropriate sanctions, up to and including expulsion from the college community. We commit ourselves to the shared vision of academic excellence that can only flourish in a climate of integrity.

The Touro College and University System's policy on academic integrity, which is outlined in this document, is designed to guide students as they prepare assignments, take exams, and perform the work necessary to complete their degree requirements, and to provide a framework for faculty in fostering an intellectual environment based on the principles of academic integrity.

The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), of which the Touro College and University System is a member, identifies five fundamental values of academic integrity that must be present if the academic life of an institution is to flourish: Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect, and Responsibility.1 To sustain these values, the TCUS Academic Integrity Policy, modeled after that of Rutgers University 2, requires that a student or researcher:

  1. Properly acknowledge and cite all ideas, results, or words originally produced by others;
  2. Properly acknowledge all contributors to any piece of work;
  3. Obtain all data or results using ethical means;
  4. Report researched data without concealing any results inconsistent with student's conclusions;
  5. Treat fellow students in an ethical manner, respecting the integrity of others and the right to pursue educational goals without interference. Students may neither facilitate another student's academic dishonesty, nor obstruct another student's academic progress;
  6. Uphold ethical principles and the code of the profession for which the student is preparing.

Adherence to these principles is necessary to ensure that:

  1. Proper credit is given for ideas, words, results, and other scholarly accomplishment;
  2. No student has an inappropriate advantage over others;
  3. The academic and ethical development of students is fostered;
  4. The Touro College and University System is able to maintain its reputation for integrity in teaching, research, and scholarship.

Failure to uphold the principles of academic integrity threatens not only the reputation of Touro, but also the value of each and every degree awarded by the institution. All members of the Touro community bear a shared responsibility for ensuring that the highest standards of academic integrity are upheld.

The Touro College and University System administration is responsible for working with faculty and students to promote an institutional culture of academic integrity, for providing effective educational programs that create a commitment to academic integrity, and for establishing fair procedures to deal with allegations of violations of academic integrity.

Course Objective: This course analyzes the structure, processes (sociological methods) and products associated with group living. Attention is focused on the concepts of social organization, culture, groups, stratification, major social institutions and significant trends in group living.


Course Overview


This is a threshold course which gives students insight into the discipline as the study of associational life of humans in terms of the way we were, the way we are and where we are headed.  It examines the structures and agencies that serve as conduits in facilitating human social life and its dynamics.  It also looks at the various methodological approaches used by iconic scholars in building the body of disciplinary knowledge (epistemology) which formed the bedrock on which sociology is built; we will review briefly the works of some of these notable scholars (i.e. Comte, Durkheim, Marx, Weber, Martineau, Mead and DuBois). Finally, the course also examines the nature and impacts of the products of human association/interaction such as culture, religion, political capital, stratification, social change, deviance, technology, urbanization, media and economics.


Goals & Outcomes

The goals for this course are set within the context of Touro’s broader educational goals. In meeting these goals, students are evaluated based on their performance in respect to the following criteria: attendance and participation, two written assignments, first exam, midterm exam, a term paper and a final comprehensive exam


Student Learning Outcomes (Students will be able to)


1. Understand and interpret the main sociological theories, concepts and methods independently

Class exams and written assignments

2. Be able to apply sociological concepts and theories to the social world and their everyday interactions.

Probing questions and class discussions/participation

3. Employ sociology as a form of critical thinking and analysis.

Written assignments and exams

4. Demonstrate the ability to summarize and critically analyze readings in the Social Sciences

Final term paper





Course Requirements & Credits


A 7-page term paper on sociological issues replete with proper APA parenthetical citations and reference format is required.  Topic must be discussed with professor and approved before writing. The paper is due one week before the last day of class.  The papers are to be submitted electronically on or before the midnight of the due date to avoid penalty.                                    15%

  1. Class participation (be aware that you cannot participate if you do not attend classes; please be on time, come prepared!).                                                                   15%
  2. Two written assignments                                                                                  10%
  3. First Exam                                                                                                       15%
  4. Midterm Exam                                                                                                 20%
  5. Final Exam (Comprehensive)                                                                          25%


NB: Class attendance will be counted towards your final grade.  There is no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences. More than two absences could jeopardize your final grade.  Coming in late three times will constitute one absence; leaving class before the scheduled dismissal time will also be counted as one-half of an absence. Leaving and entering the classroom intermittently while class is in session is not acceptable and will be used against your final grade. Please have your cell phones and other electronic gadgets turned off during class sessions!



Required Text:

Tischler, Henry, L (2010). Introduction to Sociology. 10th Ed.  USA: Cengage Learning

ISBN: 9780495804406


Supplementary Text:

Cranston, Maurice (1968). The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. London: Penguin Books. ISBN: 9780140442014


Other Resources: A Flash Drive of at least 2GB





Week 1; February 5th  

Overview of Course; Discussion of the Term Paper; Sociological Perspective: early thinkers; contemporary thinkers. Assignments:  Read Tischler Chapter 1;

Introduction to APA Format; it is mandatory for students to take this online tutorial: APA EXPOSED, complete the online poll at the end of the tutorial and print the Certificate of Completion to submit by the ending of week 3.


Week 2, February 12th      

Sociological Research: the scientific method; major research designs; ethics of research; technology and sociological research; a 30-minute video presentation on ethical research issues posed by the Tuskegee Experiment,  

Assignment: Read Tischler Chapter 2  


Week 3; February 19th    

Culture and Socialization: culture & society; development of culture around the world; elements of culture; culture war; culture variations; world religions.  APA assignment due!

Assignments: Read Tischler Chapters 3 & 4

*Chart an eco-map of self and write a two-page description of yourself and all the agents of socialization that have impacted your life (must include the micro-, meso-, exo- and macro-systems). This assignment is due by the ending of Week 5.


Week 4; February 26th   

Socialization and the Life Course: the role of socialization; the self & socialization (Cooley, Mead, Goffman, Freud and Piaget); agents of socialization. Out of the Past: The Hearth (a video presentation on how enculturation and economic cooperation have shaped the homes and families of people, past and present)

Assignment:  Read Tischler Chapters 5 & 6; Work on your Eco-Map



Week 5; March 5th      

Social Interaction, Groups and Social Structure: elements of social structure; understanding organizations; global social structures. Artisans and Traders: A Video Presentation  Eco-map assignment is due!  First Exam; Assignment: Read Tischler Chapter 7; & Rousseau’s Social Contract Book 1 & 2


Week 6; March 12th       

Deviance and Social Control: deviance; control; sociological perspectives on deviance; crime.

Assignment: Read Tischler Chapter 8


Week 7; March 19th        

Stratification & Social Mobility in the U.S: classification systems; sociological perspectives on stratification; stratification by social class; social mobility; global inequality; legacy of colonialism; multinational corporations. Class Matters: Angela’s Climb to the Middle Class:; Class Matters: The Life Among the Hyper-Rich: ; Review for Midterm Exam

Discussion of Term Paper; Assignment: Read Tischler Chapter 10


Week 8; March 26th       

Racial & Ethnic Inequality: the social construction of race & ethnicity; the privileges of the dominant; minority racial & ethnic groups; prejudice & discrimination; sociological perspectives on race and ethnicity; inter group relations; race and ethnicity in the United States; immigration and the new ethnic groups. Midterm Exam

Assignment: Research for your term paper topics


Week 9; April 2nd

Stratification by Gender: social construction of gender; sociological perspectives on gender; the oppressed majority; women in the workforce. Assignment: Read Tischler Chapters 11 & 12


Week 10; April 9th      

Social Institutions: the family and religion; global view of the family; sociological perspectives on the family; kinship patterns; authority patterns; religion and social control; beliefs and rituals.

Assignment: Read Tischler Chapters 13 & 14; *write a two-page paper on the family as a primary social unit (past and present) delineating its functions (due week 12).

NB: No Classes on April 16th


Week 11; April 23rd    

Social Institutions: education- schools as formal organizations, sociological perspectives on education; government & the economy- power & authority, types of government; political behavior in the U.S.; models of power structures in the U.S.; changing economies; economic systems – capitalism, socialism; the changing face of the workforce. (1. The World of the Dragon: a video presentation on the growth of capitalism in China -; 2. The Evolving World Economy: )

Assignment: Read Tischler Chapters 1 & 16; and handout on urbanization and the growth of cities; work on your term paper


Week 12; April 30th (Chapter 10)

Population, Community, Health and the Environment: Demography; elements of demography; early communities; preindustrial cities; modern cities; urbanization and its consequences; sociological perspectives on urbanization; health an illness, social epidemiology; environmental problems. Family paper due!

Assignment: Read Tischler Chapters 17 & 18


Week 13; May 7th        

Social Movements Social Change and Technology: the relative deprivation approach; the resource mobilization approach; Gender and Social Movements; Theories of Social Change – evolutionary theory, functionalist theory, conflict theory; Global Social Change, resistance to social change. Term Paper due!



Week 14; May 14th   

Economic and Cultural Factors, resistance to technology, technology and the future, computers, biotechnology; course summation & Review for Final Exam;


Week 15; May 21st    

Final Exam



Assessment takes place in a variety of ways over the course of the semester.  These include examinations (first exam, midterm exam and a final comprehensive exam) which may follow a mixture of multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank and brief definitions formats.  The exams measure students’ familiarity with the discipline’s core concepts, debates and theoretical perspectives.  GSO 121 students are also required to write original essays that might, for instance, ask them to analyze a subculture, or use their sociological imaginations to analyze some other disciplinary concepts. The course also assesses students’ acquisition and utilization of research skills by requiring them to do a 7-page research paper on sociological topics of their choice as a term paper.  Students are also evaluated through probing questions that are posted to them during class discussions and instant permanent online poll ( which enables them to furnish their feedback on the way the course is being taught. Additionally, students are administered a more comprehensive learning assessment survey questionnaire (see attachment below) to enable them to evaluate their learning experiences with respect to my pedagogical approaches. Feedbacks from the survey and class discussions are utilized in adjusting and fine-tuning my teaching methodology.





In order to understand your needs and promote your interests in acquisition of knowledge in the subject area of this class, please fill out this questionnaire by placing a check mark against the answers that best describe your feelings/opinion about the course and its delivery.


1.             Prior to enrollment into this course, you have:

     ڤ a) An excellent background in the subject area

     ڤ b) A good background in the subject area

     ڤ c) A poor background in the subject area

     ڤ d) No background in the subject are


2.             Which of the following best describes your interest level in the course?

ڤ a) have a very high interest in the course

ڤ b) have interest in the course

ڤ c) have no interest in the course

ڤ d) have no opinion


3.             What was your expectation towards the course before enrolling into it?

                ڤ a) The course would be very interesting

                ڤ b) The course would be intellectually stimulating

                ڤ c) The course would enhance my performance on my current job

                ڤ d) Other, please specify …………………………………………..


4.             How satisfied are you with the way the course is being taught?

                ڤ a) Very satisfied

                ڤ b) Satisfied

                ڤ c) Fairly satisfied

                ڤ d) Not satisfied at all


5.             Which of the following teaching methods do you like most?

        ڤ a) Strictly lecture

        ڤ b) Lecture & discussions

        ڤ c) Brainstorming sessions facilitated by the professor

        ڤ d) Other, please specify. …………………………………………


6.             Which of the followings helps you most in understanding the course materials?

                ڤ a) Class activities such as role-playing

                ڤ b) Students’ class presentations

                ڤ c) Electronic presentations

                ڤ d) Other, please specify. …………………………………………


7              What aspect of the teaching or class activities would you like to see more of?

                ڤ a) More lecture from professor

                ڤ b) More lab use

                ڤ c) More integration of technology

                ڤ d) More general class discussions

                ڤ e) Other, please specify. ………………………………………….


8.             Which of the professor’s teaching methods do you like most?

                ڤ a) Use of lecture format in explanation of theories and concepts

                ڤ b) Probing questions guiding students towards understanding concepts

                ڤ c) Extensive use of the blackboard in illustrations and session’s notes

                ڤ d) All of above

                ڤ e) None


9.             The way this course is being thought I am able to explain the basic concepts of the course.

                ڤ a) Strongly agree

                ڤ b) Agree

                ڤ c) Disagree

                ڤ d) Strongly disagree

                ڤ e) No opinion


10.          Professor’s teaching methods helped me to improve my ability to analyze pertinent subject area    ideas in real life situations. 

                ڤ a) Strongly agree

                ڤ b) Agree

                ڤ c) Disagree

                ڤ d) Strongly disagree

                ڤ e) No opinion


11.          What I have learned in this course will help me in my future courses

                ڤ a) Strongly agree

                ڤ b) Agree

                ڤ c) Disagree

                ڤ d) Strongly disagree

                ڤ e) No opinion


12           Course objectives and expectations are being met the way the course is being taught by the             professor

                ڤ a) Strongly agree

                ڤ b) Agree

                ڤ c) Disagree

                ڤ d) Strongly disagree

                ڤ e) No opinion


13           As a result of this course

                ڤ a) I am confident in the use of subject area vocabularies/terminologies

                ڤ b) I have acquired skills that improved my ability to solve problems

                ڤ c) I have improved my writing skills

                ڤ d) All of above

                ڤ e) None of above


14.          Overall, I considered this course to be useful to me and will recommend it to other students.

                ڤ a) Strongly agree

                ڤ b) Agree

                ڤ c) Disagree

                ڤ d) Strongly disagree

                ڤ e) No opinion


15.          Comments/suggestions that may be useful in helping the professor to improve his teaching              delivery and students’ understanding:………………………………………………………         






Thank you for your participation!