FALL 2024

Perspectives in Social Science Analysis

MAPS 30000 Sections 7 & 8

Abstract, colorful geometric design

Course description

Perspectives in Social Science Analysis is an introduction to interdisciplinary social theory which aims to teach how to read social science research at the graduate level and develop the ability to formulate and execute a successful master’s thesis. After an introduction during orientation week, we devote 6 weeks of this course to learning 6 influential theories and approaches (in our words, “perspectives”) that social scientists use to understand the nature of social life and individual behavior. While the course does not provide a comprehensive overview of all perspectives in the social sciences, it is designed to stimulate thought about how standards of argumentation and evidence are applied in social science research. We read classic and contemporary social science research and discuss the perspective in seminar sessions, teaching how to “reverse engineer” texts to identify and analyze the authors’ theoretical and methodological choices. Developing these skills is critical to success in graduate courses and the M.A. research thesis. Our study of these 6 perspectives is intended to familiarize students with a broad range of ways that scholars study social life, an essential part of graduate education in the social sciences. The other three weeks of this course, interspersed throughout the quarter, are devoted to M.A. thesis preparation. Here students apply developing knowledge of social science research to begin formulating a thesis project. Written assignments provide opportunities to explore and analyze scholarship in students’ areas of research and develop a thesis proposal.


MAPSS core curriculum; seminar

Social science theory, research design


From Data to Manuscript in R (D2M)

CHDV 20550/30550, MACS 30550, MAPS 30550, PSYC 20550/30550

Grid of logos for tidyverse and other R packages.

Course description

This course tackles the basic skills needed to build an integrated research report with the R programming language. We will cover every step from data to manuscript including: Using R’s libraries to clean up and re-format messy datasets, preparing data sets for analysis, running statistical tools, generating clear and attractive figures and tables, and knitting those bits of code together with your manuscript writing. The result will be a reproducible, open-science friendly report that you can easily update after finishing data collection or receiving comments from readers. Never copy-paste your way through a table again! The R universe is large, so this course will focus specifically on: The core R libraries, the tidyverse library, and R Markdown. Students will also learn about the use of GitHub for version control.

Graduate, undergraduate

Elective lecture & workshop; MAPSS methods

Data wrangling, R language, quantitative methods, open science

Not scheduled

It Goes Without Saying: Conversation in Context

MAPS/EDSO 32700, PSYC 38826; CHDV/EDSO 22700

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Course description

Language enables humans to communicate infinitely complex ideas in neatly packaged strings of words, but these words are neither delivered nor received in a vacuum. In day-to-day conversation, the language we use is part of a larger interactive context. As speakers and signers, our bodies, faces, voices, and histories send messages above and beyond the words we choose. By broadening the scope of how we think about dialogue, we can examine conversation as a multifaceted event - where language is just one of many ways we communicate.

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of conversation to ask how identity, society, and the physical world allow us to make meaning from language. We discuss how the study of interactional context varies across linguistics, psychology, and sociology and think critically about the overlap and divergence we find across these perspectives. Over the quarter students build an interdisciplinary analysis of a single interaction by examining and reexamining data through lenses such as coordinated turn-taking, social distance, barriers to communication, and gesture.

Graduate, undergraduate

Elective seminar; Education & Society

Interdisciplinary, interaction, culture and context

Not scheduled

Comparative Human Development B.A. Honors

CHDV 298-29900

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Course description

Undergraduate students majoring in Comparative Human Development may apply to the departmental BA Honors program. In addition to maintaining high overall and major GPAs, Honors students complete a research thesis under supervision of a CHD faculty member. The thesis project should reflect original research of an empirical, scholarly, or theoretical nature and be rated as worth of honors from their CHD faculty advisor as well as a UChicago-affiliated second reader.

The CHDV 29800 Honors Seminar aims to help qualified students formulate a suitable proposal and find a CHDV faculty supervisor. Students eligible for program honors must take the Honors Seminar Spring Quarter of their third year. The CHDV 29900 Honors Preparation course aims to help students successfully complete work on their BA honors paper through data analysis and peer review. Students continue to complete data analysis and draft their theses throughout winter quarter. After submitting their final thesis in the spring of their fourth year, successful honors students present their work at the annual CHD Student Research Conference.


CHD B.A. Honors program requirement

Research design, qualitative and quantitative methods, academic writing

Not scheduled


SOSC 141-142-14300

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Course description

Mind explores subjective experience and behavior through the lens of underlying mental processes, biological mechanisms, and social context. Drawing from research in the social sciences and beyond, the course broadly considers how empirical approaches can shape our understanding of long-standing questions about human experience. Each quarter of Mind is taught by a different group of faculty, and the material in each quarter is arranged into a broad theme that makes connections across quarters. These themes vary from year to year.


Social sciences core

Psychology, cognitive science

Not scheduled

Introduction to Comparative Human Development

CHDV 20000; PSYC 20850

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Course description

This course introduces the study of lives in context. The nature of human development from infancy through old age is explored through theory and empirical findings from various disciplines. Readings and discussions emphasize the interrelations of biological, psychological, and sociocultural forces at different points of the life cycle.


Comparative Human Development core

Interdisciplinary, lifespan development, culture & society