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SOCY 210 research methods exam.docx
SOCY 210 research methods exam.docx

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Queen's University
SOCY 210
Vincent F Sacco

Social Research Methods Review Unit 1  Setting up the premise that scientific understanding is only one type of understanding, and it generally comes to use through other forms of knowledge like authority, traditions and common sense  When people tell us proverbs, they are meant to be a little bit of caution that rest on little empirical knowledge.  There is no evidence of their truth, but people just assume they are true  What is wrong with traditional knowledge is that it is not consistent Variables  In the simplest language, variables represent the operation of concepts  Variable represent the way in which we take concepts and transform them into empirically observable measures  Something that is capable of having different values for different people  A classification of related kinds of measures, that is used to described the member of a sample along some kind of particular dimension  Concepts that can be operationalized and measured  BUT what explains the variations, and variables represent what we are trying to explain  Theory is concentered with explanation, and it takes from of establishing relationships between concepts  As sociologist we conceptualize the world in certain way; so concepts are the way in which we understand the way in which the world works Attributes  Attributes represent the individual categories that make that variable up  If gender is a variable; male and female are attributes How can they be mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive?  The attributes must allow for the possibility of categorizing every single case that we categorize and that they must not be put in more that one category  Jointly exhaustive, no matter their age you can be put into the categories of under 25, 26-50, 51 and over It also must be the case that people can be put into two categories they must be mutually exclusive  So 25 and under, 25-50, 50 and over  So in order for them to be mutually exclusive, they must not overlap Causality  Cause and effect, changing one thing with change the other  In order for there to be causality, there must be a consistent relationship between the two  There has to be a temporal requires, causes must come before the effect  There is a temporal order  We would have to be able to rule out spuriousness of the variables Independent and Dependent variable  The dependent variable is effective on the independent variable  For example hours of watching TV is the independent variable and mark on a test is the dependent variable  A variable is independent or dependent only within the course of a situation  For example Grade on a test could be the independent variable to a child’s curfew/bed-time Ideographic and nomothetic  Ideographic research is focused on the intense study of a single case  The Holocaust vs. Genocide  Studying the Holocaust is ideographic, studying genocide is nomothetic  Nomothetic research attempts to examine a large number of cases and explain them with a small number of variables  Collecting data on a series of similar events that happened around the same time, and try to explain why and how they varied through focusing out attention a select few variables Deduction and induction  The research process goes back and forth between the development of theories and the testing of them, and the refinement of these theories  We go out and find information out, we than go back to the question and refine it, and create a cycle  When we talk about inductive research, it typically starts with a vague statement than goes out and looks at it, and than creates a more generalized arguments Qualitative and quantitative  A way research is done, and what it is able to tell us  Research that explains phenomena to us in statistical form is quantitative  Research that explains the world to us through narratives is qualitative  The point is to understand how people think of the world in a certain way  There tends to be a divide in sociology about qualitative vs. quantitative work Dummy Variables  Refer to note Spuriousness  We are fooled into thinking two things are related, only because they are both related to some other thing.  Some examples could lead you into thinking some bizarre conclusions ex. Ice cream sales and drowning  As ice cream sales go up, so do drowning rates  When in reality is that ice cream sales go up in the summer, and more people go swimming in the summer Birth Rates by Number Number of Storks of Storks Birth Rate Few Many High 44% 62% Low 56 38 Total 100 100  This shows that where there are lots of storks, there are more communities with high birth rate  But realistically, they are both related to how rural or none rural the county is Location Birth Rate Rural District Towns Few Many Few Many High Low Total Cronbacs Alpha A measure of reliability, and you use it with a scale or index  An index has a bunch of items that we add up  A scales has a bunch of items that we weigh before adding up  What determines how big it is, is how many items in the scale and the correlation between the items  There are no negative values, and the higher the levels the higher the reliability Males Major Attitude to Arts Science abortion Positive 45% 35% Negative 55 65 Total 100 100 Females Major Attitude to Arts Science abortion Positive 60% 25% Negative 40 75 Total 100 100 September 11, 2013 Introduction the research process  How do we know what we know?  We know because we have gone into the empirical world, and done research and discovered things  How much confidence can we have in what we know?  An examination of “best practice”  Our attention is limited to empirical questions  A question that has an answer that presumably qualified observers would agree Making sense of “empirical reality”  This simple claim raises a number of very complicated philosophical questions  What is reality (agreement, experiential), This is complicated question with no single answer  We are interested in assertions about reality, which have both logical and empirical support  What is empirical reality?  Our brains fool us, and mess with us  Sometime the line of empirical reality is blurry  Can prayer cure heart disease?  We can contrast the ways of knowing emphasizes in this course (version of the scientific method) with more familiar ways of knowing  Tradition  Authority  Common sense Tradition  Information passed on through socialization  Acquired from culture, social institutions, common knowledge  Cumulative knowledge  Found in religious tracts, oral traditions, aphorisms  The problem with much traditional knowledge is easy to illustrate Authority  Comes from those who hold some status and supposedly by implication expertise  The importance of credentials  The importance of celebrity  Credentials and celebrity  Victims as authorities Common sense  Refers to what “everybody know” and what is self-validating  Common sense and anti-intellectualism as in common sense revolutions  An important role for sociologist has been debunking of common sense ex. Stouffer’s study of American Soldier  Better educated men showed more psycho=neurotic symptoms than those with less education  Men from rural back grounds in better spirits than those from cities  Those from southern climates better able to stand the head in South Sea Islands tan those northern climates  As long as fighting continued men we more anxious to return home that they were when the war ended  What was found that all of these “common sense” facts were false?  We believe that the solutions to social problems are common sense, however we have never solved any of them; whereas we solve natural science problems all the time September 14 2013 Common Errors of Human 
Inquiry 1. Inaccurate observation  Casual, semi-conscious observation à mistake  We may miss information – lose accuracy  We don’t always see things – do not notice unless disciplined  An impressive body of mainly social psychological evidence attests to our limitations in this respect (eg attention blindness, change blindness)  Inaccurate observation as an art form (Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions Macknik et al.  We can not have much confidence in unstructured environment 2. Overgeneralization Assuming that a few similar events are evidence of general pattern From experience From media portrayals you spend mostly all of your time with people very similar to you  that promotes the idea that your ideas are general ideas HOWEVER-- If you go outside of your bubble you will see this is not the case  Common Errors of Human 
Inquiry and Possible Safeguards 3. Selective Observation (confirmation bias)  Concentrating on observations that fit the pattern or theory we are using to explain a particular phenomenon, while ignoring other sources of data  Cold readers as an example  Comformation bias à the tendency to be more attentive to things we already believe then to things that we do not believe  less tuned into things we do not believe in photo à they claim they can talk to dead people  fraud  show more of the hits then the misses  we remember the things we think are true forget the others 4. Illogical Reasoning  Statistical regression towards the mean  Reaching a conclusion through means that are not logical e.g. Gamblers fallacy  the belief if in a series of events if a particular event occurs happens ie. 5 times then the other option must happen the 6th time  ALTHOUGH the 50/50 (flipping a coin) is independent of the pervious flips The Regression fallacy  If on a particular measure of something – you achieve an extreme score then the following will be closer to average  Ex. Crime rate is getting very very high in new york à so we do something about it (hire a lot more police) à then the crime goes down – this may not be because of the police – it may just be because the crime was at its highest point then started to generate towards the mean again  The “Sharpshooter Fallacy” – involves drawing the target after the shots have been fired rather than before. (Is there a dark side to OZ?)  We fire at the wall – then look at the target and see how we have to change  In general it seems we underestimate the role of coincidence (is there really a 27 Club?)  In short, we underestimate the role of coincidence in our lives…  The names Lincoln and Kennedy both contain exactly seven letters.  Lincoln was elected president in 1860. Exactly one hundred years later in 1960, Kennedy was elected president.  Both men were succeeded by vice-presidents named Johnson who were southern democrats and former senators.  Lincoln was killed in Ford's theater. Kennedy met his death while riding in a Lincoln convertible made by the Ford motor company.  Both men were assassinated on a Friday, in the presence of their wives.  Both presidents were killed by a bullet that entered the head from behind.  Both assassins were southerners who held extremist views.  Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and fled to a barn. Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and fled to a theater. The foundations of social research  The scientific enterprise consists of  Theory: an explanation—generalizable  Data Collection  Data Analysis  Theory: A systematic explanation for the observation that relate to a particular aspect of life, such as juvenile delinquency, gender, religion, family, social stratification, or the like Theory not philosophy of belief  Social theory: What is (de facto) and not what should be (de jure)  Sociological theory and social theory are NOT the same (normative theory)  how things should be  we have no mechanism of dealing with that Value-free (from Weber): Not valueless but, rather, not letting one’s own common world view, one’s personal values, distort one’s objectivity Social Regularities  Social research aims to find patterns of regularity in social life.  Contrast: Physics and sociology:  Physics: Much more constant (e.g., the Newton analysis of gravity)  Sociology: We are free agents and do many independent actions. Yet, a vast number of social norms in Canadian society create a considerable degree of regularity (e.g., we obey traffic laws, men tend to make more money than women).  We observe the social world – we look for patterns – real patetrns (observable) Aggregates, not indivduals Key: The subject matter is not the individual but the aggregate or collective behaviour of many individuals  Aggregate: Formed into a whole, a mass or sum, united, combined, total; an assemblage, a collection of distinct things  Example: The Canadian birth rate is an aggregate measure of births; individual women give birth for a variety of reasons; we study birth rates and not individual births  “I wonder why she did it” à but we are interested in the fact that the most people who commit crimes are young marginalized males  People along the same type of people commit murder and are the victims  SOCIAL FACTS à Durkhiem à a characteristic of an aggregate  Birth rate, or the rate of something  Can only characterize an aggregate  That country has a suicide rate We know the birthrate of an aggregate – we don’t know about any one individual in that group A variable language  We investigate classes or types of individuals—not individuals as a male politician—antifeminism is a variable.  The focus is on a variable (that class or type that varies across an aggregate).  Attributes: Characteristics of people or things: (male and female are attributes of the variable, gender)  Variables (1) : Logical groupings of attributes: Example: The variable gender is made up of the attributes male and female.  Variables (2): Are sets of related values or attributes  Variables are logically related to each other, and attributed to each other. Variable should contain attributes that are logically connected to each other  Gender (variable) Attribute (male)  Colour (variable) Attribute (purple)  A university class could be described in terms of the variable “gender” by observing that, for example, 60% of the class is male, while 40% is female.  Example: Two variables:  Prejudice (variable)  Prejudiced and not prejudiced (attributes)  Education (variable)  Being educated or not educated (attributes)  2 variables – what is the relationship between these variables  How do these two variables relate to one another  The top two à it looks as though educated people are less prejudiced  People with “x” characteristic also have “y” characteristic bottom panel  No correlation A variable language  If we have two variables, we are generally pretty sure that the variables have an effect on each other  Looking at education and prejudice, we say that the degree of prejudice somehow dependent on the level of education; making prejudice an independent variable  Education and Prejudice Education: An independent variable (we assume that the likelihood of being prejudiced is a result of [an effect of] education [a determinant, a factor])  Independent: A variable with values that are not problematical in an analysis, but are taken as a given. An independent (not depending on other causes) variable is presumed to cause or to determine a dependent variable.  Dependent: A variable assumed to depend on or be caused by another (called the independent variable)  What is the relationship of gender and fear of victimization? (Example)  Education and prejudice  (Independent) and (dependent)  prejudiced and discrimination  (independent) & (dependent) September 18, 2013 Some Dialectics of social research  Four broad and interrelated distinctions underlie the variety of research approaches  Dialectics refers to the tension between the following contrasts a. Idiographic and Nomothetic Explanation b. Inductive and Deductive Theory c. Quantitative and Qualitative Data d. Pure and Applied Research Induction and Deduction: Linking Theory and Research  Deduction: testing theories or testing hypothesis  Theory is used to generate ideas about behaviour  research produces evidence for testing theories  Inductions: generating hypothesis  Observations/empirical data used to construct theory  Derive theories from data  The scientific process involves an alternation of deduction and induction Nomothetic and Ideographic Models of Explanation  There is more that one way to look at a problem Idiographic  Idio: unique, separate; scope of explanation limited to a single case at hand  More exhaustive, contains a greater wealth of information  Tries to fully understand the cause of what happened in a particular instance/case  Qualitative data often lends itself for this kind of explanation ex. A study of a black hand crime wave Nomothetic  Explains a class of situations rather than a single one  Greatest amount of explanation with the fewest number of casual variables  Uncovers general patterns of cause and effect --. Model is inevitably probabilistic in its approach to causation  Quantitative and aggregate data is often more appropriate ex. Why do the police arrest some people and not others? The Holocaust is an example, because in order to understand the Holocaust, you have to study it. Others say that it is a type of genocide, and we can learn about it nomotheically if we look at a lot of genocides Quantitative and Qualitative Data  Contrast between quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (non numerical) Quantitative  Observation explicit  Easier to aggregate, to compare and summarize data  Potential for statistical analysis  Problem  Not in depth  Difficult to capture complex phenomena  What is the “real” meaning of a number?  The story of Ray Zhang who escaped from China in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations “You’ll probably agree that Ray is someone who seems to be “older than his years” and worldly in his experiences. Earl Babbie has a friend, Ray Zhang, who was responsible for communications at the 1989 freedom demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Following the military clampdown, Ray fled south but was arrested and then released with orders to return to Beijing. Instead, he escaped from China and made his way to Paris. Eventually, he went to the United States, where he resumed the graduate studies he had been forced to abandon in fleeing his homeland. Ray has had to deal with the difficulties of getting enrolled in school without any transcripts from China, studying in a foreign language, and meeting his financial needs, all on his own, half a world away from his family. Ray spoke often of one day returning to China to build a system of democracy. This qualitative description, while it fleshes out the meaning of the phrase, still does not equip us to say how much older or even to compare two people in these terms without the risk of disagreeing as to which one is more “worldly.”  He had to do to much to live in the Unites States and learned by being “older that his years” or being “worldly” Pure and Applied Research  From the classical theorist Auguste Comte and Karl Marx, a tradition of pure and applied research in sociology emerges  In current language it understands an application  Pure Research: In all scientific field, finds justification in Knowledge for knowledge’s sake  Applied Research: Puts knowledge of society into action for social changes; committed to having what is learned make a difference Theories and Paradigms  Theories are explanations intended to render meaningful observable empirical patters  Research both generates test and refines theories  Paradigms: collection of theories, which share common underling assumptions, values and views of social reality  Many theories can be located in this… for example the conflict paradigm includes all of the different individual conflict theory  Broad intellectual frameworks used to see how particular theories work and compare to each other  In social science new ones do not displace paradigms  A variety paradigms hat deal with similar social phenomena coexist with one another Sociology has been and will be multi paradigmatic September 20, 2013 Ethics and Social Research Origins of ethical principles for research with human  Ethical concerns in social scientific research gained importance after the 1950’s  Response to:  Medical experimentation on human subjects  Social science studies: Zimbardo and prison simulation, Milgram and obedience, Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade Origins  Began in the world wars specifically in Germany and Japan  However after the war it continue  In McGill in the 1950’s and 1060’s in the psychiatric hospital they were giving patients hallucinogens for CIA testing  They had other problems in the 1960’s where the hepatitis virus was given to mentally disabled children  Many vaccinations used to be given to inmates  Social science studies ethics began in the 1960’s Zimbardo and Prison simulation  Study prisons conditions in experimental designed  Used a basement in Stanford and made it into a prison  Had students sign up without them fully knowing what they were signed up for  He did a study of the students first to make sure they weren’t psychologically troubled  He had half the children guards, and half of them inmates  The study was supposed to go for 2 weeks, but was stopped after 6 days because it began to get violent  The issue was they didn’t fully know what the study consisted of, and they couldn’t leave Milgram and obedience  The researcher has significant control  Had individuals volunteer to participate in a study of learning  They were placed with another “volunteer” who was actually an experimenter  They had the research participant shock people to a painful amount (even though they were not really being shocked)  65% of the people administered deadly shocks  After the experiment he would tell the participant exactly what went on  People thought that is was unethical because they did not really know what they were doing, and was putting people in immense emotional stress Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade  He was interested in bathroom sex between men  He thought that these people were largely deviant or unemployed  He would watch and see if they had sex, and would than follow them, get their license plates, go to the police later, get their information and than interview these people a year later  He changed his appearance the next few times that he went to see these people  He than got permission to go to their homes, by saying it was part of a different health study  He found that most of the people engaging in this, were ordinary suburban men with families  Assisting criminal activity  Deception Privacy issues  Social security Why care about ethics?  Physical, psychological, legal and professional harm to participants  Funding opportunities tied to ethical standards  Scholarly publications  University ethics approval through Research Ethic Boards (RE’B’s)  Public humiliation—media attention  Lawyers and legal action Stance on ethics Universalism  The idea that ethics are black and white  Ethics are something you have or don’t have  Ethics must NEVER be broken  It is not a very popular stance, because many studies need some form of deception Banmanane—his personal memories of a ride opportunity and made a study out of them Situational ethics  Ethics have to be looked at on a case-by-case situation  They believe that the deception is needed to complete the experiment, which will be ultimately important information  Some experiments about more dangerous situations like crime, that is being studies and need some deception Ethical transgressions is pervasive  All research has some form of deception  Especially in field work, there is always a slight amount of deception to avoid the participants from lying Clear Prohibitions  There are many gray areas in ethics in which you must balance competing values; however, the community of researchers, codes of ethics, and sometimes the law recognize a few clear prohibitions:  New cause unnecessary or irreversible harm to research participants  Always get voluntary consent from research participants before study beings  Never unnecessarily humiliate of degrade research participants  Never release harmful information about specific individual collected for research purpose  Simple rule: Always who respect for he research participant Basic principles of ethical research  Voluntary participation  Informed consent: that they ACTUALLY know what they are getting involved with; all the risk, what the study is about, and that they understand everything  A statement that tells the participant what it is about  Avoid harm to participants  Physical harm: laboratory experiments  People with anxiety or emotional distress should be screened out if the experiment has a high stress level  Heart attacks  May need to terminate the study early if the reactions are too extreme  Avoid psychological distress  Piliavin—a researcher who conducted a study on subways  Researchers should try and anticipate what is going to happen  Legal harm—putting people at risk legally  Avoid use of deception unless necessary  Always a last resort  If it is possible to do the study without deceiving people, that is always the way to go  Deception is used when without it people would modify their behaviour  Covert research- when you don’t reveal your identity  Ensure privacy/protect identity  Confidentiality, anonymity  Consider vulnerable populations (children, emotionally frail, mentally disables, handicapped, victimized persons, homeless, prisons)  When researching vulnerable populations, the benefits to the scientific community must significantly outweigh potential harm to subjects Obtaining informed Consent  Informed consent statement contain:  Brief description of the purpose and research procedure, including how long he study will last  A statement of any risk or discomfort associated with participation  A guarantee of anonymity and the confidentiality of data records  Identification of who the researcher is an contact information for more information about the study  A statement that participation is voluntary and participants can withdraw at any time without penalty  A statement of any alternative procedures that may be used  A statement of any benefits or compensation that research participants may receive  An offer to provide a summary of the findings when the study is completed Avoid Harm to participants  Physical harm of bodily injury  Great emotional distress of psychological harm, stress, or loos of self-esteem  Legal harm and damage to a person’s career, reputation, or income Avoid use of Deception unless necessary  When is deception appropriate?  Strict limits:  Show that deception has a clear, specific methodological purpose  Use it only to the minimal degree necessary and for the shortest time  Obtain informed consent and do not misrepresent any risk  Always debrief (Ex. The actually conditions to participants afterwards) Privacy, Anonymity, and Confidentiality  Privacy takes 2 forms  Anonymity:  Means to remain nameless (anonymous)  No on can track information back to specific individual  Confidentiality  Allows you to attach the information to participate individuals, but you keep it secret from public disclosure  You only release data in a way that does not permit anyone else to link specific individuals to information. Present data in aggregate for (percentage, statistical means) Know the difference between the two  When would you have one of the other? Ethical Codes  Professional Associations have their own codes of ethics (CSAA, ASA) Tri-council policy (candian context)  Canadian councils joined together to create a policy concerning ethical standards  Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)  National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)  Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)  The Tri-Council policy statement called ethical conducts for research involving humans (TCPS) was created in 1998 and was revisited in 2010 Research ethics boards and the Tri-council policy statement  All colleges and universities have a research ethics board  The tri-council provides guidelines for these REBS  They first design a study, and than go to an ethics board to have it approved September 25, 2013  Voluntary Participation must have informed consent  Covert research, in field and qualitative research have unique ethical issues  Special populations: populations that tend to be vulnerable  Welfare recipients  People in jail  Those in psychiatric facilities  Targeted special groups  First Nations ex. Students may be coerced into doing studies because they don’t understand what is going on, and cannot really understand that they are allowed to refuse  Are some people more deserving of informed consent? Three key elements of the TCPS 1. Respect for person 2. Concern for welfare 3. Justice 2 New policy statements introduced in the TCPS 2  Two new policy statements concerning  Qualitative research  Research involving First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people of Canada The Ethical review process  Only after the research has gone through all the steps can the researcher go through with the experiment  If you do not listen and go through with it anyways, the funding for the researcher will be removed, and the researcher may be terminated  Typically when people do not get approved, they go back to their study and make changes Other ethical issues  Responsibility to research participants (beyond informed consent. Treatment of data and protection of privacy issue)  Incentives for participation (monetary and gift)  Responsibility to research assistants conducting interview  Checklist of ethical issues before going into the field to collect data  One of the key things is to create a checklist of the key things to keep in mind. 1. Have you protected the ethical requirements of the participants, including having clearance 2. Ensuring that there is not prospect of harm 3. Adequate informed consent 4. Privacy, how will you protect anonymity and confidentiality 5. How willy you make sure people are not identified Research fraud  Faking/inventing data  Shattered Glass  2003 American drama film written and directed by Billy Ray  The screenplay is based on a September Vanity Fair article by H.G. Bissinger Plagiarism  Stealing ideas or writing of another Some concerns about ethical review  Are we in the middle of a moral panic?  Ethic creep, because of mishaps we are crazy about ethics  Unsuitability of the science model  Impeding the research process  Because it is difficult to go through the ethics board, it may shape researchers agendas  Shaping the research agenda Finally a contextual issue: research on animal subjects  How different are the roles regarding other species?  How different should they be? Angel and Tweet Basic principles  Treat research participants with dignity and respect at all times  One ly deception if absolutely September 27 2013 Introduction  Scientific research is part of two topics; we try to observe what is around us, and try to interpret this  To go about this we start with some idea, and than choose an idea to best go about finding this information  By choosing the research you are doing, is not finding and coming up with the information yourself  Honest inquiry is not coming up with thesis that looks into a pre determine idea (I want to research why women are victimized more) what we should be saying is I want to research the impact of victimization of women compare to men  Central  Scientific inquiry comes down to making observations and interpreting what you have observed  Two key tasks: 1. Specify as clearly as possible what you want to find out 2. Determine the best way to do it Three different purposes of research a. Exploration  Helps researchers become familiar with specific topics  Often done when examining a new interest of subject  Typically done for three purposes 1. Satisfy curiosity and desire for better understanding 2. Test the feasibility of undertaking a more extensive study 3. Develop the methods to be used in a subsequence studies  Example of an interest in exploring a topic such as widespread taxpayer dissatisfaction: Let’s suppose that widespread taxpayer dissatisfaction with the government erupts into a taxpayers’ revolt. People begin refusing to pay their taxes, and they organize themselves around that issue. You might like to learn more about the movement: How widespread is it? What levels and degrees of support are there within the community? How is the movement organized? What kinds of people are active in it? You might undertake an exploratory study to obtain at least general answers to some of these questions. You might check figures with tax-collection officials, collect and study the literature of the movement, attend meetings, and interview leaders.  Exploring a topic that there is not much research about  Having a question that you know you want the answer to, but not even knowing how to get to the question b. Description  Repots on the characteristic of some population, situation or event  Answers the question of what, when, where, and how  No analysis or explanation od the phenomenon described  Common in ethnographic research and public opinion surveys  The Canadian census is an excellent example of descriptive social research. The goal of the census i
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