Methods of Social Research is an easy class. But, Jacob Boersema turned out to be one of the most unorganized, and quite frankly most unprofessional professor I have ever dealt with at Columbia. I don't think there was one lecture that he wasn't late to, and the way he organized the workload didn't make any sense. The class is interesting and explores exactly what the title of the course is-- The Methods of Social Research. Professor Boersema basically uses the class as a means for conducting his own research. The workload is a series of projects in which you are observing and researching the gentrification of Harlem. (This may change every year depending on his own agenda) The projects were easy, but also very time consuming. You are split up into groups for most of them which makes it a little bit easier. The main reason I am writing this review is to warn those who take the course, that Professor Boersema lacks communication skills and organization. In several instances, he would change Syllabus policies, due dates, etc. and forget what he said, rebuke his claim and would get frustrated with the entire class. One of his projects was to conduct a 45 minute to an hour interview with a Harlem shop owner, with a weeks notice before the due date, and we were to record it, transcribe it and write a paper on it. It was rather unrealistic because small business owners don't have time to do that. In lecture nearly 80 of us discussed the problem with JB that no one could even get an interview lined up in the timeframe and he became frustrated with the class, and the students became frustrated with him. Long story short people ended up turning in the project up to two to three weeks after it was assigned and it was a scattered mess. I also had an experience of one of my take home final getting lost somehow after turning it in to the dropbox, and I was notified by Jacob a week after school ended. He made it sound like I was in jeopardy of failing, even though I explained that I dropped it off, and that he could see that the final was turned in electronically on time in courseworks. He was just plain rude about the mishap even though it was totally out of my control. After him ignoring my final emails leaving me guessing whether i would fail, I ended up fine. He also tried to send two of my group members to judicial affairs for plagiarism on a take home final that was based off of our experience in the class that consisted mainly of group research (of course their answers are going to be similar) they both were ignored and left to wonder if they were going to fail the class but ended up getting A's.
I would say take the class to get an easy A, but be careful of Jacob Boersema and try to over communicate so there is no grey area where you can get screwed over. (But do it in person because he doesn't like to respond to emails from his undergrad research slaves)