Research Interests

  • The scholarship of teaching and learning

Virtually all of my publications focus on aspects of the teaching and learning process. Over the years I have written numerous ancillary materials for instructors and students such as test banks, study guides, instructor manuals, course resources, and online chapter resources (See CV for more information). A couple of my recent books are highlighted in more detail below.

Symbaluk, Diane G. & Bereska, Tami M. (2016). Sociology in action: A         symbaluk and bereskaCanadian perspective (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education, Ltd. The main objectives of our textbook are to introduce you to sociology and to help you appreciate the importance of developing your sociological imagination so you can see how you influence and are influenced by society. By teaching you how sociology is related to your daily life, we hope to inspire you to promote social change in your personal life, in your community, in society more generally, and in the world at large.||138632387315118249271281598533281176784&N=197&Ntk=nelson%7C%7CP_EPI&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial

The book is divided into four parts:

Part 1: Practicing Sociology: Your Sociological Toolkit provides the reader with a framework for how to think sociologically. Chapter 1 explains why the sociological imagination is important—in the 21st century, perhaps more important than ever before—and outlines the tools that will help you build your own sociological imagination (i.e. empirical research methods; sociological theories; and critical thinking).Empirical research methods are presented in detail in Chapter 2. These methods help us move beyond common-sense ideas to appreciate the scientific nature of sociology as a discipline that provides answers to important questions.

Part 2: Society and the Self: The Foundations includes four chapters that constitute a foundation of sociology as a discipline. Chapter 3 highlights the cultural context of our social experiences, and outlines the basic components of culture. Chapter 4 addresses the role of socialization in the emergence of our own identities and the identities we ascribe to others, as well as the social structure within which socialization occurs. Chapter 5 discusses social inequality as a challenge for many people and as a stable feature of Canadian society. In the 21st century, the mass media serves as a central source of information, and have also come to play a central role in connecting members of society to one another. Consequently, a discussion of the mass media, including a critical look at the ways in which the media shape our perceptions, comprises Chapter 6 and concludes the foundations section of this textbook.

Part 3: The Micro and Macro of Our Everyday Experiences includes six chapters that focus on various aspects of students’ own experiences. Chapters 7 and 8 consider the implications of sex, gender, and sexualities, as well as ethnicity for who we are, who others say we are, and for larger consequences including socioeconomic status, discrimination, and family life. Chapter 9 helps us appreciate the influence, diversity, and changing nature of Canadian families. Chapter 10 focuses on the various ways we come to know what is “true”—through religion, science, and the modern education system—and the ways in which all three are socially constructed. Chapter 11 explores the myriad of ways that people (including ourselves) are subjected to measures of social control on a daily basis, such that we are identified as deviant—sometimes in non-criminal ways and at other times in criminal ways. Chapter 12 describes patterns of health and illness with an emphasis on both “lifestyle” factors and social determinants of health, as well as the prevention and treatment of illness within the broader context of health-care systems.

Part 4: Our Changing World, identifies the importance of collective action, social movements, and globalization for effecting widespread change. Chapter 13 discusses social change as brought about by various forms of collective behaviour and social movements. Chapter 14 focuses on environmental sociology as part of a global call to action on ecological issues. Chapter 15 describes historical precursors to globalization; outlines technological, economic, political, cultural, and social characteristics of globalization; and assesses the relative merits and drawbacks of globalization.

Symbaluk, Diane G. (2014). Research Methods: Exploring the social world. Whitby, ON: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. The purpose of this book is to introduce Canadian students attending colleges and symbaluk 2014universities to social research methods based on four underlying assumptions:

  1. Different research methods all have equal merit (no bias to qualitative or quantitative – the research questions determine the most appropriate methods used to study them).
  2. Engagement and understanding is enhanced through familiarity (everything is framed from within a Canadian context).
  3. Designing research with ethical forethought is paramount to research integrity.
  4. The best way to learn research skills is by practicing them.


PART 1: PREPARING FOR RESEARCH Considerations and processes that take place in the planning stage prior to the collection of data.

  • Chapter 1 is on research foundations (knowledge strategies, errors in reasoning, goals of social science, qualitative and quantitative approaches to research).
  • Chapter 2 details the importance of theory beginning (positivist, interpretive, critical and pragmatic paradigms, theoretical frameworks and theories, deductive and inductive forms of reasoning, literature searches, evaluating sources).
  • Chapter 3 introduces you to research ethics (historical examples, classic social science research examples, the core principles of the current Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS-2)).
  • Chapter 4 covers research design (conceptualization and operationalization processes, techniques used to assess reliability and validity, sources of measurement error, means for achieving rigour in qualitative research).
  • Chapter 5 is on sampling (probability versus non-probability based sampling methods).


With the who, what, where, when, and why components of research covered, part 2 centers on how to collect data using a variety of research methods beginning with quantitative approaches.

  • Chapter 6 is on experimental methods (causality, various experimental designs, and threats to internal and external validity).
  • Chapter 7 focuses on survey methods (methodological considerations that precede survey research, main survey methods, survey construction guidelines).
  • Chapter 8 introduces indirect methods (i.e., physical trace analysis, archival analysis, content analysis, and secondary analysis of existing data).
  • Chapter 9 moves into qualitative approaches (qualitative interviews and focus groups).
  • Chapter 10 is on ethnography (roles of ethnographers engaged in fieldwork, techniques used by ethnographers in order to blend into a group, ethical issues raised in fieldwork).
  • Chapter 11 examines the merit of including both qualitative and quantitative approaches within a single study (mixed-methods research designs and how researchers can combine multiple methods using case study research, evaluation research, and action research).


Finally, the book concludes with Chapter 12 on how to write research proposals and reports and an Appendix containing a sample research report.

  • Chapter 12 helps translate research ideas into research proposal and formal research reports.

The Appendix includes a research report written by a student in a third-year social research methods course.