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Lecture 4

2Z03 Lecture 4 "Concepts & Variables".docx

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Gerald Bierling

Fox 1 Lecture 4 SOCIOL 2Z03 Wednesday January 15, 2014  Concepts & Variables • Keep in mind that it is not always clear what variables and attributes best represent/measure our concepts  Ex: religiosity • Attendance at place of worship? • Financial contributions • Reading of religious texts? o This is especially a problem in social science, where it is difficult to define the things in which we are interested ex=inequality, justice, quality of life, social class, etc o As social scientists, we are interested in whether or not there is a relationship between our concepts (as measured by our variables)  Ex: does education influence prejudice? o Education and Prejudice (N=20) Prejudiced (educated=60% uneducated 60%) Not Prejudice (educated 40% uneducated 40%)=non statistically significant relationship o Other ex= Prejudiced: educated 30% uneducated 90% Not prejudiced: educated: 70% uneducated 10%  relationship is statistically significant o Rarely will find perfect relationships between variables* • Independent Variable (IV or X) – a variable with values that are not problematic in an analysis, but are taken as simply given; hypothesized to influence something else/education would be the independent variable/influences level of prejudice • Dependant Variable DV or Y) – a variable assumed to depend on, or be caused by, another variable (x)/outcome/prejudice is the y variable • Logic/theory often helps sort out which is X and Y  ex: education and prejudice; age and crime • But in Social science it is not always clear which is the independent and which is the dependant variable  wealth and democracy  The Purposes of Social Research: • Exploratory: usually done at the beginning of a project, to explore the challenges/opportunities for further study • Descriptive: simply describing social phenomena
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