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Lecture 6

2Z03 Lecture 6 "Elements of Social Theory".docx

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Gerald Bierling

Fox 1 Lecture 6 SOCIOL 2Z03 Wednesday January 22, 2014  Elements of Social Theory: Example #1: • Observation: Collection of electoral behavior data • Fact: Conservatives won the last federal election • Laws: “People vote with their wallets” • Theory: People engage in retrospective and prospective economic evaluations • Concepts: Retrospective and prospective evaluations • Variables: Opinion of economy over past year; expectations of economic growth; vote choice  Example #2: • Observation: Collection of information on civil unrest in the middle East • Fact: A number of countries in the middle East have experienced civil/political unrest in the past few years • Laws: Civil unrest occurs in situation of economic and political inequality • Theory: Resource Mobilization Theory (theories help guide the process because they point us towards certain explanations that we might want to test/explore further) • Concepts: Inequality, resources • Variables: Access to resources (ability to spread ideas and forge social ties); riots, protests, etc.,  Elements of Social Theory: • Hypothesis: A specific, testable expectation about the empirical reality that follows from a more general proposition o Based on theory and results of previous research o States a relationship between two (or more) variables o (Quantitative) research is focused on accepting or rejecting the null hypothesis o Normally indicates the direction of the relationship-ie. as one variable increases the other decreases o Doesn’t
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