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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - February 3rd.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 2Z03
Professor
Gerald Bierling
Semester
Winter

Description
Lecture 8 – February 3   • The Logic of Nomothetic Explanation o Goal: to identify factors that can account for many of the variations in a given  phenomenon  Trying to identify casual factors to help explain variation  I.e., establishing causality  Does place of residence influence attitudes?  o Criteria for establishing casual relationships:  1. The variables must be correlated  Correlation – an empirical relationship between two variables; changes  in one are associated with changes in the other, or particular attributes in  one are associated with particular attributes in the other   E.g., people in rural areas are more likely to oppose same­sex marriage  than people in urban areas   2. The cause takes place before the effect   Whether we can make a case that cause comes before the effect  E.g., do people form their attitudes after living somewhere?   Example: place of residence may be associated with attitudes but people  might have these attitudes before living there  3. The relationship is non spurious  Spurious relationship – a coincidental statistical correlation between two  variables that is caused by some third variable  E.g., does religiosity make the relationship disappear?  Different outcomes that can occur when introducing third variables into  the analysis o To test a hypothesis  Specify variables you think are related   Specify measurements of variables   Hypothesize correlation, strength of relationship, statistical significant  I.e., more education equals more income  How strongly or weakly these variables are related  Specify tests for spuriousness  o False Criteria for nomothetic causality  Complete causation – we usually end up with incomplete and probabilistic  explanations  Never 100% certain about conclusions  Exceptional Cases – doesn’t disconfirm a causal relationship   Example: relationship of wealth of countries and health incomes; higher  the level of wealth, the better the health outcomes. Longer the life  expectancy. However some poor countries had better health outcomes  than their wealth would have predicted.  Majority of Cases – even if a relationship doesn’t apply to most cases, it can still  be considered causal  • Necessary and sufficient causes o A necessary cause represents a condition that must be
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