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Lecture 3

POLS 2200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Empirical Evidence

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2200
Cindy Clarke

of 2
POLS 2200 Lecture 2
Packages of assumptions about how the world works
- Key actors you need to decide who they are (who is important)
- Processes
Economic Structuralism
How we view and understand the world, what we think reality is, how we see or understand
the essence of the world around us
Examples of Ontologies
- What can be seen, measured, counted, etc.
- There is no objective reality (everything is socially constructed, operate according to
subjective understandings of how the world works)
Reality is interpreted through us
- Gender norms
Act like a man (strong, brave, insensitive)
Act like a lady (appearances, cook & clean, etc.)
We act like these roles are natural, but in reality they are socially constructed and
we accept them as reality
How we approach the study of reality, how we understand it
Involves the ways and means by which we come to know something (or at least what we
think we know) about the world
Our approach to knowledge
- Objective reality classification,
- Positivism
Not only an objective reality, but one that we can measure
The old is out thee, sepaate fo the iee
Our human reality, because it is objective, it can be studied like biological and
human sciences
Universal laws about how the social world works
We can draw an analytical distinction between facts and values
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Regularities or patterns exist and can be identified in the social as well as the natural
The goal of social science is to make generalizable laws
Epiical alidatio o falsificatios is the hallak of eal iui
Know its limits so that you can specify the conditions in which it works and
does’t ok
Have to able to prove that it is wrong under certain conditions
Theory is a way of making the world or some part of the world more intelligible or
better understood. Theory is not a description
Parsimony, it is about simplifying. Understanding the phenomena around us
Theory involves explanation
Theory involves casual explanation
Establishing a link between two events
It should explain the laws under which something does or does not happen
Whe  the …
Refers to the modes or research and analysis or a set of rules for the actual
practice of investigating IR
How we conduct research, flows logically out of ontology
Positivists test hypotheses or they use causal modeling
Rely on observable, empirical and measurable data
They see the world as being governed by universal laws or patterns and seek to
discover these laws by testing hypotheses, using measurable data. The data can
be quantitative (such as statistics) or can be based on an in depth case study
(qualitative data)
4 underlying assumptions
Study society as we study the natural world
Draw a distinction analytically between facts and values
Regularities exist and can be identified in the social as well as the natural world
Empirical validation or falsification is the hallmark of real inquiry
- Subjective reality
No universal laws because we subjectively create reality
What are the social constructions that we create and abide by? And that can change
How do social constructions alter our behaviour?
Scholars from different perspectives can share the same ontology, epistemology, and
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