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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

SOAN 2120 Jan 7 Lecture #1 Lead and Intelligence Needleman Case  Late 60‘s – early seventies: research on exposure to lead  1991: policies around polluters  Doubts were raised about conduct and earlier research  Researchers excluded some of those that were tested  1975: Collected teeth from 3,329 first and second-graders  270 of the most likely subjects  58 high lead children  100 low lead children  Randomness is not available  Did they select individuals based on the desired results?  Brought up on charges of academic misconduct/improper research methods  May 1992: absolved of misconduct, however; hearing board found that Needleman misrepresented his procedures – possibly to ensure publication  Republished paper to show accurate procedures *Science allows change (hold theories to be true until something else proves it wrong)  As researchers, we should doubt our own findings, as well as the findings of others. How do we know what we know?  Direct Knowledge: experience and observation  Indirect Knowledge: tradition and authority  Consensus does not always mean reality  Many things cannot be experienced directly  If we choose not to question knowledge, we may be holding on to falsity th Jan 9 Lecture #2 Common Errors of Human Inquiry and Possible Safeguards  Inaccurate observations (eye witness)  Define how this observation should be made  More precise and deliberate  Overgeneralization  Makes sense evolutionary wise  Use larger samples  Replications  Number of studies  Selective Observation  Tend to observe certain things more often, while ignoring other sources  Paying attention to confirmed observations, ignoring the non-confirmed  Look at things that do not fit the general pattern  Good, detailed field notes  Illogical Reasoning  Reaching a conclusion that is illogical  Gambler‘s Fallacy  Come to conclusions that use systems of logic Assertion, Authority and Evidence:  Claims and Causations -e.g lead exposure causes reduced intelligence. -Accept? Reject?  Need support -Evidence -Authority, Expertise, or Rank of Source Taking Something on Faith  Church of Galileo‘s day  Geocentric Model  Galileo Published  Dialogue on the Two Principal World Systems  Supported Heliocentric Model  Had social and political consequences (thou hast fixed the earth..)  Law of Motion  1500-1600 refracting telescope (destroyed idea of perfect geometry of the universe: 1. Spots on the Sun 2. Mountains and seas on the Moon 3. Milky Way made up on many stars 4. Venus has phases, like the Moon (it is not always facing the sun) 5. Jupiter had Moons  1633-Trial  Forced to recant and imprisoned (later commuted to house arrest) –Book was banned  1757 – Church removed book from Index of Prohibited Books  1979 - Pope John Paul II  Called for re-examination of the Galileo case  Published secret archives –admitted judges were wrong What is Science? What does this imagined scientist look like? Where is this person working? What is this scientist doing?  Research and Observation (observing the world around them)  Ask questions that the everyday person isn‘t thinking about Jan 11 Lecture #3 WHAT IS SCIENCE? Science IS: - A set of logical and empirical methods (e.g. drawing inferences or deductions from hypotheses) - Systematic observation, experimentation, rigorous methodology - Replication - Impersonal/objective - Epistemology: the science of knowing Drawing from last class: therefore, a scientist is (obviously...) not determined by how they look, but rather how they behave We may feel like we‘re doing something scientific, but in reality we may just be making assumptions Sound logic system in place + proper observations This way, we can categorize/measure things properly to arrive at proper conclusions Three major aspects to social sciences: 1. Theory We begin with a theory to be tested 2. Data Collection We go out and take a measurement 3. Data Analysis We analyze the data we‘ve collected Pseudoscience IS: - A set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not - Based on authority or sacred text, myths, legends - Can‘t be tested; illogical reasoning - Often supported by selective use of anecdotes and intuition SOME DIALECTICS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH Quantitative Approaches - Objective verifiable, controlled observations and precise communications - Deductive process beginning with a general theory + a theoretical expected pattern - We conduct a study that will test whether the expected pattern occurs - We come up with a conclusion then test if it is correct (i.e. observe the sun comes up every morning for a month, then conclude that it will come up every day) Qualitative Approaches - Explanations and descriptions - Inductive process - From particular to a general statement - Painstaking analysis of documents - Lengthy participation in a group - We observe, then come up with a conclusion Nomothetic Explanations - Explains a case of situations rather than a single one - Causal variables - Probabilistic in nature - Naming a few considerations seldom provides a complete explanation - Specific aspect of behaviour - Aggregate data (a lot of information being brought into a case; i.e. compiling the median, the mode, the mean) - Idiographic Explanations - Meaning ―unique‖ - Inductive (more qualitative) and Deductive (more quantitative) Theory - Tries to fully understand the cause of what happens in a particular case INDUCTION AND DEDUCTION: LINKING THEORY AND RESEARCH Deduction: testing theories or testing hypothesis - Theory is used to generate ideas about behaviour  research produces evidence for testing theories Induction: generating hypothesis - Observations/empirical data used to construct theory  derive theories from data The scientific process involves an alternation of deduction and induction Induction and Deduction graph: All rosebushes have thorns Deduction Induction Predicted observations Actual Observations i.e. If I check my neighbour’s rosebushes, i.e. I notice that the five rosebushes I should find that they all have thorns in my backyard; all have thorns THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD The scientific method requires three attitudes: 1. Curiosity the motivating force behind scientific inquiry 2. Skepticism means not taking things for granted 3. Critical thinkingis productive and creative - Don‘t want to be cynics, but we want to be skeptics - Is our logic sound? Do we have a good process for analysing our data? - Is it developed in a way in which others will agree with us? If not, then we must explain why in orde
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