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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

Week 1 th MONDAY JANUARY 7 Midterm 1- Ch. 1-5 Wed Feb. 27- M1 Lead and Intelligence: -The Needleman Case 1975- Collected teeth from 3329 first and second grade children 270 of the most likely subjects 58 high lead children 100 low lead children How do we know what we know? Direct Knowledge: · Experience (burn hand on a hot pot) · Observation (watching flies) Indirect Knowledge: · Tradition · Authority (trusting the judgement of someone in a field however, some can misuse their authority and make mistakes) If we don‟t question knowledge we won‟t get anywhere WEDNESDAY JANUARY 9th Common errors of Human Inquiry and Possible Safeguards  Inaccurate observation  As a human being, we are only able to grasp a small snap shot of situations.  Overgeneralization  We assume a few things are evident in a general pattern  Evolutionary  Selective observation  We tend to observe some things more often then we would  We are using to explain a specific phenomenon when you don‟t observe other situations.  Illogical reasoning  Reaching a conclusion through means that are not logical o Qualitative Data- making sure you have logical reasoning to make up your analysis Assertion, Authority, and Evidence:  Claims about causation  E.g. lead exposure causes reduced intelligence o Show me the evidence?  Accept? Reject? o 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 principle world systems” o Supported heliocentric Model  The sun is in the center of the universe  1633- Trial o forced to recant and imprisoned (later commuted to house arrest) – book was banned  1757 o Church removed book from index of prohibited books  1979- Pope John Paul II o called for a reexamination of the Galileo case  published secret archives- admitted judges were wrong Heliocentric model  Social and political consequences  Questioned the authority of elder men in ancient worlds. 5 dimensions: 1) Sun 2) the moon, they thought had seas, but we really craters 3) Milky way 4) Venus has phases like the moon 5) Jupiter had moons,, not everything orbited the earth What is Science?  Take a moment& imagine, as vividly as you can a scientist at work?  What does this imagined scientist look like?  Where is this person working?  What is the scientist doing? th FRIDAY JANUARY 11 What is Science? Science is:  A set of logical & empirical methods (e.g., drawing references or deductions from hypothesis)  Systematic observation, experimentation, rigorous methodology  Replication  Impersonal/objective  Epistomology: the science of knowing 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 The foundations of Social Science  The TWO pillars of science are a. logic and b. observation  The major aspects of social science are o -theory o -data collection o -data analysis Some Dialectics of Social Research  Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches  Nomothetic and Idiographic Explanations  Inductive and Deductive Theory Evidence  Quantitative Evidence o Objective o Verifiable o Controlled observations o Precise communication  Qualitative Evidence (inductive process) o Explanations and descriptions o Painstaking analysis of documents o Lengthy participation in a group Induction and Deduction: Linking theory and research  Deduction: testing theories or testing hypothesis o Theory is used to generate ideas about behaviour -> research produces evidence for testing theories  Induction: generating hypothesis o Observations/empirical data used to construct theory ->derive theories from data  The scientific process involves an alternation of deduction and induction The Scientific Method  The scientific method provides three attitudes:  Curiosity is the motivating force behind scientific inquiry.  Skepticism means not taking things for granted  Critical thinking is productive and creating Three Views of Reality  Premodern view  Modern View o There is a reality but we always observe it differently  Postmodern view o No reality is real, reality is what we perceive it to be…very subjective views. Positivism  Philosophy o Auguste comte o Rejects speculation o Emphasizes positive facts o Scientific knowledge is only true knowledge o Test theories  Fit the facts observed o Note: many critics and is not only way to look at research 3 main activities in social science 1. tentative explanation (theory) 2. observing (experiment / data collection) 3. testing rival views against data (examination of data) Cholera (London 1848- 1854) John Snow  1848 published a pamphlet “on the mode of communication of Cholera” o suggested it was transmitted via food or water o Opposition- it was thought to be caused by contaminated vapors (bad air) o Made the connection that if it was air bourne, then the nurses and doctors should be the first people that are wiped out… Week 2 MONDAY JANUARY 14 Positivism  Assumes a sharp distinction between theory and research o Elements of both deduction and induction o Science must be conducted in a way that is value free Interpretivism  Subjective meaning of people‟s actions o Alternate view of social science often viewed from positivists. o More of an interpretive type Where do research ideas come from?  Theory  Life experience  Relating theory to data Other Source  Personal interests and curiosity  Casual observation  Practical problems or questions  Vague and fleeting thoughts  Reading reports of others‟ observations Finding and Using background literature  Primary sources – are first hand reports of observations or research results that are written by the individual(s) who actually conducted the research and made the observations  Secondary sources- are a description or summary of another person‟s work. A secondary source is written by someone who did not participate in the research or observations being discussed. Social Scientists  Qualitative social scientist o Lengthily field study o Intensive case analysis o In-depth interviews  Quantitate Social Scientist o Identify various hypotheses  Test hypotheses o Generalizations Evidence  Quantitative Evidence o Objective o Verifiable o Controlled observations o Precise communication  Qualitative Evidence o Explanations and descriptions o Painstaking analysis of documents o Lengthy participation in a group Theory Construction  Deductive o Specify topic o Specify range o Identify concepts/variables o Find known relationships o Reason logically o (quantitative)  Inductive o Build theories based on observing aspects of social life and then seeking to discover patterns. Paradigms  Fundamental frames of reference used to organize observations  Underlie different sets of theories and explanations  Collections of theories which share common underlying assumptions, values and views of social reality An un-kuhnian social science?  Thomas Kuhn : “The structure of scientific revolutions” (1962) o Science does not progress via a linear accumulation of new knowledge, but undergoes periodic revolutions called “Paradigm shifts” o Revolutionary „Science‟  Pre- science -> normal science -> crisis -> new paradigm  In social science they are not displaced by new ones o A variety of paradigms that deal with similar social phenomena coexist with one another  Social science is then un-Kuhnian Paradigms  Social paradigms are neither true nor false o They just suggest a different understanding of the world, comprise of different kinds of theories, and inspire different kinds of research  Some paradigms focuse their attention on aggregate numbers of individuals and sociary at large  macro theoretical o Others take a more individual approach to social life  micro theoretical Conflict Paradigm  Macro theoretical approach  Social behaviour and human history is the process called conflict o The attempt to hold power and dominate other while avoiding being dominated  E.g., Marx, Weber, Collins
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