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Lecture notes for Jan 20th 2012

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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

thWednesday Jan 18Week 2 The Role of Theory in Science Theories seek to provide explanations for observed pattersSensorial Observations Identification of patterns Theory generation Hypothesis testingTheories are linked to the explanatory objective of scientific research ParadigmsFundamental frames of reference used to organize observationsUnderlie different sets of theories and explanationsCollection of theories which share common underlying assumptions values and views of social realitySocial paradigms are neither true nor false they just suggest a different understanding of the world comprise of different kinds of theories and inspire different kinds of researchSome paradigms focus their attention on aggregate numbers of individuals and society at large a leads to macrotheoratical Others take a more individual approach to social life and leads to microtheoreticalAN UnKuhnian Social ScienceThomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1962Science does not progress via a linear accumulation of new knowledge but undergoes periodic revolutions called paradigm shiftsRevolutionary science Prescience a normal science a crisis a new paradigmIn social science paradigms are not displaced by new ones A variety ofwith one another paradigms that deal with similar social phenomena coexistSocial science is then UnKuhnian approachPositivism Application of natural science methods to study social realityOnly regularities confirmed by the senses is genuine knowledgeKnowledge is arrived to by gathering facts which allow for generalizationsTheory yields testable hypotheses Science should be valuefree objectivityConflict ParadigmMacrotheoretical approach
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