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Introductory Methods Review.doc

10 Pages

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
D Walters

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Introductory Methods Review Lectures What is social science?-The study of the influence the environment has on people as individuals or groups. E.g trading places. -3 paradigms are conflict theory, structural functionalism and symbolic interactionism. These perspectives are important because they help you learn more about yourself and people, but contemporary theorists now value research more. -Founding fathers are Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim. Conflict Theory-Looks at conflict among conflicting groups, mostly discussed in class struggles. The ultimate result is to have total equality of everyone. Structural Functionalism-Everything in society serves a specific function, if something no longer has a function by consensus people will rule it out. Not everyone should be equal but they should have the same opportunities to be equal. Symbolic Interactionism- Abstract and focuses more on an individual level. Looks at the meanings behind peoples behaviour and peoples perceptions of reality. Qualitative. Theory-General assertion/claim about something. Then we need a hypothesis. E.g. Students from Guelph are smarter than students from other universities. Quantitative-Modes in which to acquire data are experiments or survey research. Experimental Designs-Controlled environment modeled after the natural sciences. 3stages, Pretest (often irrelevant), Treatment (Apply the experiment to one thing/group), Posttest (results we get that we can compare). e.g. Theory-Drug reduces cancer cells Hypothesis-Cancer cells exposed to the drug will deteriorate. Pretest-measure size of cells Treatment-Put some cells is 1 dish, more in another, apply treatment to one cell. Cover dishes to prove nothing else has influenced the cells. Posttest-Measure size of cells again and see that the treatment one has gone smaller. Conclusion-does reduce cancer cells; controlled experiment. Social experiement-60s psychological experiment on feelings of happiness. Have 3 groups, MPT, SC and control group. Theory-MPT and SC increase happiness Hypothesis-Groups 1 and 2 will be happier than group 3 Pretest- see how happy they feel in a 5min period Treatment- Administer MPT, SC and water Posttest- See how happy they were in a 5 min period. Survey Research-Most research by sociologists and psychologists is surveys -No manipulation of subjects, popular methods are by phone, mail, personal interview, internet etc. Each person on the survey represents a variable. -Advantages-Tap into attitudes, easy to administer to large numbers of people, very generalizable to the population. -Disadvantages-Lack of control, e.g. people are already in the groups you didnt put them there. Variable-Anything that varies; has more than one category. E.g. you ask a question and there is more than 1 possible answer, question is a variable. Quantitative variable-Continuous (can be ranked), numerical. Helps in assessing relationships (correlations). E.g. Education (years of schooling) vs. income (dollars) Categorical (Qualitative) Variable-No rank order and non-numerical. E.g., religion. Independent Variable-Causal variablescome first Dependant variable-Effect variabledepends on the independent. Correlation-shows how 2 variables are related. Plotted on a scatter plot where each dot represents a particular person. Positive-One value increases the other increases Negative-One value increases the other decreases Line-No correlation, the 2 variables are unrelated. Scatter plots-Important when exploring a relationship between 2 variables. Helps us identify problem cases, form of the relationship, estimate strength of relationship. Correlation Coefficient- Can only be used when relationship is linear. It tells us the strength of the relationship and the direction but does not tell us the slope of a line. Shown as r= - -1 (perfect negative relationship), +1 (perfect positive relationship), 0 (no relationship) Outliers-represent a-typical observations you wouldnt normally see. 1 spot or person that doesnt fit with the general correlation. Can either accept it as an unusual part of the data and leave it in, may be a coding error so check figures, you may want to remove it at your discretion (usually smaller samples). Issue of Causality-Correlation doesnt mean causation. We infer a causal relationship based on our understanding of the temporal relationships between variables (what occurs in time first) Assigning causal order-Can be problematic because A could cause B, B could cause A or a third external factor could cause both. Only an issue with cross-sectional studies. Can be helped by doing extensive research and good theorizing. Spurious relationship-Two variables that are seemingly related are actually controlled by a third unknown variable. Is relationship significant?-Check line of best fit and the scattering of plots. Higher the correlation the stronger the relationship. -Check likelihood/probability in the form of p-values Common p-value thresholds- p=.05, 95% confident variables are related P=.01, 99% confident the variables are related, p=.001, 99.9% confident variables are related. Stats vs. Maths-Never use the word prove because the sample could just be bizarre, things arent proven just demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. Looks just at relationships and estimate of the population. Statistical Control-not as good as experimental control (this is the goal). Question if we have controlled for everythingvirtually impossible to control for everything. Regression Analysis-Deciding whether or not the effect of an independent variable on a dependant variable is statistically significant, while holding other variables constant.Qualitative Research-Do not generate theories, but, test theories using methods. -Non-linear process often move between stages of creating a theory and changing the theory. -Most preferred as it discusses sensitive issues, establishes rapport with participants (trust) and you are not restricted by a research agenda. Much more open. -doesnt use statistics. -Methods are qualitative interviews and participant observation. Qualitative Interviews-Open ended questions which allows for a variety of answers, respondents own words. Research then has opportunity to probe because of trust, lets research explore different areas and can be done anywhere. Advantages-Provide rich, descriptive, detailed information, sensitive topics. Disadvantages-Time consuming, expensive, depends on the effectiveness of the researcher. Participant Observation-Observe and participate with people in their natural setting. Grounded theory-Theories are grounded in the data they collect, very exploratory with no variables. Study the group with no pre-determined theories. Strengths-Usually more fascinating groups, usually go in with little knowledge so no assumptions. More valid because its more thorough. More generalizable to the real world (that group only!) Limitations-More subjective (based on researchers pov), difficult to generalize beyond the group you observed. Quantitative vs. Qualitative-Quantitative tests theories, objective, free from bias, reliable, but is less thorough and less valuable to sensitive issues. -Qualitative creates theories,
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