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Lecture 1

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Jayne Baker

January 7, 2013 Introduction  Durkheim suicide- what we think of being individuals in society?; relationship between religion and suicide and coming up with theories on community solidarity (example of explanation- answering question of why people commit suicide)  Examples of social science research ; different kinds of research methodologies (surveys, polls, qualitative interviews, historical research) o Examples of how we see social science research in everyday life  Research is a foundation of what is done in sociology (i.e. found in books and scholarly journals)  Sociological research seen in social policy- i.e. 1990’s research on education found teachers giving more attention to boys than girls Purposes of Research  Exploration- curiosity, feasibility, develop methods o Centered usually on new subject of study or something that is new to researcher o Might be the first step in the research process o Rarely leads to definitive answers; might suggest answers but there are no absolute answers (more of a first step)  Description- more systematic, accurate and precise o Moving beyond preliminary understanding of exploratory research o Aim to more accurately and representatively find an answer o I.e. Canadian census – systematic numbers (specific and precise information)  Explanation- focused on “why” o Further step to explain the reasoning behind something o Focused in questions and methods o Sometimes have hypothesis that is tested o Finding the best methods to answer specific questions Research Cycle  Is a scientific approach  Different sources of knowledge  Authority- not always the best/reliable source of knowledge  Tradition- what everyone knows tends to change over time; not always most reliable  Common sense- everyday reasoning (“makes sense”)  Media myth- “if it bleeds it leads”; providing information that sells (not the best source of knowledge)  Personal experience-overgeneralization- one person’s experience can differ from another’s  Scientific- relying on data to confirm or to reject a theory  Data: information gathered through established rules or procedures (eliminates some issues associated with other types of knowledge) 1. Select a topic 2. Focus question 3. Design study 4. Collect data 5. Analyz
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