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Lecture 1 - Jan. 10, 2013.docx

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Ivanka Knezevic

Sociology as a Science - Characteristics of a science: o Knowledge is based on facts o Facts are part of the real world and can be observed o Scientists can make „objective‟ observations o Scientific truths, achieved by use of scientific methods, reflect the real world better than other kinds of knowledge because science is less objective than other kinds of knowledge - Our past experience creates a perceptual bias (remember the role of values in sociology) - Objectivity is achieved by testing theories against systematically collected data and by leaving research open to public scrutiny Operationalization: the link between theory and research - Theory is a tentative explanation of social phenomenon - It expresses relationships between concepts - Aristotle: “Concept is a thought about the essence of that whereof we are thinking.” - Operationalization is the process of translating theories and concepts (abstract ideas) into hypotheses and variables (ideas about concrete, observable phenomena) - It is the link between theory and research - Research: collecting and analyzing observations of relevant phenomena Variables - Concepts cannot be observed directly, but their indicators/measures can - Variable is an observable phenomenon (an indicator/measure of a concept) that can assume different values - Example: class Hypotheses - Hypotheses is a testable claim (expectation) about an observable phenomenon based on theory - It is a link between a specific theory and specific research - A hypothesis usually expresses a relationship of variables - In a cause-and-effect relationship: o The independent variable is the presumed cause; o The dependent variable is the presumed effect Methodological issues: validity - Precision in measurement: does the indicator measure the concept accurately? -
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