Sociology as a Science
Characteristics of science:
Knowledge is based on facts
Facts are port of the real world and can be observed.
Scientisits can make ‘objective’ observations
Scientific truths, achieved by use of scientific methods, reflect the real world better than other
kinds of knowledge because science is less subjective 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 phenomena.
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 analysing observations of relevant phenomena
Concepts cannot be observed directly. But their indicators/measures can.
Variable is an observable phenomenon (an indicator / measure of a concept) that can assume
Hypothesis is a testable claim (expectation) about an observable phenomenon, based on a
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-
The independent variable is the presumed cause
The dependent variable is the presumed effect Methodological issues: validity
Precision in measurement: does the indicator measure the concept accurately?
Conceptual validity: the measurement corresponds