LECTURE 1.docx

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26 Apr 2012

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Modern world dominated by science and its child i.e. technology. Steve jobs was a technology guy;
technology comes from science; New Kids on the block- social science who have been around since 19th
century i.e sociology, economics, political sciene
Science- sociaologists knowledge of the world is gainted thru research i.e scientific methods. Scientific
approach can not answer all questions we have abt life indeed some of the most imp ones or existence;
science cant deal with these issues, can not handle ultimate questions(posted online); eg science can
not answer “is it possible to live a meaningful life?”;unmoved mover- first cause of the universe-.
Science cant give us an answer to that; questions on soul also reserved for religions or philosophy
Science deals with factual questions that are empirical questions that rep evidence and evidence is
obtained frm using the scientific methods.
Scientific methods brings facts to bear to answer; when science talks abt first cause of the universe eg
big bang theory; it can appeal to us.according to many physisicists, before the big bang, Steven Hawkins
nuthng existed prior to big bang. But its illogical to say that something comes from nothing so something
must hve existed prior to universe. Now religion says its first cause, or god.
If we ask what came before big bang, you have to employ religion; so god figures are existent in religion
and main creators of universe.
Empirical inquiry- based on evidence
Biggest prob of sociology is it experience/determines how we see reality; what patterns we see in the
world; experience here really by and large means culture.
Experiences in research:
Values determine wht problems you investigate so for eg if you are an occupy movement type, you will
use conflict theors- comes from mark and occupy types are left wing and Marxists; don’t lyk capitalism;
dunt lyk current system of economy; investigate inequality, exploitations, nastiness of the system we
live in.
Stage 2: if feminists you would deal with feminsts issues
Stage 3: use feminsits theorists ideas and that will afeect your research
Filtering- lack of objectivity; presence of bias; sociological research is not completely objective; there are
subjective elments involvded in it as mentioned aboeeve
How research filters perception?
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Value are shaped by subjective inclinations/outlooks, same for theories, previous meresearch and
methods we use to collect them; all of these are filtered.
In everyday life, or biases easily influence are observation and often lead to incorrect conlusions;
sociology tried to devolp collecting data that tried to reduce bias but never completely does it; biases
can also be found in natural sciences known as assumptions.
2 types of study
1) Descriptive- i) static-specific point in time; freezes reality at a certain point in time, no intend to
talk abt relations as what cause what; statis studies can deal with trends-wht takes place over a
period of time but doesn’t tend to explain wht causes a trend; snapshot of way things exist in a
certain point of time eg infant mortality rate-infant deaths below 6 months per one thousand
birth- what was the infant mortality rate in Canada in 2006? It was 4.21 rate per 1000
births.underdeveloped countries usually have high infant mortality rates so it is one of the main
indicator of development; murders in 2009 in Canada? Ans: 62 population in scarborough in
2010? 593000 ii)trend analysis-from 1952-2002 divorce rate climbed in Canada to 50%;
gradually increasing so doesn’t tell why divorce rates rates have risen but jst gives a number;
women tday inititiaiting divorce then in the past due to mor eindepence as they no more need
to be married to survive
2) Explanatory- try and explain why things happens; explain relationships b/w variables; for eg how
can we explain university attendance- one of the answer is parent income-. The higher the
income of parents, the more likely their children are to attend university. Eg rental or social
income of class is one of the most imp indicators of university students of offsprings; eg ppl who
live in cities are more likely to commit suicide then ppl that live in country side, villages or small
towns. Eg what is related to increased infant mortality rate in Canada? Ans: wealth; infant
mortality rates are lower in high income families as they have more knowledge, better access to
facilities; eg when the economy improves, crime rates go down. One reason why death penalty
was abolished In Canada, despite the fact that many ppl are in favour of it. What reason was
used to abolish it? Statistics and empirical explanatory studies have consistently found that
death penalty does not deter/prevent murder. Eg in US, each state controls death penalty and
states that have it there murder rates are not much diff to those states in US that don’t have
it.Cliffered Olsen- children serial killer; Paul bernardo-graduate of utsc-serial murderer
Social accounting- both type of studies above can be used to develop social policies; policies should be
primarily based on sociological evidence; rational policy is evidence based policy; social accounting can
often be found in census forms that gives you figures, trends at times; we are called an aging society in
CENSUS-ppl 65 and larger have become a larger proportion of our society. This creates roblems of debt
like in Europe-
Why have we become an gaining society? Ppl are living longer tday then they use to, life expectancy
keeps on increasing; end of WWII, when soldiers came home, they got reacquitted with their wives and
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