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Lecture 7

SOCB05 – Lecture 7 – June 20 2013.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCB05H3
Professor
Katie Stuart- Lahman
Semester
Summer

Description
SOCB05 – Lecture 7 – June 27 2013 Theory and Ethics Paradigms, Theory and Research  Hard because we don’t know if the pattern is something that is really happening or if it is a flux The Role of Research in Science  Theories seek to provide explanations for observed patterns  Theories are linked to the explanatory objective of scientific research. Answering the why question of social phenomenon 3 Functions of Theory  Prevents us from being fooled by flukes  Makes sense of observed patterns in ways that can suggest other possibilities  Theories can shape and direct research efforts. Certain theories wont allow you to see certain observations. Why is Theory Useful?  Can provide complex and comprehensive conceptual understandings of things that cannot be easily pinned down  A lens through which we can critically examine … But what if I don’t want to “explain” ?  Explanation, Description and Exploratory = 3 Purposes of research  Therefore research is NOT ALWAYS linked to theory. Paradigms  Fundamental frames of reference used to organize observations  Collections of theories which can share common underlying assumptions, values, and views of social realities.  Bigger than a theory.  Neither true nor false. It’s just a different way of seeing the world.  Often hard to recognize because they are implicit, assumed, or taken for granted.  Some focus their attention on aggregate numbers of individuals and society at large -> Macrotheoretical  Others take a more individual approach to society -> Microtheoretical The Major Paradigms  Positivism o Looking to verify things, and believe that there is an objective truth that they can find o Believe in scientific knowledge. o Leads to quantitative studies. Mainly experimental or quasi- experimental. o Example: Like how Biology and Chemistry seek to find truth about things.  Post-Positivism  Interpretivism o Looking to understand and interpret phenomenon. Doesn’t see anything as being objective, but that there is different approaches and realities to everything. o Reality doesn’t have a single truth, but it does have a co-created dimension because everyone can see it different. o Leads to qualitative studies. o Example: They wouldn’t say that a desk is just a desk. They would talk about each different angle that it could be looked at.  Critical Theory / Conflict Theory o Looking to emancipate. Views what is real as historical in nature but shaped by outside sources. o Tends to have studies that leads to examples of values or local values. Mainly qualitative  Pragmatism Issues in Theory Construction  Paradigms: Provide ways of looking at life and are grounded in sets of assumptions about the nature of reality. Seeks to explain what you have seen. o Offers a way of looking.  Theories: Systematic sets of interrelated statements intended to explain some aspect of life. Flush out and specify paradigms. o Offers a way of explaining. Elements of a Theory  Attempts to systematically explain observations. o How?  Axioms: An assertion taken to be true on which a theory is grounded.  Example: “Everyone desires material comforts”  Postulates: A specific conclusion among the concepts that are derived from our axioms  Propositions  Hypothesis: A specific testable expectation about the empirical reality that you are observing  Null hypothesis: Testing to see that no relationship exists.  Easier to reject than support. Deductive Reasoning  Theory -> Hypothesis -> Observation -> Confirmation/Rejection  General to Specific Inductive Reasoning  Observation -> Pattern -> Tentative Hypothesis -> Theory  Moves from specific observations to broader generalizations and then theories.  Common in exploratory and qualitative research. Ethical Issues for Social Researchers  Ethics is REALLY important, because social research is based on human subjects. Without the people, social research wouldn’t be possible. Ethics and Social Research  Ethical concerns in scientific research gained importance after the 1950s, before that they got away with a lot that wouldn’t have been allowed today.  Came in response to: o Medical experimentation on human subjects.  Example: Giving LSD to people to see what happens. o Social experiments post-WWII attempting to explain violence in humans  Examples:  Milgram  Zimbardo Why Care About Ethics?  Physical, psychological, legal and professional harm to participants.  Funding opportunities tied to ethical standards.  ……. Types of Ethical Concerns  Collection of New Data  Use of Secondary Data o Example: Peopl
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