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Lecture 3

SOC101Y1 Lecture 3: Research Methods

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Christian O.Caron

    SOC101 – INTRO TO SOCIOLOGY th Sept 28 , 2016 Lecture 3 – Research Methods Post-Structuralism vs. Grand Narratives - Post-Structuralism: An extension and critique of structuralism, especially as used in critical textual analysis - Grand narratives: Role of function or purpose of different institutions and processes o Each of these theoretical approaches have something to say o Answer or series of questions that applies to it all o All encompassing explanations - Rejects universalism and essentialism by challenging the idea of fixed structures and meanings - Rejects the notion that ideas, individuals, groups, institutions, and practices have a core, stable, true essence that defines them for all time and all places - Moves away from seeking universal social laws, focus instead on how categories come into being and come to be seen the way they are - Key figure : Michel Foucault & Pierre Bourdieu - Major associated strands: critical race theory, post colonial theory, queer theory, and many others o What does race mean o What does class mean o What does gender mean Approaching Theory: Sociology of Knowledge - Affinity vs Dogmatism o Everyday life we have certain affinities towards different things o Dogmatism: The tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others - Theories: Ways of looking (i.e. understanding) parts of the world o All of them are models, they each offer you a set of lenses to maybe notice something you had not noticed before  i.e. lenses when you’re out driving, in school, at home - Concepts: Clusters of cases that allow to distinguish two things from each other o i.e. Race  Different meanings and ideas attached to it  People attach different meanings to 1 thing o i.e. Colour – Blue  Many shades of blue - Don’t be dismissive Dialectics of Social Research 1. Idiographic vs Nomothetic: a. (idiographic) Explaining one case in great detail b. (Nomothetic) Explaining a set of cases using a handful of factors i. Naming your child 2. Inductive vs. Deductive: a. (Inductive) starts with an observation or question b. (deductive) starts with general theory, statement or hypothesis 3. Quantitative vs Qualitative 4. Pure Research vs Applied Research     a. (Pure) Foremost interested in understanding b. (Applied) Foremost interested in application i. i.e. positive-negative consequences Approaches to Science Premodern, modern, and postmodern view - Premodern View - Objectivity o Observation of the world can occur in a neutral fashion without being influenced by theory or culture or personal assumptions  “We all see the same thing”  Biased  Description based entirely on the object  RESEARCH - Subjectivity o Observation of the world is influence by theory or cultural or personal assumptions  “you don’t see that”?  It does match who’s doing the description - Value freedom (positivism) vs value committed (critical approach) Values Filtering into Research Self enters at various stages of sociological research 1. Stage One: a. Researchers’ values help them decide which problems are worth investigating 2. Stage Two: a. Values lead researchers to formulate and adopt theories for interpreting and explaining those problems 3. Stage Three: a. Researchers’ interpretations are influenced by previous research i. What’s been done vs. what hasn’t been done 4. Stage Four: a. Methods used to gather data mould researchers’ perceptions i. More comfortable with different methods The key is choice; values
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