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Lecture 1

Sociology 2206A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Canada Revenue Agency, Shoplifting, Social Desirability Bias

Course Code
SOC 2206A/B
Donna Maynard

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-Welcome to SOC2206a 570!
- Course logistics
-What is theory/research
SA 057
Wednesday 1:30 to 2:30
Thrusday 2:30-3:30
Lab hour:
-Monday 9:30- 1:30
-wed- 230-630
-friday 930-130
Week 1Sociology 2206 sept 14
What is Theory?
-A system of ideas that are used to explain the causes/ and consequences of (social) phenomena
-Mead’s symbolic interactionism
-Webers rationalization theory
-Durkheim’s suicide theory
-A theory has 3 main components
Components of Theory
1. Definitions: What do the key terms in a theory mean?
- Ex. Durkheim’s suicide
-Suicide: purposefully ending one’s own life
-Also define social integration, anomie etc.
2. Descrpitions of the phenomena of interest:
-Ex. ‘The suicide rate in Canada is about/ 15/1000 populations, which is about average for OECD
countries/ This rate varies by gender, age and visible minority status, with men, 15-19 year olds and
persons of Aboriginal descent having the highest rates…’ Etc.
3. Relational statements:
-Theories suggest ways that concepts are related to one another
* If you know something about one, you know something about the other
* Ex.
-As social integration increases, the suicide rate decreases
-As age increases, social integration increase
-어린 아이들이 자살할 항률이 높다 왜냐하면 이많은사람들은 job, family 등등 이있고 integrate
하기때문에 그렇다.
-Two basic types:
-Deterministic: the two concepts or variables always go together
->> As social integration increases, the suicide rate decreases
-Probabilistic: They regularly, but not always go together
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-Use terms like more likely, less likely… make reference to the odds of one thing happening,
given the other
->>Suicide becomes less likely as social integration increases.
-NB: The latter is by far the most common in social research
‘Size’ of a Theory
-Grand theories vs. Middle range theories
-Grand theories:
-General, abstract
-all encompassing with regards to time and space
-Ex/ Structural Functionalism, symbolic interactionism, critical theory, post- structuralism, post-
modernism etc.
-Tend to be difficult to link with the real world in a testable way
-Very useful as a way of seeing the world, but not very useful for directly guiding research
-Middle Range theories (Merton):
-More limited in scope and less abstract- tend to refer to a more specific time/place/situation
-Ex.Durkheim’s Suicide
-Ex. Merton’s Anomie theory
What is research?
-A mixture of both observations and interpretations that either-
-shed light on an existing theory, or
-help us to build new theories
-How do we move between theory and research?
-Deductive approach
-theory-> observations/findings
-Inductive approach
-observations/finds-> theory
Relationship between Theory and Research
-Deductive approach:
-Steps to deductive research
-1. Theory
-2. Hypothesis- testable statements about your theory
-3. Data collection
-4. Finding
-5. Hypotheses confirmed or rejected
-6. Possible revision of theory
-Steps to inductive research
1. Gather data- often ‘loose’ in subject and very detailed
2. Make statements or generalizations about data
3. Derive explanatory theory from these statements
-Also called grounded theory- starts ‘on the ground with observations
Relationship between Theory and Research
-Deductive much more common than inductive
-Almost never just one or the other
-Going back and forth called iterative research process
-Very Common:
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find more resources at

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Next Week
-Finish Chapter 1:
-Look at what influences the type of research we do and the questions we ask
-Epistemological and Ontological positions
-Qualitative vs Quantitative resarch
-The place of politics, values and practical considerations in guiding choice of research
-Move onto chapter 2:
-Once we have a research question. how do we choose a research design
Sept 21 2016
Last Week
-Course logistics
-why research methods?
-what is theory?
-what is research?
-How do we begin to move from one to the other?
-deductive and Inductive ( hypothesis ) approaches
Epistemological Positions
-What is knowledge?
-How do we come to ‘know’ something?
-(어렷을때부터 결과를 알고있다)
-In the social sciences:
-What kind of knowledge is appropriate to seek?
-How may we best seek it?
-2 positions:
-Positivism and Interpretivism
-Knowledge in the social sciences (ss) should be gathered in the same way as in the natural sciences
-Empirical (evidence based on the senses)
-There are social laws and principles just like natural ones
-we can use deduction to find support for theses laws
-most published research in SS
-Less often, we can use induction to discover new laws
-Comte’s Law of 3 Stages
-Marx’s Historical Materialism
-Social science can (and should be) value-free
-Terms objectivity, intersubjective
- Normative Statements are not scientific
-Are certain acts or social conditions morally acceptable?
-Place of religion or philosophy to say
-Can’t be empirically tested
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