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Lecture 3

Sociology 2206A/B LECTURE 3.docx

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Sociology 2206A/B
William Marshall

2206 Monday, January 23, 2012 Designing a Study Quantitative Design Issues  Variables, causality and explanation Variables -Central to quantitative research -A concept that can take on multiple values (ie: that can vary) -Attributes= the values or categories of a variable - Male is an attribute of the variable gender -3 types: Independent, dependant, intervening Independent Variables -“Cause” variable  Questions to Consider: 1. Does it come before other variables in time? 2. If the variables occur at the same time, does one variable have an impact on another variable? Dependent Variables -“Effect” variable  Research questions are often expressed in terms of the dependent variable because this is what we are trying to explain Intervening Variables -Comes between the independent and dependent variable and explains the connection between them -Helps to explain the causal relationship  Example: Durkheim’s Theory of Suicide Marital Status ( + ) Social Integration ( - ) Suicide (+) = Positive relationship ( - )= Negative relationship The Hypothesis -A tentative statement of a relationship between two variables 5 Characteristics: 1. It has at least two variables 2. It expresses a cause-effect relationship between the variables 3. It can be expressed as a prediction or an expected future outcome 4. It is logically linked to a research question and a theory 5. It is falsifiable (you have to be able to find evidence for or against it ie: does god exist= cannot be proven false) 2206 Monday, January 23, 2012 The Null Hypothesis -Negative evidence is given more importance- logic of disconfirming hypothesis -Quantitative researchers frame hypotheses in terms of a null hypothesis-that there is no relationship or association between two variables Hypothesis: Students who attend every class have higher grades than students who do not Null Hypothesis: This is no relationship between class attendance and students’ grades Alternative Hypothesis: Class attendance has a positive effect on students’ grades (**If null hypothesis is true, the alternative hypothesis is false) Levels of Analysis -The level of social reality to which theoretical explanations refer -Social psychological (micro) Organizational/Institutional (meso)Social Structural (macro) -Helps to determine the kinds of assumptions, concepts and theories that a researcher uses Units of Analysis -The type of unit a researcher uses when observing, measuring or analyzing -Common units include the individual, the group (e.g., family, social network), the organization (e.g., company, university), the social category (e.g., social class, gender, race), the social institution (e.g., religion, education, family), and the society (e.g., nation, tribe) Ecological Fallacy -A mismatch of units of analysis and generalizing beyond, which the evidence warrants -Occurs when a researcher gathers data at a higher or aggregated unit of analysis but wants to make a statement about a lower or disaggregated unit of analysis E.g., a researcher gathers data at the social class level and the draws conclusions about the behavior of individuals -What happens in one unit of analysis is not always true for what happens in a different unit! Reductionism -Another problem involving mismatched units of analysis -Occurs when a researcher explains macro-level events but has evidence only about specific individuals A researcher observes a lower or disaggregated unit of analysis and makes statements about the operations of higher or aggregated units -Often easier to get data on individuals, which increases the risk of committing this error 2206 Monday, January 23, 2012 Spuriousness -Two variables are associated but are not causally related because an unknown or invisible third factor is the real cause  This invisible third variable is the cause of both the independent and dependent variable (it is a very powerful alternative explanation) EX: Ice cream Cone Consumption  Air conditioner Use (Spurious Relationship) Temperature Ice Cream Cone Consumption (Real Relationship)  Air Conditioner U
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