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Lecture 3

Sociology 2206A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Stipulative Definition, Operationalization, Nomothetic


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2206A/B
Professor
Donna Maynard
Lecture
3

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Main Goals:
Systematic Measurement of social phenomenon
Need good measures/measurement for all quantitative methods
Must know what we are looking at - detailed description is key
Clarity in definition of our concepts very important
Measures/indicators need to meet criteria of validity and reliability
w
1.
Establishing Causality: researchers want to know what causes social phenomena
Cross-sectional research - often infer cause
Experimental and longitudinal research can get to 'temporal order'
2.
Generalization of findings to those not studied
Preferably make generalizations that apply to the whole population from whom the sample was taken
In other words
High external
Nomothetic explanations
Having a representative sample is essential for this
3.
Replication: repeating a study using the same methods
Provides a check for biases and routine errors
If the findings are not the same as those of the original study, the findings of the original are brought
into question
If the same, researchers have greater confidence in the original findings
4.
Only 11 Basic Steps of Quantitative Research
The Nature of Quantitative Research
Thursday, September 27, 2018
2:30 PM

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Main Goals:
Systematic Measurement of social phenomenon
Need good measures/measurement for all quantitative methods
Must know what we are looking at - detailed description is key
Clarity in definition of our concepts very important
Measures/indicators need to meet criteria of validity and reliability
w
1.
Establishing Causality: researchers want to know what causes social phenomena
Cross-sectional research - often infer cause
Experimental and longitudinal research can get to 'temporal order'
2.
Generalization of findings to those not studied
Preferably make generalizations that apply to the whole population from whom the sample was taken
In other words
High external
Nomothetic explanations
Having a representative sample is essential for this
3.
Replication: repeating a study using the same methods
Provides a check for biases and routine errors
If the findings are not the same as those of the original study, the findings of the original are brought
into question
If the same, researchers have greater confidence in the original findings
4.
Only 11 Basic Steps of Quantitative Research
The Nature of Quantitative Research
Thursday, September 27, 2018
2:30 PM

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Step 1: Theory
Start at the Library:
Review past research and theoretical arguments
-
Can do keyword search on whole databases
ex. ‘sociological abstracts’ or ‘social sciences citation index'
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Step 2: Develop a hypothesis/research question
Discusses in chapter 1
Step 3: Choose a research design
Discussed in chapter 2
Step 4: Device Measures of Concepts
Concept: ideas or mental representations of reality that serve as the basic building blocks of theory
Ex. ‘crime’, ‘political orientation’ ‘life expectancy’, ‘life satisfaction’, ‘depression’, etc.
-
Concepts may be independent or dependent variables
-
Concepts can be defined in 2 different ways:
Nominal Definition: describes the concepts in words, much like a dictionary definition
Ex. 'political orientation' refers to the party to which people more closely associate themselves
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Operational Definition: describes how the concept is to be measured
Ex. 'political orientation' may be measured by asking people, 'Do you normally think of yourself
as a supporter of the Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, Greens, Block Quebecois or
other?'
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Operationalization: move from the conceptual level (normal def) to direct observation (operational def)
Ex. ‘depression’:
-
nominal definition: a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a
despondent lack of activity ….
-
Can be operationalized via a set of survey questions designed to measure symptoms
-
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