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Lecture

Linking Theory and Research

7 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
Sociology 2206A/B
Professor
Ryan Broll

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Description
Lecture 2Jan 16 2012 Linking Theory and ResearchTheory in social research y The backbone of the social sciences y Researchers combine a way of thinking about the operations of the social world theory with what they observe about it dataHow social theories work y They explain recurring patterns not unique or onetime events y They are explanations for aggregates not for specific individuals y They state a probability chance or tendency for something to occur not an absolute causal relationshipWhat is theory y A system of interconnected abstractions or ideas that condenses and organizes knowledge about the social world y Social theorists create explanations about the workings of society and the interactions between members of social groups y Social theorists create explanations about the workings of society and the interactions between members of social groups o Classical theorists ex Marx Durkheim Weber provided foundation for our understanding of the social worldThe value of theories y Almost all research involves some theory o Not whether you use theory but how you use it y Not outside of research many people use theories without making them elicit o However often less systematic less well formulated and more difficult to test with empirical evidenceParts of a theory y Concepts o Ideas expressed as symbols or in words o Social theory requires concepts to be well defined which helps link theory with research o Concept clustersinterconnected groups of concepts that share common assumptions o Variables are concepts that take on a range of values quantities or amount o Classifications can be used to organize concepts y Assumptions o Unobservable and untestable statements about the nature of things o Often hidden or unstated y Relationships o Theories should specify how concepts relate to one another or if they are related at all and why this relationship exists or notis when a researcher empirically tests or evaluates a relationship o A hypothesiso Confirmed hypothesispropositionsAspects of a theory y To simply our understanding of a theory we can categorize it by 1 The direction of its reasoning 2 The level of social reality that it explains 3 The form of explanations it employs 4 The overall framework of assumptions and concepts in which it is embedded
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