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Jan 16Linking Theory and research.docx

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Sociology 2206A/B
Ryan Broll

thLinking Theory and Research Jan 16Theory in social researchThe backbone of the social sciencesResearchers combine a way of thinking about the operation of the social world theory with what they observe about it dataHow Social Theories work They explain recurring patterns not unique to one time eventsThey are explanations for aggregates not or specific individualsThey state a probability chance or tendency for something to occur not an absolute causal relationship What is theoryA system of interconnected abstractions ot ideas that condenses and organizes knowledge about the social worldSocial theorist create explanations about the workings of society and the interactions bw members of social groupsThe classical theorists provided the foundation got our understandings of the social worldThe Value of theoristsAlmost all research involves some theoryo Not whether you use theory but how you use itEven outsie of research many people use theories without making the explicit o However often less systematic less well formulated and more difficult to test with empirical evidenceParts of a TheoryConcepts o Ideas expressed as symbols or in words o Social theory requires concepts to be well defined which helps link theory with research o Conceptclusters interconnected groups of concepts that share common assumptions o Variables concepts that take on a range of values quantities or amounts o Classifications can be used to organize concepts o Concepts are rarely used in isolationAssumptions o Unobservable and untestable statements about the nature of things o Often hidden or unstatedRelationships
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