Comm102 – Notes 3 – 1.21.14
• Doing Social Scientific Research
o Important terms:
• Theory and Hypothesis
o Theory: (An explanation of how and why things happen)
Systematic explanations and predictions of phenomena.
A set of generalizations that explain observable phenomena by
posing some relationships among variables.
We want to know why this, this, and this happens so to answer
these questions we use theories.
Observing something and want to explain why
o Hypothesis: (test of the explanation)
A specific statement or proposal that can be tested by means of
gathering empirical evidence.
Specific prediction about what will happen in a specific situation
if the overall theory is true.
o Theory: people imitate what they see other people do.
o Hypothesis1: Children who are shown Superman cartoons in their school
will hit other children more often on the playground that day than children
who watch Sesame Street.
o Hypothesis2: Adults who usually watch action adventure programs will be
more likely to commit crimes involving violence than those who usually
watch situation comedies.
o Theories are general, hypothesis are specific
o One is derived from the other
o A single theory may lead to multiple hypotheses
Can be tested in many different situations
Some may hold up well, some may not
o A hypothesis is either accepted or rejected
Helping further define the theory
o A phenomenon/event that we observe,
Whose attributes vary across individuals
To which more than one value can be assigned
Attention to the media • Very little attention, moderate attention, very close
Watching action adventure programs
• 1 hour per day, 2 hours per day, etc.
Committing violent crimes
• Once per year, twice per year, etc.
o Indendent vs. Dependent Variable
• Effect, consequence, and outcome
• DV is caused by IV.
• The more one watches violence on television (IV)
• The more likely one is to engage in aggressive behaviors in
real life (DV).