Sociology Quiz 1 Notes
The Sociological Imagination / Sociological Theories
Ch.1 – New Society
*See Table 1.1 pg 18
Groups with a higher level of social solidarity tend to have lower suicide rates than
groups with lower social solidarity.
The likelihood of committing suicide decreases with the degree to which that person is
anchored to society.
Sociological Imagination (Origins)
First Pillar; using evidence to make a case for a particular point of view. (Scientific
Second Pillar; the realization that people control society and can change it. (Democratic
Third Pillar; people can intervene to improve society resulting in the creation of the
sociological imagination. (Industrial Revolution)
Order Theories – Support status-quo
Change theories – making social change / revolution
Macro-sociology – society shapes us (external / social structures)
Micro-Sociology – we shape society
Order Theory (Macro Level)
Stress that human behaviour is governed by the stable patterns of social relations or
How social structures maintain their stability.
Emphasize that social structures are based mainly on shared values.
Maintaining balance solves the problems.
Conflict Theory – it is our economic conditions of life that shape how we life
Change Theory (Macro Level)
Karl Marx (predicted capitalism would be replaced by socialism)
Focuses on relations among classes
Shows how patterns of inequality in society produce social stability and social change.
Stresses how members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantages.
Argues that eliminating privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase the sum
total of human welfare.
Symbolic Interactionism – Society is created through our everyday interaction.
Change Theory (Micro Level) Interested in understanding subjectivity and how our interactions create a sense of
Focuses on face-to-face communication
People create their social circumstances
Change Theory (Micro & Macro)
Gender relations and in inequalities
Holds that male domination and female subordination are determined not by biological
necessity but by structures of power and social convention
Women’s social reality
Concepts to Know
Ch.1 & 7 – SIQ – Durkheim and Suicide
Egoistical Suicide – results from the lack of integration of the member of a community into
Ch. 3 – SIQ – Sociology in Canada
Lecture – Music Videos
Research Methods and Ethics
Ch. 20 – New Society
Social Research – systematic, purposeful study
o Solely evidence relevant to theoretical ideas.
o HEART – methods of observation and questioning.
Science needs subjectivity (essential to changes of innovation)
o Personal values / expectations
o Filters reality
o Influence, to an extent what we see doesn’t 100% determine.
Reality doesn’t exist as a neutral scientific judge.
Observer bias: making unconscious mistakes in classifying /selecting observations.
o Prevented through use of scrutiny, skeptical reasoning, doubt, research, and
o Fraud/deceit are part of science.
Objectivity – observations free from personal values/expectations.
Scientific vs. Non-Scientific Thinking
Scientific – Problem of induction
No matter how many observations you make, you can’t infer your next
Method of collecting facts…useless if you can’t interpret them. Skeptical thinking and public scrutiny testability and uncertainty.
Set of practices for testing knowledge claims.
Doesn’t start by collecting facts, instead with a question, hunch, or well-conceived
Natural vs. Social Science
Both guard against distortion / bias / values.
Difference; bacteria don’t blush.
Natural: - no social norms
- Can’t consciously control surroundings / reactions like humans.
Social: - humans act / reason / decide
- Study meaningful actions…able to ask questions however data interpretation is hard.
Methods of Social Research
- Shows association or correlation
- Correlation doesn’t prove causation
o Spurious: coincidental (incorrect connection)
- Involves cause and effect.
Meaningfulness of explanations to human activity
“how to proceed with the activity”
o Participation / role play / interaction / observation
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research
Quantitative – availability of numerical data.
Social phenomena captured nicely by stats.
Qualitative: focus on process (how, why); giving voice to “participants”
Which type is superior?
Ex. Children of divorced parents – questions that require qualitative research to answer.
Cross-Sectional vs. Longitudinal
Cross-Sectional: data taken at one point in time.
Longitudinal: study done at more than one point in time.
Example: study of adolescent mothers – longitudinal
Techniques of Social Research
1. Experiments – enable researchers to isolate causes and measure their effects.
Researcher shouldn’t be interested in building rapport.
Variable control, randomization. “subject” not “participant” or “friend”
Hypothesis – unverified but testable knowledge claim
Variable – independent – affect others, dependent – affected by others.
External validity – degree of which experimental findings remain valid in a non-
Limitations – not applicable to all studies.
Can contain personal bias because of measuring parameters.
Hawthorne effect – where people behave differently when they know they are being watched.
Replicating a Positivist Approach to research – the traditional scientific method. Simply
interested in observing.
2. Surveys –self-administered questionnaires(close ended), interviews(open ended).
Primary way to collect social evidence.
Systematically compare answers to identical questions as from large population.
Involve sampling – very accurate results needs larger sampling.
Focus on different units of observation
People can be informants about other groups.
Limitations – designing good question are difficult (mutually exclusive, exhaustive categories)
Data is limited to what is on paper
Low response rates
3. Observational Studies – the researcher goes in and observes while at a distance.
Ethnography is where they are not only observing but also collecting other forms of
usually text-based data.
Sometimes difficult to gain access / permission “inside”.
When you interact with people, you draw on meanings
Drawbacks – researcher presence can undermine validity. Findings may have
researcher’s bias. Ensuring that the “tools” of inquiry didn’t “create” findings.
Limitations – low reliability
Ethnocentrism – as a researcher, you apply in your own morals to your studies. You add your
own biases to the people you are studying. 4. Secondary Data analysis – documentary analysis, historical sociology, use of official
Data that another researcher has collected for analysis. New researcher uses that data
for their own analyses. (ex. Census data)
Limitations – incomplete data
Accuracy of data
Biases of original creators.
Submit application for approval.
Consent letter for participants
Informed consent: Participants have the right to know that they are participating in a study,
the nature of their participation, and their rights as participants.
Consent Letter requirements: - Study purpose
Procedures involved in the research
How confidentiality will be provided