SOC 503 Study Guide - Final Guide: Univers, Reality Television, Pension

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Published on 26 Nov 2012
Lecture 1
January 12, 2012
Ultimate Questions
Modern world is dominated by science and its child which is technology
Steve Jobs dealt in technology technology comes from science
In the application of technology, steve jobs was talented and as a business man
He was a technology guy, using technology right now as am i
Technology comes from Science
New Kids On the Block social sciences, natural sciences, been around much longer
o Social sciences, psychology, economics, political science
Sciencesociologists knowledge of the world is attained from research
What sociologists try to use is the scientific method
Scientific approach cannot answer all questions we have about life
Some of the more important questions we have about life/existence
Science cannot deal with these issues
Science cannot handle ultimate questions
Is it possible to lead a meaningful life, full of significance and content
Are all ways of life futile
Science has no answer
Important question 2. Is there an unmoved mover?
o Means a first cause of the univers (unmoved mover)
o Science can’t give us an answer to that
3. What happens to us when we die?
o Questions on the soul are specifically reserved for religion and sometimes
o Religion deals with ultimate questions
Science deals with factual questions
Factual questions are imperical questions
Imperical questions represent evidence and evidence is obtained from using the
scientific method
Scientific method brings facts to bear on a question
When science talks about a first cause of the universe, it can appeal to scientific facts or
what appears to be the first cause, the big bang theory (happened 13.7 billion years
Big bang in world
According to many physicists
Stephen Hawkins nothing existed
If you know a little bit about philosophy, it is illogical to say something comes from
Something must have existed prior to the universe
What religion says about that is first cause or God
We can work out when big bang took place
But when we asked what came before the big bang then you have to employ religion
That is why god figures are common in religion and are responsible for creating the
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Lecture 1
January 12, 2012
Many people get carried away with science that gives us answers virtually to everything
Science gives us some answers and can answer some questions where we can gather
o We call that empirical evidence
Science is based on experience
Experience shapes perception, how we see reality, what patterns we see in the world
When he talks about experience he is talking about culture by and large
Experiences in research
Four stages
o Stage 1 values determine what problems you investigate. For example if you
are in occupied movement, you are going to use conflict theory, and occupy are
mostly left wing, and Marxists. They don’t like capitalism, they don’t like current
system of economics, they see captilism as cruel exploitive. So values help shape
things you investigate. Conflict theory normally investigages exploitation,
general nastiness of place we live in
o Stage 2 values lead researchers to for e.g. if you are feminist you are going to
take feminist approach investigage feminist
o Stage 3 if you are feminist you will be influenced by previous research.
o Stage 4 what you gather will help you perceive the world. Absence of
objectivity presence of bias.
Sociological research is not completely objective, there are subjective elements
How does research filter perception
Summary on previous slide
Values are shapped by subjective inclinations or ooutlooks theories, previous research,
methods reality all of these are filters or forms of bias. This is much more objective
way of learning about social learning of the world as oppose to common sense everyday
Finally when it comes to experience, every day life, our biases easily influence our
everyday observations
and leads us to draw incorrect conclusions
what sociology does to do is collect data, and tries to reduce bias, but never completely
gets rid of it
as a matter of fact, the bias can be found in natural sciences we call them sumptions
Two types of sociological Studies
o There are descriptive types of studies and there are explanatory types of studies
o Descriptive
1. Static means a point in time. Photograph freezes reality at a
certain point in time. That is what static research does. Static studies are
not interested in relationships. However, they can deal with trends,
what takes place over a period of time, who doesn’t try to explain what
causes a trend. Static studies show a snapshot of what something was
at a state in time. Infant mortality number of infant deaths per 1000
births example of static study what was the infant mortality rate in
Canada 4.92 infants per 1000 births don’t make it to 6 months. that
is static study. Best predictor of development is infant mortality.
Underdeveloped communities have high infant mortality. Another
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Lecture 1
January 12, 2012
example of descriptive, static study, number of murders in Toronto in
2009 69. Population in scarborough, 2010, 593, 000 people lived in
2. Trend example of trend divorce rate in Canada from 1952
2002 climb from 15% to 50%. Gradually increasing. This is a descriptive
trend. It doesn’t attempt to tell you why divorce rates increase. It just
gives you number many reasons though. One of the reasons is the
women movement is that women have more independence, economic
independence, and don’t need to be married to survive.
it is easy to get out of marriage today. At one time divorce was almost impossible to
attain came with problems. Difficult to find a balance
Explanatory Studies
o Try to explain why things happen or try to explain relationships between what
we call variables. So for instance, how can we explain university attendance.
One of the best explanations is parent income is associated with university
attendance. Higher the income of parents, the more likely their children are to
attend university. That is explanatory. Parental university and social class of
parents is one of the most solid predictors of university attendance by offspring.
Another explanatory study, people who live in cities, larger the cities, are more
likely to commit suicide than people who live in villages, small towns, or the
country side. Infant mortality is related to wealth. Wealthy people, middle class,
upper middle class, infant mortality rates are lower more educated, more
knowledge, more likely to get prenatal and postnatal care for children. Mother
more likely to be working, can’t spend amount of time looking after her children
and so on.
o Another example, when the economy improves, crime rates go down. A good
economy, with lots of jobs, different social situation, than a poor economy that
need money. Unemployed people can become desperate and more likely to
commit crime. Found to be a consistent cause of crime. One of the reasons why
the death penalty was abolished a few years ago in Canada, parliament
abolished it despite the fact that many people are in favour. Statistics, studies,
empirical studies, explanatory studies have found consistently that the death
penalty does not deter, prevent murder. In US, the state controls the death
penalty whether it has it or not and states that have it, their murder rates
are not that much different than states that have the death penalty. Texas for
instance, is big on penalty. Observed over time that death penalty does not
deter murder, and many people thought it was good to abolish it. Those people
who are in favour of it, another argument, people that behave like Cliffard
Olsen, child predator, the death penalty represents just punishment for doing
that. Paul Bernado and Karla Homolka
o Cliffard Olson killed 12 childrenoperated in BC, died in prison of cancer.
Social Accounting
o Both type of studies can be used to develop social policy. You may get job in
provincial government, and you maybe involved in forming policy for
government and you will base policy on evidence, sociological evidence.
o Rational policy is evidence based policy.
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