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SOAN 2120- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 17 pages long!)


Department
Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
Professor
David Walters
Study Guide
Midterm

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U of G
SOAN 2120
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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SOAN 2120 Introductory Methods September 12th
Read Chapter 1-3 Basics of Social Research Methods: Qualitative/Quantitative Approach
Chapter 1 Doing Social Research
People use the findings from social research to reduce crime, improve public health, sell
products or just understand aspects of their lives which could appear shocking to some
People conduct social research to learn something new about the social world
o A researcher combines theories or ideas with facts in a systematic way
Social research is a process in which people combine a set of principles, outlooks and
ideas with a collection of specific practices, techniques and strategies to produce knowledge
o It requires persistence, personal integrity, tolerance for ambiguity, interactions
o It is also known to be a process for producing knowledge in an organized process
o It is otiated  a eseahe’s pupose o the atue of his/he eseah uestio
Five Alternative to Social Research
o Authority
When you accept something as true it is because someone in a position of
authority or power says it is true and you are replying on them as knowledge
There are limitations on relying on authority, those of which include the
overestimation of expertise of others, you may think they are right but ae’t,
they could just be plain wrong, they may not all agree but are all dependable
Think tanks organizations composed of a body of experts in a field that are
often motivated by particular advocacy goals (research is reported by this)
o Tradition
Tradition is a special case of authority the authority of the past; it means that
ou aept thigs as eig tue eause it’s the a thigs hae alas ee
Ex: many people believe that children who are raised at home by their mothers
grow up to be better adjusted and have fewer problems than those not raised
by their mothers people accept this because they believe it was true in past
Even traditional knowledge that was once true, can become distorted later on
o Common Sense
You reply on what everyone knows and what just makes sense to you
Generally, over time, it can originate based on tradition
Common sense is valuable in daily living, but it allows logical fallacies to slip
Common sense contains contradictory ideas that often go unnoticed over time
o Media Myths
TV shows, movies, articles are important sources of information
You learn about topics (ex: crime) by this rather than in real contact
The major goal of media is to entertain, not to accurately represent reality
The media tends to perpetuate the myths of a culture and what these people
say online is current therefore people often mistake the information for facts
Mass media hype can create the perception that a problem is bigger than it is
o Personal Experience
If something happens to you, you personally see it, you accept it as true facts
This has a strong impact and is a powerful source of knowledge you have
The four errors of personal experience overgeneralization, selective
observation, premature closure and the halo effect reinforce each other
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Overgeneralization an error that people often make when using
personal experience as an alternative to science for acquiring
knowledge. It occurs when some evidence supports a belief, but a
personal falsely assumes that it applies to many other situations, too
Selection Observation the tendency to take notice of certain
people or events based on past experience or attitudes
Premature Closure an error that is often made when using personal
experience as an alternative to science for acquiring knowledge. It
occurs when a personal feels he/she has the answers and does
not need to listen, seek information or raise questions any longer
Halo Effect an error often made when people use personal experience
as an alternative to science for acquiring knowledge. It occurs when a
personal overgeneralizes from what he/she accepts as being highly
positive or prestigious and lets its favourable impression rub off to areas
How Science Works?
o Science conjures up an image of test tubes, computers, and people in white lab coasts
o These outward trappings are a part of science which deal with physical/material world
o The social sciences involve the study of people and their beliefs, interactions, institution
o Science is known as a social institution and known as a means of producing knowledge
o Data are the empirical evidence or information that one gathers carefully to procedures
o Quantitative data the information in the forms of numbers (expressed as numbers)
o Qualitative data information in the form of words, pictures, sounds, images, objects
o Empirical evidence the observation that people experience through their senses
touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste, these can be either in the direct or indirect form
Scientific Community a collection of people who share a system of rules
and attitudes that sustain the process of producing scientific knowledge
o It is a professional community a group of interacting people who share beliefs
Scientific Method the process of creating new knowledge using the ideas, techniques, rules
and approaches that the scientific community uses, it includes a high value on professionalism
o It includes strong professional norms, openness, and a focus on mertis of research
Steps in the Research Process
o To start you select a topic a general area of study or issue (ex: domestic abuse)
A topic is too broad for conducting a study, then you must narrow it down
the topic and focus the topic into specific research question for a study
o After specifying a research question you need a detailed plan to carry out the study
o The third step requires that you decide on the many practical details of doing the
research (ex: using a survey or qualitative observation, how many subjects to use)
After this you are then ready to collect the data or evidence need
o Thus, you must analyze the data looking for any patterns and using it all meaning
o At last, ou ust ifo othes  itig a epot that desies the stud’s
background, how you conducted it, and what it is that you discovered from it
Select Topic Focus Question Design Study Collect Analyze Interpret Inform
Science has had two wings some researchers adopt a detached, purely scientific
orientation whereas others are more activist, pragmatic and interventionist orientated
Academic Research research designed to advance fundamental knowledge about social world
o They focus on testing theories that explain how the social world operates, what makes
things happen, why social relations are a certain way and why society changes in ways
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