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SOAN 2120 ALL Lecture Notes

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau
Study Guide

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January 9, 2012
Lead and Intelligence
The Needleman Case
1975 Collected teeth from 3329 first and second grade children
o 270 of the most likely subjects
o 58 high lead children
o 100 low lead children
o The less lead in children the more likely they are to get farther in life, so he was trying to protect the
He didn’t test all 270... so they accused him of cherry-picking on his data (picking the best of the data to show and
compare to ensure publication)
- He was charged because of his way of reporting and could’ve lost his credential as a prof.
- He addressed the problem, and attempted to correct it.
As researchers we should doubt our own findings and those of others. Look at every paper critically.
Skepticism develop a habit of checking the research
January 11, 2012
How do we know what we know?
Direct knowledge experience and observations
Information gained through observations or our own senses
Information gained through our own personal experience
Don’t necessarily reflect an objective reality (people who are deaf don’t learn the sound of things)
Indirect knowledge tradition and authority
Agreed upon or consensus of reality
Society has agreed upon what the ideas are, someone has told you all of this, and you have transmitted this
to yourself from indirect means
This is the process of learning and what others believes
Tradition passed on through socialization
Pros there are many things that can’t be experienced directly
Cons can limit inquiry because someone has told you something
o Can lead to prejudice, close mindedness
Authority someone tells you
Authority new knowledge depends on the status of the informer
Pros trusting the info from people in the fields (educational credentials & experience) can help someone
with inquiry
Cons the authority figures can makes mistakes and misuse their authority
Common Errors of Human Inquiry and Possible Safeguards
Inaccurate observation
o Casual semiconscious observations lead to mistakes
o Assuming a few general events are evidence of a pattern
Should use large repetitive samples to get better data and accuracy
Replication whether the same study replicated gives the same results
Selective Observation
o Concentrating on observations that fit a pattern or a theory used to explain a particular problem
Look at the deviant cases that don’t fit the pattern you are looking for to see if there is any
merit to your theory and then adjust your theory
Illogical Reasoning

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o Reaching a conclusion through means that are not logical
Must understand the logic you are using, constantly checking your theories and seeing if the
data is supporting them or not, then adjusting your theory
Assertion, Authority, and Evidence:
Claims and causation
o E.g. lead exposure causes reduce intelligence
o Accept? Reject?
Need support
Evidence some claims appear without support
Authority, Expertise, or Rank of Source
o If authority refers to evidence we expect to see the evidence in order to
make our own judgement
Taking Something on Faith
Church of Galileo’s day
o Believed that the sun moved around the earth geocentric model
Galileo Published
o Dialogue on the Two Principal World Systems
Supported Heliocentric Model the sun as the center of the universe, with some planets
closest and large, others farther away, and then the stars on the far outside
Greater depth and simplicity, but social and political consequences
Questioned the authority because he had better observations
Galileo developed the laws of motion, came up with a better tool for measurement telescope
o Destroyed the idea of a geocentric model and came up with 5 different observations
Sunspots dots on the sun
The moon wasn’t a smooth surface, filled with mountains and seas
The milky way was made up of a lot of individual stars
Venus had phases just like the moon
Jupiter had moons
o 1633 Trial
Forced to recant and imprisoned (later commuted to house arrest) book was banned
o 1757
Church removed book from Index of Prohibited Books
o 1979 Pope John Paul 11
Called for a re-examination of the Galileo case
Published secret archives admitted Judges were wrong
Through better levels of observations we’re able to come up with a better understanding of the system
* We’re doing research and have to be ready to do observations and trying to explain what’s in front of us and what’s
really there rather than what we think is there
January 13, 2012
What is Science?
Science is:
A set of logical and empirical methods (drawing inferences or deductions from a hypotheses
Systematic observation, experimentation, rigorous methodology
Epistemology: the science of knowing
Pseudoscience is:

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A set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not
Based on authority or scared text, myths, legends
Can’t be tested; illogical
Often supported by selective use of anecdotes
The Foundations of Social Science
The TWO pillars of science are:
1. Logic
2. Observation
Three major aspects of social science are:
Data Collection
Data Analysis
Some Dialectics of Social Research
Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches
Nomothetic and Idiographic Explanations
Deductive and Inductive Theory
Quantitative Evidence Deductive Theory
o Objective
o Verifiable
o Controlled Observations
o Precise Communication
o Specific to the general
Qualitative Evidence Inductive Theory
o Explanations and descriptions
o Painstaking analysis of documents
o Lengthy participation in a group
o General/observations to the specific
Induction and Deduction: Linking Theory and Research
Deduction Testing testing theories or testing hypo thesis
o Theory is used to generate ideas about behaviour a research produces evidence for testing theories
o Specific to the general
Induction for generating hypothesis
o Observations/empirical data used to construct theory a derive theories from data
o General/observations to the specific
* The scientific process involved an alternation of deduction and induction
The process of induction uses a limited set of observations to generate a general hypothesis. The process of
deductions uses a general hypothesis or premise to generate predictions about specific observations.
Idiographic an approach to explanation in which we seek to exhaust the idiosynatic causes of a particular condition
or event
Ex. Imagine trying to tell all the reasons you chose the university you did. With all those reasons it’s had to
imagine yourself making any other choice
Nomothetic an approach to explanation in which we seek to identify a few causal factors that general impact a class
of conditions or events.
Ex. Imagine the 2 or 3 key factors that determine which universities students choose, such as proximity,
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