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University of Guelph
Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2120
Scott Brandon

SOAN*2120 – Week 1 LEC 1 Asia Barclay Professor: Scott N. Schau  [email protected] } include course code in emails UNLESS MAKING AN APPOINTMENT or UNLESS THERE IS A PERSONAL ISSUE, all other questions should be posted in Courselink Office hours: MACK 602 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays Textbook: reading the entire thing; BUY IT Chapters 1-5 for midterm (minus Ch. 3) Chapter 3 read after midterm nd Fundamentals of Social Research, 2 Canadian Edition, Babbie E. and Benaquisto L. Use Turnitin software to screen own work for plagiarism before submitting assignments  Always keep a backup copy of assignments available—may be asked to resubmit at any time Do not record lectures without permission WEEK 1 LECTURE 1 - EPA & lead in the environment: lead bad for children (1975) social anthropology research methods based on this work social policy & legal policy problem: telling companies to pay for clean-up} companies didn’t want to pay for it so they hired two people to examine what was going on in the lab they examined his conduct and research - Collected intelligence measures from children in grades 1 and 2 compared human intelligences with high lead content and low lead content The Needleman Case (summary) – Lead and Intelligence: 1975 – Collected teeth from 3329 first and second grade children 270 of the most likely subjects 58 high lead children 100 low lead children - Did they select individuals to give the results they were looking for? Needleman was brought up on charge of academic misconduct and improper research methods deliberately misrepresented the data purposely changed data after conducting methods of research Peer-review process: journals reviewed by individuals in the same field criticisms are noted and papers are adjusted to accommodate for their errors once published, the paper is open to the community for further review a follow-up paper may then be written Science allows for things to change—we believe one theory until new evidence comes along to disprove or modify it We should doubt our own findings as well as those of other scholars We should not believe everything we read—even peer-reviewed journals should be read with a critical eye  Scepticism This practice is an ethical duty to science and research Richard Feynman How Do We Know What We Know? Direct Knowledge: Experience Observation} is not necessarily reflective of the object; i.e. someone with poor hearing will perceive a fly as soundless Indirect Knowledge: Tradition} socialization, common knowledge, culture Cons: cultural relativism, prejudice Authority} Pros: Trusting the judgement of people in the field can help you make inquiries of your own Cons: Authorities can misuse their position or can make errors of their own (i.e. Dr. Oz) Examples: Touching a hot stove = direct experiential knowledge Someone telling you not to touch the stove because it’s hot = indirect authoritative knowledge SOAN*2120 – Week 1 LEC 2 Asia Barclay Wednesday, January 9, 2013 COMMON ERRORS OF HUMAN INQUIRY AND POSSIBLE SAFEGUARDS 1. Inaccurate observation i.e. correlation does not equal causation 2. Overgeneralization Inhibits making detailed observations 3. Selective Observation We tend to observe certain things more than we would otherwise; we are making observations of the thing that fits the pattern we’re trying to prove but we ignore other details that may disprove it 4. Illogical Reasoning Reaching a conclusion through means that are not always possible i.e. Gambler’s Fallacy: when you have a long stroke of bad luck and you assume that you’re bound to get a winning streak soon } the reality is that each time you play, it’s the same probability! Needleman Case: - There is a link between lead and intelligence in children—he just didn’t report it properly and he assumed that correlation = causation, which is inaccurate - If the authority refers to evidence, we expect to see the data in order to make our own judgements - We must observe an evidence-based process TAKING SOMETHING ON FAITH - Church of Galileo’s day Geocentric Model (Sun moves around the Earth) However, the truth is that it follows the Copernican Model/Heliocentric Model (Earth + planets move around the Sun) - Ptolemy resurrected the Geocentric Model Problems with explaining retrograde motion Ellipses and difference: main orbit was the ―difference‖ and the smaller movements were ellipses Premium model/prime mover They explained and predicted the entire motions of the solar system; it gave an idea of how nature functioned through this model - Galileo Published Dialogue on the Two Principal World Systems }Supported Heliocentric Model; solved the retrograde movement The church did NOT accept this model and attempted to re-write it as a geocentric model 1633: Galileo on Trial; forced to recant and was imprisoned (later commuted to house arrest); book was banned 1757: Church removed book from Index of Prohibited Books 1979: Pope John Paul II called for a re-examination of the Galileo case; The Vatican published secret archives and admitted judges were wrong Galileo died under house arrest, possibly due to lead poisoning (from wine glasses + lead used as a sweetening agent) - Copernicus was searching for perfect spherical planetary movements but could not solve for it - Brahe and trigonometry: he figured out how far away the Earth was from the Sun and the Moon; discovered that the movements were elliptical - Galileo: refracting telescopes Sunspots on the Sun Mountains on the Moon + ―seas‖ on the Moon (now determined to be craters) Milky Way & viewing the cluster of stars Jupiter had moons—therefore, smaller objects didn’t only orbit around the Earth (as previously thought) - Conclusion: it can take years before a truth is reached in the world of science WHAT IS SCIENCE? Take a moment & imagine, as vividly as you can, a scientist at work. What does this imagined scientist look like? White lab coat, carrying vials of chemicals Where is this person working? Lab What is the scientist doing? Making detailed research and observations with well-defined variables Children ask questions that many people never think to ask; in this way, they are scientists GMOs: - All of our food today is modified in some way Genetics: - Dalmatians go deaf before they die—this has to do with the fact that they have spots SOAN*2120 – Week 1 LEC 3 Asia Barclay Thursday, January 11, 2013 WHAT IS SCIENCE? Science IS: - A set of logical and empirical methods (e.g. drawing inferences or deductions from hypotheses) - Systematic observation, experimentation, rigorous methodology - Replication - Impersonal/objective - Epistemology: the science of knowing Drawing from last class: therefore, a scientist is (obviously...) not determined by how they look, but rather how they behave We may feel like we’re doing something scientific, but in reality we may just be making assumptions Sound logic system in place + proper observations This way, we can categorize/measure things properly to arrive at proper conclusions Three major aspects to social sciences: 1. Theory We begin with a theory to be tested 2. Data Collection We go out and take a measurement 3. Data Analysis We analyze the data we’ve collected Pseudoscience IS: - A set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not - Based on authority or sacred text, myths, legends - Can’t be tested; illogical reasoning - Often supported by selective use of anecdotes and intuition SOME DIALECTICS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH Quantitative Approaches - Objective verifiable, controlled observations and precise communications - Deductive process beginning with a general theory + a theoretical expected pattern - We conduct a study that will test whether the expected pattern occurs - We come up with a conclusion then test if it is correct (i.e. observe the sun comes up every morning for a month, then conclude that it will come up every day) Qualitative Approaches - Explanations and descriptions - Inductive process - From particular to a general statement - Painstaking analysis of documents - Lengthy participation in a group - We observe, then come up with a conclusion Nomothetic Explanations - Explains a case of situations rather than a single one - Causal variables - Probabilistic in nature - Naming a few considerations seldom provides a complete explanation - Specific aspect of behaviour - Aggregate data (a lot of information being brought into a case; i.e. compiling the median, the mode, the mean) - Idiographic Explanations - Meaning ―unique‖ - Inductive (more qualitative) and Deductive (more quantitative) Theory - Tries to fully understand the cause of what happens in a particular case INDUCTION AND DEDUCTION: LINKING THEORY AND RESEARCH Deduction: testing theories or testing hypothesis - Theory is used to generate ideas about behaviour  research produces evidence for testing theories Induction: generating hypothesis - Observations/empirical data used to construct theory  derive theories from data The scientific process involves an alternation of deduction and induction Induction and Deduction graph: All rosebushes have thorns Deduction Induction Predicted observations Actual Observations i.e. If I check my neighbour’s rosebushes, i.e. I notice that the five rosebushes I should find that they all have thorns in my backyard; all have thorns THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD The scientific method requires three attitudes: 1. Curiosity the motivating force behind scientific inquiry 2. Skepticism means not taking things for granted 3. Critical thinkingis productive and creative - Don’t want to be cynics, but we want to be skeptics - Is our logic sound? Do we have a good process for analysing our data? - Is it developed in a way in which others will agree with us? If not, then we must explain why in order to ensure we’ve done a legitimate job THREE VIEWS OF REALITY 1. Premodern View - Individuals see things for how they really are; looking at reality - Assuming there is a reality to look at (i.e. Aristotle’s + other philosophers’ work) 2. Modern View - Not necessarily a right or a wrong; however there is an external object reality - This external object reality may be viewed differently by various individuals if it exists 3. Postmodern View - Present day - So many different points of view therefore there is no one reality or truth, just different views of it POSITIVISM Philosophy: - August Comte - Rejects speculation - Emphasizes positive facts - Scientific knowledge is only true knowledge - Test theories }fit the facts observed - Note: it has many critics, and is not the only way to look at research - We live in a sort of positivist world (i.e. we can understand why some people go to university and some go to college; we can understand why some people commit suicide, etc.) - We need to recognize there are other ways of looking at things other than in the positivist method PARADIGM All of the information listed in this lecture fits into a paradigm—a way or lens through which we collectively agree to look at the world i.e. the Geocentric, (and later) the Heliocentric model were ways at looking at the world in which we collectively agreed upon 3 MAIN ACTIVITIES IN SOCIAL RESEARCH 1. Tentative Explanation (Theory) 2. Observing (Experiment/Data Collection) 3. Testing Rival Views Against Data (Examination of Data) - We use each of these processes to examine situations (i.e. death by cholera, or a suicide) - Descriptive research does not explain what happened, so these types of research aid us in gathering details and arriving at accurate conclusions CHOLERA (LONDON 1848 – 1854) John Snow: - 1848 published a pamphlet ―On the Mode of Communication of Cholera‖ - Full story available here: Suggested it was transmitted via food or water Opposition—it was thought to be caused by contaminated vapours (bad air) People didn’t believe him (remember, this was before they were aware of germs and of microscopic bacteria/organisms) Disproving the air-born theory: if it is airborne, then why aren’t the doctors and nurses dying of it first? They are surviving when technically they shouldn’t be! He then tried to convince people As luck would have it, soon after he started talking about it, another case broke out in the Soho district of London He used epidemiology to figure it out (see the map of deaths by cholera in the area, listed here: He noticed the Broad Street pump and observed that most people using it had cholera; lots of outbreaks around that pump He attempted to contact the city to have the pump turned off temporarily, but they didn’t believe him By the time the city finally took the handle off the pump, outbreaks had already decreased since not many people were able to get out of bed anyway DISCOVERY: after taking the pump apart they discovered it was only one brick wall away from the cistern/sewers! This means that the water was being contaminated. SOAN Week 2-Lecture 4 POSITIVISM -Assumes a sharp distinction between theory and research  Element of both deduction and induction  From senses (sight and hearing) can be accepted as knowledge  There’s something there that we can actually measure, look at, then understand what’s going on INTERPRETIVISM  Subjective meaning of the people’s actions  Criticizes to positivism; typically done by positivists  Looking at things going on and your interpreting them, as opposed to something there that you can measure WHERE DO RESEARCH IDEAS COME FROM?  Theory  Life experience Other sources  Personal interests and curiosity  Casual observation  Practical problems or questions  Vague and fleeting thoughts  Reading reports of other’s observations FINDING AND USING BACKGROUND LITERATURE  Primary sources Firsthand reports of observations or research results that are written by the individuals who actually conducted the research and made the observations  Secondary sources Are a description or summary of another person’s work. A secondary source is written by someone who did not participate in the research or observations being discussed SOCIAL SCIENTISTS  Qualitative social scientist -Lengthy field study -Intensive case analysis Usually one or smaller phenomena’s in great detail. Something complete in all aspects -In-depth interviews  Quantitative social scientist -Identify various hypotheses -(Test hypotheses) -Generalizations -A lot of observations around a small number of tests, lots of cases in smaller detail EVIDENCE  Quantitative evidence -Objective -Verifiable -Controlled observations -Precise communication  Qualitative evidence -Explanations and descriptions -Painstaking analysis of documents -Lengthy participation in a group THEORY CONSTRUCTION  DEDUCTIVE -Specify topic -Specify range -Identify concepts/variables -Find known relationships -Reason logically -Find subject, give limits of that description  INDUCTIVE -Build theories based on observing aspects of social life and then seeking to discover patterns PARADIGMS  Fundamental frames of reference used to organize observations  Underlie different sets of theories and explanations  Collections of theories which share common underlying assumptions, values and views of social reality  1960’s and 70’s populized term ―natural sciences‖ increasingly challenged by new findings, resolved when a new paradigm is accepted  We have a way of viewing the world, when enough inconsistency’s ―hey there is a problem‖ we then develop a new paradigm and it supersedes the last one. We move forward, and how we define reference that will change  Maintains that qualitative and quantitative research are based on paradigms and are intertwined, and incompatible with each other AN UN-KUHNIAN SOCIAL SCEINCE? Thomas Kuhn ―the structure of scientific revolutions (1962)  Science does not progress via a linear accumulation of new knowledge, but undergoes periodic revolutions called ―paradigm shifts‖  ―Revolutionary science‖ Pre-science  normal science  Crisis  new paradigm In social science t are not displaced by new ones  A va
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