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SOC221H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Theoretical Definition, Teleology, Operationalization


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC221H5
Professor
Yi Feng
Study Guide
Final

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Chapter 1
Introduction
Research
Is about getting answers to questions
Conducted to learn something new about the world, to document guesses, hunches or beliefs about
it or to understand how the social world works
Social Research
A process where people combine principles, outlooks and ideas within a collection of specific
practices, techniques, and strategies to produce knowledge.
A process for producing knowledge
A systematic, organized and structured process
Distinguished by science
Alternatives to Social Research: Other ways to learna bout the social world
Authority
you learn something from someone in a position of authority. For example, a parent or teacher.
This is a quick, simple and cheap way to learn
LIMITATIONS OF AUTHORITY
Overestimate someone’s expertise (assume they are right, when they are not)
Authorities often disagree- which one do you believe?
Experts may provide information on a field which they know little about- stay away from their
field of expertise
Misuse of authority- use their expertise to promote their power and position
Tradition
Authority of the past
Accept something as true because that’s the way its always been
Often leads to prejudice
Common sense
Learn through everyday reasoning
Valuable in daily living
Contains error, misinformation, contradiction and prejudice
Media Myths
Do not accurately reflect social reality
Primary goal is to entertain
Media perpetuates cultural myths
People mistake media information to be facts
Personal Experience
Seeing is believing
FOUR ERRORS OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Overgeneralization-some evidence supports a belief, and a person falsely assumes it applies to
other situations. Ex: 1 blind person is friendly doesn’t make all blind people friendly
Selective observation- select information congruent with your belief and ignores contradictory
information
Premature closure- when we jump to conclusions. We use little evidence
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Halo effect- we overgeneralize from what we accept as being highly positive or prestigious and let
it rub off on other areas. For ex, will value a paper more from McGill and assume the author is
smarter than someone from an unknown university
Box 1.1: Is the vaccine panic a media myth?
MMR(measles, mumps and ru bella) vaccine suggested to be linked to autism- this is a myth. The myth
orginiated from a paper that found a link which contained a biased sample. Other studies found NO link!
SCIENCE
Social sciences involve the study of people, beliefs, behavior, interactions
Gather data- empirical evidence a person gathers. Data can be quantitative-in the form of numbers
OR qualitative- in the form of words, sounds, pictures
Emprical evidence refers to observations acquired by the five senses
SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY
A group of people who share a system of rules and attitudes that sustain the process of producing
scientific knowledge
Includes both the natural and social sciences
Core of scientific community= researchers
Scientific method- process of creating new knowledge using the ideas, techniques and rules of the
scientific community
Journal articles in science
-when researcher finishes study publishes results
-this is the edited by a respected researcher
-the editor removes the authors name and submits it for review to several researchers, called a blind
procedure to ensure paper is judged on its content not by the credibility of researcher
-Reviewers return results to editor who decides to reject or accept paper
STEPS IN RESEARCH PROCESS
1. Select topic- general area of issue
2. Focus Question- narrow topic down into a specific research question. As you narrow your topic
should review literature. May also want to develop hypothesis
3. Design Study- methodology, procedures, recruit participants
4. Collect data- do the study
5. Analyze data- search for patterns
6. Interpret data- find meaning
7. Inform others- share findings, write a report
2 DIMENSIONS OF RESEARCH
-Deicding about the specific type of research you are goint to collect
-Need to distinguish how research is used (basic or applied social research)
-Need to decide purpose of study
1. Basic social research(creating knowledge)
Advances fundamental knowledge about the world
Often lacks practical application
Very broad questions
Provide a fundamental basis/ theory
Primary consumers are researchers
2. Applied social research (using of knowledge)
Address a specific concern
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Look to solve a concrete problem
Has direct, practical application
Primary consumers are practitioners
Less likely to enter public domain only available to few practitioners
3 Types of Applied Research
1. EVALUATION RESEARCH
Does it work?
Find out whether a new program works/ is efficient?
Often used in bureaucratic organizations
Ethical conflicts- can cause job loss
Not peer reviewed
2. ACTION RESEARCH
Sees knowledge as power, eliminates division between creating of knowledge and using of
knowledge
Uses popular/common knowledge
Participants being studied actively involved
Research focuses on issues of power
Seeks to raise awareness of issues
Tied to a plan of political action/ associated with a social movement or cause
3. SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT RESEARCH STUDY
Estimates the likelihood of an outcome to occur
Focuses on aspects of the environment that may change and how this would affect the population
3 PURPOSES OF A STUDY
Exploration
Research into an area that has not been studied
Few guidelines to follow
Often use qualitative data
Get familiar with basic facts
Description
Provide a detailed, highly accurate picture
Use data-gathering techniques- surveys
Explanation
Documents causes, tests theories, provides reasons
Support or refute a theory, look for proof
TIME DIMENSION IN RESEARCH
Cross Sectional- one-time snapshot approach
Most common
Examine a single point in time
Least costly but doesn’t capture social change/processes
Longitudinal
More costly and complex
Examine a group at multiple points in time
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