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SOCA02H3 Study Guide - Dependent And Independent Variables, Thestreet.Com

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Mc Kinon

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LEC01[Chapter 2]How Sociologists Do Research
January 11, 2011
Science Method/Approach
Science method/approach restricted to answer all questions of life; cannot answer
ultimate questions
Ultimate questions :
Are all ways of life equally futile, or is it possible to live a meaningful life?
Applies to religion perhaps
Is there an unmoved mover?
What happens to us when we die?
Why is there something instead of nothing?
Do we have a soul and is that soul immortal?
Science method relies on facts
Every cause in the universe started with the big bang, but what caused the big
Natural sciences = super natural
Science & Experience (slide6)
Biggest problem for sociological research is the experience filters our perceptions
Experience helps us determine how we perceive reality & influences:
What patterns we see
Whether we even see the patterns
Filtering Stages in Research (slide7)

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Experience filters our perception, helps us determine how we see and dont see in the
4 stages to filtering (in sociological research)
1.Researchers values help them decide which problems are worth
investigating. Filtering is bias, very hard to keep bias out of research.
2.Values lead researchers to formulate & adopt favored theories for
interpreting & explaining those problems (functionalism)
3.Researchers’ interpretations are influenced by previous research
4.Methods used to gather mould the researchers perception. Types of
research methods, survey (common), observation
Scientific vs. Unscientific Thinking
Even in natural science, its hard to eliminate biases.
In everyday life, our biases easily influence our observations.
Sociologists have tried to develop ways of collecting, observing and thinking about
evidence that minimizes biased conclusions but have only marginal success in doing
Descriptive data: not trying to show, not trying to explain how A causes B, but just
trying to present B as it exists.
Descriptive trend:
from 1952 to 2002 the divorce rate rose from 15% of all marriages to 50% of
all marriages

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Descriptive static:
the infant mortality rate in Canada in 2001
the population in Scarborough in 2009
Explanatory studies:
The children of upper income parents are more likely to attend university.
urbanites are more likely to commit suicide than ruralities
Gov funding for healthcare causes infant mortality rates to decline
Does the death penalty cause murder rates to decline?
Does the economic influence rates of common crime?
Since 1946; right after World War II, population is aging = proportion of seniors
(65yrs old +) are rising. Most modern societies have aging societies, but not
necessarily developing. People start having fewer children, not having children like
how we use to, families were bigger back then.
There are more seniors (65+) because people are healthier & therefore live longer.
Baby Boom after war.
Knowledge of trends tells you ahead of time, to build schools etc, for the baby boom
Now the boomers are hitting old age, within 5 years, boomers will start retiring.
Canadian pension plan will suffer and will not be able to support the load, going to
go broke if nothing changes. Develop rational policies before the problem.
Proportion of young people is declining and proportions of seniors are on the rise;
withdrawing is increasing, but less input (AKA. START SIGNING UP FOR DEM
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