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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Sheldon Ungar

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SOC101Y1
Week 20: Research Methods
March 30, 2011 and Apr. 6, 2011-04-11
NEW SOCIETY
-Objectivity: observations should be free of distorting effects of person’s values +
expectations
-Problem of induction: no matter how many observations you make, you cannot infer
next observation
-meaningful action: activities meaningful to ppl involved – eg. Humans react self-
consciously when aware of being observed
-mere association or correlation between one thing and another does NOT prove
causation*
-spurious: false claim
Causal Relationships
-in a causal relationship, a change or variation in one thing produces a change/variation in
another
-if 4 basic conditions are met, causality may be established
1) 2 variables must be associated or correlated
-eg. Likelihood of premature births + poverty
2) The cause (independent variable) must precede the effect (dependent variable)
-eg. Poverty must precede premature births
3) Original association must not disappear once the effects of other variables on
dependent variable are examined – no false inference
-eg. causal process: poverty ->poor diet->premature babies? Is that true?? What if
the causal agent was stress instead of poverty?
4) Theoretical account of how one variable causes another. Must illustrate the social
mechanisms through which causation operates
-eg. Theorize that poverty affects nutrition, which in turn affects likelihood* of
premature birth
Techniques of Social Research
- Experiments:
-isolate causes + measure their effects
-Foschi and Buchan
-randomization: using random procedure, ppl in experiment assigned to various
experimental positions based on chance
-hypothesis
-external validity: degree to which experimental findings remain valid in non-lab setting
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Description
SOC101Y1 Week 20: Research Methods March 30, 2011 and Apr. 6, 2011-04-11 NEW SOCIETY -Objectivity: observations should be free of distorting effects of persons values + expectations -Problem of induction: no matter how many observations you make, you cannot infer next observation -meaningful action: activities meaningful to ppl involved eg. Humans react self- consciously when aware of being observed -mere association or correlation between one thing and another does NOT prove causation* -spurious: false claim Causal Relationships -in a causal relationship, a change or variation in one thing produces a changevariation in another -if 4 basic conditions are met, causality may be established 1) 2 variables must be associated or correlated -eg. Likelihood of premature births + poverty 2) The cause (independent variable) must precede the effect (dependent variable) -eg. Poverty must
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