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Sociology 2206A/B Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Exam Guide - Social Science, Nomothetic, External Validity


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2206A/B
Professor
Donna Maynard
Study Guide
Final

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Sociology 2206A/B

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What is a Theory?
Theories are composed of interrelated and usually verifiable statements or
propositions
Examples:
Mead's symbolic interactionism
Weber's rationalization theory
Durkheim's suicide theory
A system of ideas that are used to explain the causes and/or consequences of
(social) phenomena
Components of a Theory
Definitions:
Specify what the key terms in the theory mean; for example, "Crime is any
violations of the Canadian Criminal Code and includes arson, embezzling,
etc."
Ex. Durkheim's suicide
Suicide purposefully ending ones own life
§
Also defines social integration, anomie, etc.
§
1.
Descriptions of the phenomena of interest:
Outline the characteristics of the phenomena of interest; for example,
"Arson involves the illegal setting of fires and is often done at night, either
to abandoned buildings or houses when no one is home. There were 439
cases of arson last year, with estimated damage over $2 billion"
2.
Relational Statements:
Connect two or more variables, so that knowing the value of one variable
conveys information about the other; for example, "as social integration
increases, the suicide rate decreases."
Two basic types:
Deterministic, which means the two variables always go together in
a particular way. If research uncovers an instance in which the
variables are not related in this way, the relational statement must
be modified.
1.
3.
General Research Orientations
Sunday, September 9, 2018
3:20 PM
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be modified.
-
Probabilistic, they regularly, but not always go together
Use terms like more likely, less likely… make reference to the
odds of one thing happening, given the other
-
a.
2.
ND: almost no determinism in social research
‘Size’ of a Theory
Grand theories vs. Middle Range theories
Grand theories:
General, abstract
All encompassing with regards to time and space
Ex. Structural functionalism, symbolic interactionalism, critical
theory. Post-structuralism, post-modernism, etc.
Tend to be difficult to link with the real world in a directly testable
way
Very useful as a way of seeing the world, but not very useful
for directly guiding research
Middle Range theories (Merton):
More limited to scope and less abstract - tend to refer to a more
specific time/place/situation
Ex. Durkheim's Suicide
Ex. Merton's Anomie theory (theory of deviance)
What is research?
Research:
A mixture of both observations and interpretations that either -
Shred light on an existing theory, or
Help us build new theories
How do we move between theory and research?
Deductive approach
Theory -> Observations/findings
Inductive approach
Observations/findings -> Theory
Relationship between Theory and Research
Deductive approach:
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