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Sociology Exam ch. 5.docx

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SOC 001
John Fulton

Sociology Exam #2 CHAPTER 5 Concept  A concept is a label that is applied to things with similar characteristics or attributes.  Things that – in our minds – seem to belong to the same category.  The words used to describe things that exist analytically but are not directly observable are called constructs because to observe them we must rely on some constructed measure. Variable  The first step in doing science involves picking the concepts or constructs of interest to us. We call these concepts variables.  When sociologists speak or write about their research, they tend to use the term variable a lot.  To call a concept of a construct a variable, means, in the first place, that it is a thing of interest in a particular piece of research.  They have two important characteristics.  First, a variable is something that is thought to influence or be influenced by another thing.  Second, a variable is a thing that has varying attributes. Attribute  A characteristic of a quality that describes a thing.  The list of attributes must be exhaustive; that is, every thing or person being observed must fit into one category.  The list of attributes must be mutually exclusive; that is, no one person or thing should be able to fit into more than a single category. How is a concept related to a variable?  A concept is not the same thing as a variable  Concepts exist only in our heads (abstract ideas)  Variables exist in the “real world” (measureable concepts) Hypothesis  After we identify the variables of interest to us, we posit a relationship between them. The result is
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