SOC 001 Study Guide - Final Guide: Operational Definition, Dependent And Independent Variables

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10 May 2013
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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 called a hypothesis
Hypotheses can either be true or false.
We create them to test whether the posited relationships between the
variables are true or false.
Variable X influences variable Y different attributes of variable X are related
to different attributes of variable Y.
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Document Summary

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. The first step in doing science involves picking the concepts or constructs of interest to us. 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. 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. A characteristic of a quality that describes a thing.

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