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04:192:300 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Cognitive Dissonance, Belmont Report, Herd Immunity

Course Code
Vikki Katz
Study Guide

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Communication Research Exam 1 Review Sheet
Ways of Knowing
How do we come to know”?
Mostly through agreement and belief--not personal experience or discovery
Personal experience & indirect sources
We learn about probability, and cause & effect (ex. toddler behavior)
We desire predictability - but can we understand the results?
Investments of time vs. lucky streaks?
“One in two marriages ends in divorce” - really
Is drinking during pregnancy dangerous?
Tradition - “Why? Because it’s always been this way.”
Little incentive to look for better ways to do or learn things
Resistance to new ideas
Authority - People or systems we accord credibility
Diminished trust in traditional authorities
Diminished trust in mass media, in an increasingly fragmented media landscape
Overgeneralizing - My one experience proves that…
Inaccurate & selective observations - Reinforcing what we already know or are primed to see
Problems with non-scientific beliefs
Based on limited knowledge
Intuitive thinking; it just makes sense(?)
Drive to avoid cognitive dissonance
Times and conditions may change--so thinking has to be self-correcting
So, what is real?
We live in a state of naive realism most of the time
Perspective - What is universal and what is relative in human experience? (ex. reasons for a bald
Understanding Research in Society & How Research Gets Done
Foundations of Social Science
Describe what is and why
● [Describe what should be
Ex. Galileo, church
Social Regularities
Observable patterns in social behavior
Trivial? Often not
Exceptions? Often do prove the rule
Aggregates:Individuals (Nomothetic:Idiographic)
Characteristics of the Scientific Approach
Law of Parsimony
Keeping it simple--what can we throw out and still explain what we’re seeing? (ex. the perfect
little black dress)
Can what you’ve seen be seen by someone else?

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Major strength of science--self-correction (ex. recipes)
Does our study have meaning in another context?
Thinking in the Social Sciences
Paradigms: ways of seeing the world that dominate at any one time
Frames of reference that organize thinking
Paradigm shifts
Theories: systematic sets of interrelated statements that explain an aspect of social life
Theories flesh out paradigms; how we explain the world around us is limited by the current
Hypotheses: Testable questions derived from theories
Types of Scientific Inquiry
Theory > Observation (usually associated with quantitative methods)
Problem - Theory - [Hypothesis] - Observation (Data)
Observation > Generalization (usually associated with qualitative methods)
Observation (Data) - [General Conclusion] - Theory
An Example of Grounded Theory
Problem - Theory - [Hypothesis] - Observation (Data) - [Conclusion (Refine Theory)] - Theory
What do numbers mean?
They can have symbolic value (used to justify a course of action)
They can have instrumental value (as an aid to planning)
What role do numbers play?
E.g.: Zadroga Bill to compensate the medical costs of approximately 4,000 Sept 11 first responders in
2010; reauthorized in 2019 permanently
Instrumental value: Numbers help lawmakers and health workers calculate what funds will be needed
to cover the health costs of first responders
Symbolic value: Numbers represent the further extent of loss on 9/11; also American heroism,
patriotism, selflessness
Numbers can provide legitimacy for moving forward on an issue
Numbers as Evidence
Can have symbolic value (used to justify a course of action) and instrumental value (as an aid to
Statistics/numbers are often presented as “truth”
Society places a high value on them
But, numbers can be collected and presented to reflect the interests of institutions, businesses,
or individuals
Numerical literacy
Numbers can be thought of in 3 ways:
As objective truth; “facts” not to be questioned
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