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01:920:101 (46)

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Rutgers University
Professor Wilhelms

Sociology Final Exam Study Guide Lecture - Methods Induction – uses observations to arrive at theory Deduction – uses theory to explain empirical relationships Indicators is a method of measurement which tries to measure the concept accurately (ex. definition of quality) • tested for validity (is it an accurate measure), reliability (is the measure consistent for all cases every time) Qualitative methods (inductive approach): comparative historical, critical analysis, ethnography (writing about a social group, event or phenomenon by trying to base oneself in that culture) ex. story of Sidewalk - data sources: in-depth interviews, participant observation, official records Quantitative method (deductive) – data sources: census, sample surveys Sampling frame is the list from which the potential respondents are drawn from (class roster, registrar’s office) Probability sampling: every unit in the population has a chance of being selected in the sample - sampling size may be similar even for groups very different in size, large amounts of refusals reduces the credibility of the survey Gatekeeper: the person who facilitates initial access into the setting Key informant: community member who becomes a close friend/sponsor and/or major source of information for the respondent Pros and Cons of Participant Observation - Can see how their world works and how they see it but details can be misleading if they distract us from less visual forces - Scheper Hughes’ piece on “death without weeping” is a great example of participant observation Sense and Nonsense about Surveys - sample size isn’t the only thing – you need a particular number but after that size, it does not matter - required sample size may be similar even if groups are very different in size (ex. US and new Brunswick - Large proportions of refusals reduce the credibility - Wording matters a lot Finding Out How The Social World Works Logical Deduction – elaborating our knowledge, but if our premises are wrong, then our conclusion is wrong (then we will reason our way which will lead to ignorance) Personal experience and observation are good sources of knowledge but easy to misjudge Careful research is the best way to create valid and reliable knowledge. • By using standard, widely accepted means, we can control bias. • Can go beyond personal experience and observation • Lets us check up on each other (people can look at our results and judge if it was done correctly) Even so, we must still question if this information is true and how much faith we should put in what we know. Being sociologically mindful, we can get a better view of what is coming at us by way of new knowledge and where it is coming from and what is worth catching. Empirical questions – answerable by measuring, counting, or looking to see what happens (ex. How much does this book weigh?) Aesthetic question – a question about what is subjectively pleasing to the senses and also not answerable with data (ex. is the cover of this book beautiful?) (can only offer reasonable statements) Moral question – calls for judgment about what is right to do (ex. Was it worthwhile for me to write this article, considering that I might have been doing other useful things with my time?) Interpretation questions – (ex. what does this mean? By looking at a painting and wondering what the artist wanted us to understand) “Life would get more interesting because as one learned more about the world, one would see more complexities, more mysteries, more problems to be solved, and more things to be done” • Curiosity, Care and Hope (needed to spark a desire to pay attention to the social world, to try to understand it as it is, and to use this awareness to pursue change) Sociological mindfulness is studying how the social world works, how to inspire curiosity, care, and hope and also a way to see where we are and what needs to be done. Sidewalk Public character – anyone who is in frequent contact with a wide circle of people and who is sufficiently interested to make himself a public character. Doesn’t need to have a special talent or wisdom to fulfill his function but often does. Just needs to be present and enough of his counterparts. Main qualification is that he is public and talks to a lot of different people. • “eyes upon the street” • Presence of the public character have the effect of making street life safer Sidewalk life – Sidewalk is the site where a sense of mutual support must be felt among strangers if they are to go about their lives there together • people of the sidewalk “resist” the larger structures of society; substitute for illegal ways of supporting excessive drug use • they depend on each other for social support Sense and Nonsense About Surveys Value of sample is not only from the size but also from the way it is obtained Ex. choosing respondents in order to represent different economic strata (Gallup) • Percentage of people who refuse to take part in a survey is important Probability sampling – calls for each person in the population to have an equal chance of being selected (size of a sample needed to accurately estimate a value of a population depends very little on the size of the population) - more samples are needed when extraordinary precision is needed (ex. unemployment rate) - in most cases, moderate amounts of nonresponse in a careful survey seem to not have a major effect on results but it is still important. One can never be certain as to the effects of refusals. Wording of questions and answers to survey questions also has an impact on results - Donald Rugg asked 2 different questions: Do you think US should forbid/allow public speeches against democracy (75 percent of public would not allow such speeches, only 54 percent would forbid them) - Most important problem facing the country and same questions but with 4 choices An Old Tool with New Promise Content analysis – increased due to the instant accessibility of content from technology. - text analysis software packages can automate the process of coding (searching for specific words (ex. how many times “terrorist” comes up in a speech) - it's a way of offering powerful insights but can’t explain why people protest, why law firms hire certain lawyers, or why football coaches do what they do • lawyer advertisements that used masculine words hired less female associates, football coaches took the safe way of kicking rather than going for first down even though they were better at going for first down Culture of Fear Culture – shared ways of a human social group The more things improve, the more pessimistic we become We place blame on things that we shouldn't, “killer kids on the rise” when its really the availability of guns Americans fear things that they shouldn't because those people who tap into our moral insecurities and supply us with symbolic substitutes gain power and money from it. Lecture – Culture Material culture – all the physical objects that people have borrowed, discovered, or invented and to which they have attached meaning Nonmaterial culture – intangible human creations that we cannot identify directly through the senses • Nonphysical creations (can’t hold or see them) - beliefs, values, and norms Beliefs are conceptions that people accept as true, concerning how the world operates and where the individual fits in relationship to others Values are general, shared conceptions of what is good, right, appropriate, worthwhile, and important with regard to conduct, appearance, and states of being. Norms are written and unwritten rules that specify behaviors appropriate • Folkways are norms that apply to our daily lives • Mores are norms that people define as critical to the wellbeing of a group; violations result in severe punishment (moral views of a group) Culture represents the solutions that people of a society have worked out over time Culture is learned (ex. language) • Meanings
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