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Canada (161,621)
SOAN 2120 (129)
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Chapter 2

Chapter Two

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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2120
D Walters

SOAN 2120 Introductory Methods Textbook Readings – Chapter two  Social theories explain recurring patterns, not unique/one-time events  Theories are explanations for aggregates, not particular individuals o Aggregates: collections of many individuals, cases or other units  Social theories state a probability, chance or tendency for events to occur, rather than state that one event must absolutely follow another (key words in this instant, tend to or are more likely to based on…) Social theory: a system of interconnected abstractions or ideas that condenses and organizes knowledge about the social world. Blame analysis: a type of counterfeit argument presented as if it were a theoretical explanation (assumes there is a party/source to which a fixed amount of responsibility can be attached) The Parts Of Theory Concepts: an idea expressed as a symbol or in words (has two parts: a symbol (word/term) and a definition. Concept cluster: a collection of interrelated ideas that share common assumptions, belong to the same larger social theory and refer to one another Variable: a concept or its empirical measures that can take on multiple values (amount of income, temperature, years of schooling etc.) Classification concepts: complex multidimensional concepts that have subtypes – parts of social theories between one simple concept and a full theoretical explanation  Ideal type: a pure model about an idea, process, event; one develops it to think about it more clearly and systematically Assumptions: statements about the nature of things that are not observable or testable (accepted necessary starting point) Hypothesis: when a researcher empirically tests or evaluates relationships among concepts Proposition: a basic statement in social theory that two ideas or variables are related to one another. It can be true/false, conditional, and/or casual. (A relationship in a theory in which the scientific community starts to gain greater confidence and feels likely truthful) Aspects of Theory 1. The direction of its reasoning 2. The level of social reality that it explains 3. The forms of explanation it employs 4. The overall framework of assumptions and concepts in which it is embedded Deductive Approach: begins with an abstract, logical relationship among concepts and moves toward concrete empirical evidence Inductive Approach: begin with detailed observations of the world and move toward more abstract, generalizations and ideas  Grounded theory: researcher builds ideas and theoretical generalizations based on closely examining and creatively thinking about the data Empirical generalization: a simple statement about a pattern or generalization among two or more concrete concepts that are very close to empirical reality (more man than women chose engineering) Middle Range theory: focuses on a specific substantive topic area, in
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