Chapter 1 Notes
Chapter 1 – Doing Social Research
- Research is a way of going about finding answers to questions.
- Social research is conducted to learn something new about the social world.
- Social research is a process in which people combine a set of principles, outlooks and
ideas with a collection of specific practices, techniques and strategies to produce
Alternatives to Social Research
- Knowledge on topics based on personal experiences, magazines and books, movies
and television, and even ‘common sense’.
- Popular Alternatives:
Acquiring knowledge from parents, teachers, experts etc. Basically
accepting something is true based on the position of authority of the said
person. Authorities spend time and effort to learn something and you
benefit from their experiences and work.
Limitations to this is the fact that authorities can in fact, be wrong.
Authority of the past. Tradition means you accept something as being true
because “it’s the way things have always been”. Could also be prejudices
and myths etc.?
o Common Sense
Knowing things based on the fact that it “just makes sense”.
Common sense can originate in tradition, it’s sometimes correct but it also
contains many errors, misinformation, contradiction and prejudice.
o Media Myths
Television, movies, newspaper and magazine articles are important
sources of information but does not accurately reflect social reality.
Primary goal of these sources are to entertain rather than representing
Newspapers offer horoscopes, and movies report supernatural powers,
UFOS’, angles and ghosts etc., yet there is no scientific evidence.
However 25 to 50% of the U.S public accepts them as true.
o Personal Experience CCT208H5S
Chapter 1 Notes
If you personally see or experience something, you accept it as true.
However, what appears true may actually be due to a slight error or
distortion in judgment.
Four major errors in personal experiences are:
o When evidence supports your belief, but you falsely
assume that it applies to many other situations as well.
(Ex. I know 5 friendly blind people, thus all blind people are
• Selective Observation
o Tending to seek out evidence that c