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Chapter 2

SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Inductive Reasoning, Contingency Table, Statistical Significance

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Sheldon Ungar

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Chapter 2: How sociologists do research
Levels of experiences:
- Percept is the small dot in the pattern that you see.
- 2 characteristics of concrete experience: first we share the concrete level with other
living creates. Second , this experience is meaningless in itself, ex: an infant.
- Memorize figure 2.1
- Proposition: ex: watch table vs watch is on the table.
Scientific vs unscientific thinking:
- In real life our observation are biased while in scientific thinking sociologists develop
ways of thinking to minimize biased conclusions.
- Sampling and repetition can prevent overgeneralization in scientific research.
- Unscientific thinking can be based on tradition, authority, casual observation,
overgeneralization, selective observation, qualification/exception, illogical reasoning,
ego-defense, premature closure of injury, mystification,
Research Approaches
Reality construction and confirmation:
- Linking abstract understanding to concrete sensation , social realities are constructed .
- Objectivity = inter- subjective reliability. All observations are subjective at first, objectivity
emerges as the as independent researchers ex examining the same object produce
consistent observations.
The importance of viewpoint:
- Reality is limited by the concepts and principals at our command. People exposed to a
wider range of ideas have the potential to construct richer realities.
- Concepts and principles do more then limit reality; they shape it.
Insider and outsider:
- A useful way to classify viewpoint relies on the distinction between insiders and
outsiders. Ex maze.
- In sociological terms, an insider’s position and unique experiences provide intimate
sensitives and understandings that are inaccessible to outsiders.
- Outsiders provide different perspective on communities.
Positivists and interpretive tradition:
- Positivist was termed by august. Positivists assume that social realities exist
independent of observers and are out there to be discovered. According to them social
realities are object (everyone sees the same thing) they want to observe/measure social
reality in a quantitative manner ex: survey and statistics. Functionalist theory believe in
this. Apply deductive reasoning.
- Interpretivist emphasize the importance of subjectivity and insider’s understanding. They
favor qualitative methods to see how differing definitions of reality shape social
outcomes. Ex: describing observations in words. Symbolic interaction beleive in this.
Apply inductive reasoning.
Quantitative and qualitative research traditions:
- Deductive reasoning: general to specific. Abstract to concrete levels of experience
- Inductive reasoning: specific to general. Concrete to abstract level.
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The research act: connecting ideas to evidence: figure 2.2
Qualitative research takes the following steps:
1. Identify a research interest based on concrete experience.
2. Collect evidence from one or more cases of the same type
3. Analyze the cases to identify common patterns and themes.
4. Using sociological concepts and principles, provide an interpretation of the patterns and
themes that stresses the context in which the concrete experience took place.
Quantitative research takes the following step:
1. Identify a theoretical idea of interest.
2. Translate the abstract idea into a testable hypothesis
3. Collect and analyze data
4. Accept or reject the hypothesis.
Ethical consideration:
- To protect the rights of others, sociological research is guided by a code of ethics.
- Ethical principles.
1. Voluntary participation: participant chosen to do so.
2. Harm minimization: including social, physical and psychological harm. The first 2 come
under informed consent.
3. Privacy: includes anonymity and confidentiality
4. Authenticity: appearance match reality. Deception can be prevented by debriefing and
stating the importance of study.
Box 2.1: sociology at the movies: zero dark thirty.
Quantitative approaches: includes experiments and surveys.
Measuring variables: figure 2.3
After operationalization the original proposition which expressed a relationship between
concepts, is translated into relationship between variables called hypotheses.
They start with hypothesis about how one variable (independent variable) affect other
(dependent). Randomization assign individuals to groups by chance. 2 groups made and then
measure the effects. Reliability , validity.
Sociologists ask people about their knowledge , attitudes and behaviours. They take the results
and generalize it afterwards. Surveys typically contain 2 type of questions: closed ended
(options to choose from) and open ended.
Select randomly. Making a probability sample begins with sampling frame.
Sample size and statistical significance:
When researchers are confident that sample results reflect the population , they refer to the
findings as being statistically significant. Substantive significance refers to importance of results.
An important determinant of statistical significance is sample size, as sample size grows so
does the likelihood of finding statistically significant results.
Reading tables:
Surveys are quantitative. Quantitative results can be obverse from contingency table. The
independent and it’s values are listed across the table while dependent and its values are listed
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