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Chapter 2

Textbook Notes-Chapter 2 Detailed

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Mc Kinon

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SOCA02-Textbook Sociologists Research Jan-31-2011 SCIENCE AND EXPERIENCE • Experience filters perception is the biggest problem for sociological research. We can never perceive society in a pure or objective form. The filtering occurs in 4 stages Our values help us decide which problems are worth investigating. Our values lead us to formulate and adopt favored theories for explaining problems. We are influenced by previous research. The methods we use to gather data mold our perceptions. We can use technology to interpret / gather data to provide a less biased result. Scientific versus Unscientific Thinking • In science, seeing is believing. In everyday life, believing is seeing. • 10 ways of seeing things unscientifically: tradition (chicken soup gets rid of a cold, masturbation will blind you) authority (newspaper bullshit) casual observation (we're all careless observers) Overgeneralization (my dad worked hard and became rich, so can I!) Selective observation (I'm right because I can't think of any contrary cases) Qualifications (exceptions to the rule) Illogical reasoning Ego-defense (I just can't be wrong) Premature closure of inquiry (The matter is settled once and for all!) Mystification (There must be supernatural forces at work here) CONDUCTING RESEARCH The Research Cycle 1. formulate a research question (must be stated so it can be answered by systematically collecting and analyzing sociological data) 2. review the existing research literature. 3. Selecting a research method 4. Collecting data 5. Analyzing the data 6. Publish the results Ethical Considerations • The right to safety, ppl must have the right to decide whether they can be studied and in what way. • The right to privacy. • The right to confidentiality. • The right to informed consent. THE MAIN METHODS OF SOCIOLOGY Field Methods: From detached Observation to “Going Native” www.notesolution.com SOCA02-Textbook Sociologists Research Jan-31-2011 • Field research: is research based on the observation of people in their natural settings. Detached observation: an approach involving classifying and counting the behavior of interest according to predetermined scheme. Hawthorne effect: The presence of the researcher may itself affect the behavior of the people being observed. Ethnographic: researcher spends months or even years living with a people to learn their languages, values, mannerisms – their culture – and develop and intimate understanding of their behavior. Participant Observation • involves carefully observing people's face-to-face interactions and participating in their lives over a long period of time, thus achieving a deep and sympathetic understanding of what motivates them to act in the way they do. • Subjectivity: going “native”, observing the subject from the subject's world. Can go too far because the observers cannot see their subjects' cultures with much objectivity. • Objectivity: observing the subject from the outside. Can go too far because the observers cannot fully understand the way their subjects experience the world, thus observers often rely on their own experiences to impute meaning to a social setting. • It's hard for participant-observers to gain access to the groups they want to study they must gain their trust • Race, gender, class and age differences sometimes make it difficult. • Participant Observation begins with Exploratory Research: in which an attempt to describe, understand, and develop a theory about a social phenomenon in the absence of, or with little, previous research on the subject. • Hypotheses: are unverified but testable statements about the relationship between two or more variables. • Grounded theory: is an explanation of a phenomenon based not on mere speculation but on the controlled scrutiny of objects. Methodological Problems Measurement • Variables: are concepts that can take on more than one value. • Operationalization: is the procedure by which researchers establish criteria for assigning values to variables. should “class” be measured by determining people's annual income? Or their accumulated wealth, or years of formal education? Reliability, Validity, Generalizability, and Causality • Reliability: is the degree to which a measurement procedure yields consistent results. • Validity: is the degree to which a measure actually measures what it is intended to measure. All valid measures are reliable, but not all reliable measures are valid. External Validity: allows the research findings to generalize to the general population. Internal Validity: the degree that we are successful in eliminating confounding variables within the study itself. www.notesolution.com SOCA02-Textbook Sociologists Research Jan-31-2011 • Generalizability: exists when research findings apply beyond the specific case examined. Biggest problems faced by participant-observation studies. • Causality: involves the analysis of causes and their effects. Information on how widely or narrowl
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