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Chapter

How Sociologists Do Research

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCA02H3
Professor
Mc Kinon
Semester
Winter

Description
How Sociologists Do Research SCIENCE AND EXPERIENCE OTTFSSENT The fact that experience filters perceptions is the single biggest problem for sociological research. In sociological research, the filtering occurs in four stages: o First, the real-life experiences and passions of sociologists motivate much research. o Second, our values lead us to formulate and adopt favoured theories for interpreting and explaining those problems. o Third, sociologists interpretations are influenced by previous research. o And fourth, the methods we use to gather data mould our perceptions. We can never perceive society in a pure or objective form. What we can do is use techniques of data collection that minimize bias. We can also clearly and publicly describe the filters that influence our perceptions. Doing so: o Enables us to eliminate obvious sources of bias. o Helps others see biases we miss and try to correct for them. Researchers generally try to be objective in order to perceive reality as clearly as possible. Although objectivity is a reality check, subjectivity leads us to define which aspects of reality are worth checking on in the first place. Scientific versus Non-scientific Thinking Scientists, including sociologists, develop ways of collecting, observing, and thinking about evidence that minimize their chance of drawing biased conclusions. 10 types of non-scientific thinking: www.notesolution.com o Knowledge based on tradition science is required to separate valid from invalid knowledge. o Knowledge based on authority scientists should always question authority to arrive at more valid knowledge. o Knowledge based on casual observation uncertainty can be reduced by observing in a conscious and deliberate manner and by recording observations. o Knowledge based on overgeneralization scientists sample cases that are representative of entire populations. o Knowledge based on observation the scientific requirement that evidence be drawn from representative samples of population minimizes bias arising from selective observation. o Knowledge based on qualification qualifications or exceptions to the rule are often made in everyday life, and they are in science. In science inquiry they are treated as statements that must be carefully examined in the light of evidence. o Knowledge based on illogical reasoning we may expect the recurrence of events without reasonable cause, ignoring the fact that rare sequences of events occur just by chance. They also use statistical techniques to distinguish between events that are probably due to chance and those that are not. o Knowledge based on ego-defence the whole institution of science, with its commitment to publishing research results and critically scrutinizing findings. o Knowledge based on the premature closure of inquiry science is only temporarily true. Matters are never settled. o Knowledge based on mystification scientists remain skeptical. CONDUCTING RESEARCH The Research Cycle www.notesolution.com
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