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Rania Salem

SOCB05 CHAPTER NOTES CHAPTER1 INTROnot everything we know is because of what we experienced o based on what other people say and we believe itsometimes we decide that what we experienced was not accurate and go along with what others sayex Eating worms o some people think its gross some think its a delicacyLOOKING FOR REALITYwhat we know may not be true there must be logical and empirical supportepistemology science of knowingmethodology science of finding outORDINARY HUMAN INQUIRYcan predict future circumstances are caused or conditioned somehow by present probabilistic in nature o the effects occur more often when the causes occur than when causes are absent must distinguish between prediction and understandingo we can make predictions without understandingfor people the attempt to predict is often placed in a context of knowledge and understandingo aims at answering both what and why questions TRADITIONsocializationpredispositions everybody knows clear advantages to human inquiry o accepting what everybody knows we dont have to search for understanding and regularities may also hinder human inquiry o if we seek a new understanding of something already understood we would be seen as fools AUTHORITYnew knowledge still appears everydaythings said by an authoritative person is more believable than a noncredited person o ex Doctor say uncle sayshinders in human inquiry when they speak out of their expertise knowledge changesERRORS IN INQUIRY AND SOME SOLUTIONSinaccurate observations o most of our daily observations are casual and semiconscious o scientific observations are conscious activities ex First day of schoolovergeneralization o over generalize on the basis of limited observationso scientists guard against this by having sufficiently large samples o replication of inquiry provides another safe guardrepeating a study and checking to see whether the same results are produced every timeselective observation o when we have a general understanding of why patterns exist we tend to focus on future events and situations that fit the patter and ignore those that dont illogical reasoning o contradictions o gamblers fallacyassuming that a consistent run of either good or bad luck foreshadows its oppositeWHATS REALLY REALnave realismnature of reality is perhaps more complex than what we see it to bethe pre modern view o early ancestors all assumed that they saw things as they really weredidnt see anything as an assumptiono as humans evolved they came to recognize that others did not always share the views of thingsthe modern view o accepts such diversity as legitimatedifferent strokes for different folkso neither one is right or wrong ex Dandelion is a pretty flower or an annoying weedo acknowledges human subjectivity there is no objective view the postmodern view o view of reality o theres nothing out there its all in here o there is no answer to anything ex Book different perspectiveso there is ultimately no way people can totally step outside their humanness to see and understand the world as it really isindependent from all human viewpointsTHE FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIAL SCIENCElogicoempiricalo two pillars of science are logic and observation must make sensemust correspond to what we observe relates to theory data collection data analysistheory deals with logical aspect of sciencedata collection deals with the observational aspectdata collection deals with the observational aspectTHEORY NOT PHILOSOPHY OR BELIEFsocial philosophers mixed observations speculations and ideas modern social scientists also do this but focus on how things actually are and why science cannot determine whether capitalism is better or worse than socialismour conclusions would be limited to the meanings specified in our definitions o have no general meaning beyond thatSOCIAL REGULARITIESsocial research aims to find patters of regularity in social lifevast number of formal norms in society create a considerable degree of regularitywhat about exceptions o Does not mean that the regularity itself is unreal or unimportant o Social regularities are probabilistic patterns AGGREGATES NOT INDIVIDUALSsocial scientists create theories about the aggregate behaviour of many individualsobjects of their research are typically aggregates or collections rather than individualssocial scientific theories typically deal with aggregated not individual behaviour o purpose is to explain why aggregate patterns of behaviour are so regular even when the individuals participating in them may change over time A VARIABLE LANGUAGEmost natural attempts at understanding usually take place at the level of the concrete and idiosyncraticsocial researchers are interested in understanding the system of variables that causes a particular attitude to be strong in one instance and weak in another attributes characteristics of people or thingsvariables logical groupings of attributesrelationship between attributes and variables lies at the heart of both description and explanation in sciencetheories describe the relationships we might logically expect among variableso often the expectation involved the idea of causationindependent variable values that are not problematical in an analysis but are taken as simply given It is presumed to cause or determine a dependent variabledependent variable assumed to depend on or be caused by another independent variableSOME DIALECTICS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH dialectics of social research is that there is a fruitful tension between the complementary conceptsIDIOGRAPHIC AND NOMOTHETIC EXPLANATIONeveryone goes through life explaining things idiographic approach to explanation in which we seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or eventnomothetic approach to explanation in which we seek to identify a few causal factors that generally impact a class of conditions or eventsINDUCTIVE AND DEDUCTIVE THEORYinduction logical model in which general principles are developed from specific observationsdeduction logical model in which specific expectations of hypotheses are developed on the basis of general principlesthe distinction between deductive and inductive reasoning is not necessarily linked to the distinction between nomothetic and idiographic modes of explanation quantitative data offer the advantages that numbers have over words as measures of some qualityqualitative is an observationo purely verbal descriptionso rich in meaning is partly a function of ambiguityqualitative data can be richer in meaning than quantified data PURE AND APPLIED RESEARCHsocial scientists have shown two distinct motivations understanding and application pure research in all scientific fields finds justification in knowledge for knowledges sake THE ETHICS OF SOCIAL RESEARCHkey concern is the matter of ethics in research NO HARM TO SUBJECTSthis rule is one that everyone would agree with in principle but its sometimes difficult to follow absolutely confidentialityanonymously VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATIONparticipation should be voluntary o it seems easy to follow but sometimes people dont have permission to be observed social researchers often debate whether a particular research design did or did not violate established research ethics MAIN POINTSinquiry is a natural human activity o much of ordinary human inquiry seeks to explain events and predict future eventsmuch of what we know we know by agreement rather than by experience o tradition and authoritywhen we understand through direct experience we make observations and seek patterns of regularities in what we observescience seeks to protect against mistakes we make in daytoday inquiry
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