Textbook Notes (362,896)
Canada (158,081)
Sociology (1,479)
SOC101Y1 (470)
Chapter 2

NS chapter 2.doc

14 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Margaret Gassanov;

NS Chapter 2 criminal justice system minimizes wrongful convictions through rules of evidence and presumptions of innocence Science is not perfect, social practice of science is influenced by subjectivity Science as a social practice Subjectivity is important only to certain phases in the practice of science, while detrimental to others Subjectivity- personal values and expectations Values and expectations influence our perceptions of reality but do not completely determine what we see How will scientists know for certain that what they see is true? Scientific method is not a mechanical process of collecting facts in order to prove things E.g. Gregor Mendel and his study of cross-fertilized varieties of pea plants + inherited traits o R.A. Fisher- Mendels results seemed fabricated o Mendels results were 1 in 30000 o His pea plants were not carefully classified o His results may have been interpreted as favoring his preconceived ideas o Observer bias: making unconscious mistakes in classifying or selecting observations Good research methods do not eliminate biasing effect that values and expectations have on scientific research but minimize their impact on scientific conclusions Minimizing bias in science Scientific practices incorporate ways of reducing bias, especially of public scrutiny and skeptical reasoning Links and connections much be demonstrated by presenting research finding at scientific conferences, subjecting findings to peer-review and ensuring that research results can be replicated In addition to scrutiny, scientific practice also encourages skeptical reasoning o E.g. does HIV cause AIDS? Among all people? Methods of research also minimize the influence of scientists personal values and expectations on the results of their research work o Reduce risk that results will be affected by bias Healthy skepticism and public scrutiny caused science to prosper However, science does have instances of fraud and deceit Values and expectations are not necessarily problems Science would be substantially weaker without values and expectations o E.g. Mendels ideas came from his expectation that passive and recessive genes play fundamental role in explaining inheritance Science is also affected by objectivity and subjectivity Objectivity: attempt to minimize the effect of personal bias on research results o E.g. courtroom judges and jurors observations free of distorting effects of values and expectations However, without subjectivity (peoples own values), we would have little creativity hallmarks of science o Mendels solution to mystery of inheritance Science = creativity of new explanations about how things work and the assessment of whether these explanations are plausible Division between theory (explanations about how the world works) and methods (ways of assessing the veracity of explanations) Scientific vs. nonscientific thinking Our ancestors knew many things about how world worked prior to rise of science during the Enlightenment of the 1700s Custom or common sense (when to plant), creation stories, religious doctrine Scientific ways of knowing have increasing authority in most industrial nations David Hume- argued against point that science begins with observation Problem of induction: observations can not directly infer whether next observation will be identical (seeing 10 white swans does not mean next one will not be black) Francis Bacon- observation was bedrock of science Mere collection of facts is useless unless you understand how to interpret them E.g. blue mould on spoiling food- 1928 Alexander Fleming- penicillin (antibiotics) Science is not a collection of facts but a method of collecting facts Theory provides guidance for hunting and gathering of facts Evidence is gathered to test ideas, hunches or theories Sir Karl Popper- observations refuting well-conceived idea are always more important than evidence supporting or proving a theory (black swans) Starts with a question or a well-conceived conjecture Popper added the principles of testability and uncertainty to the 2 core ideas about distinguishing scientific thinking from other ways of thinking Testability= having testable implications; it must be falsifiable Uncertainty- observations cannot be bedrock of science b/c of problem of induction, but however, science cannot proceed without possibility of observations that could refute a scientific claim Natural vs. social science Sociology = chemistry Research methods help in understanding and explaining why certain patterns emerge Values underlie the creative imagination central to scientific puzzle solving, but also have potential to bias Scientific method- set of practices or procedures for testing knowledge claims A difference between subject matter of the natural and the social sciences Humans are conscious and creative; bacteria have no knowledge and dont think/act Most single difference: meaningful action: activities that are meaning to the people involved (people blushing) Sociologists have developed many methods to help them understand and explain human activity Methods of Social research Explanation Family background years of schooling There is a link between the two, but is descriptive, not explanatory Explanation: an account of the causal logic that shows how and why variables influence one another Only be judged adequate if it shows how family background actually influences educational outcomes Correlation does not prove causation Causation: relationship between 2 variables where change in one causes change in another o e.g. smoking o presumed connection between smoking and cancer is spurious- incorrect inference about the causal relations between variables (another cause) explanation of link between family and schooling o money additional fees e.g. field trips, tutoring postsecondary education BUT... cutting costs of schooling- social-class disparities in educational attainment have remained o skills and values taught in school upper-class families are exposed to different skills and values because of home environments e.g. reading, music, etc. (cultural factor) BUT... compensatory education (e.g. Head Star) programs to help disadvantaged children by offering educational enrichment Never a single explanation- usually multiple causes are involved in social-scientific explanations Understanding People make the social world happen give meaning to their actions and to actions of others Understanding: the ability to provide a definition of the situation that members of a culture find authentic and valid E.g. traditional Green dance o Understanding it == able to participate fully, knowing what others mean by their actions, knowing how others will interpret our actions and utterances taking the role of the other- appreciate someone elses point of view, understand, reflect upon, ideas and issues Erving Goffmans work in an insane asylum
More Less

Related notes for SOC101Y1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.