Promodern view: this view of reality has guided most of human history.
Modern view: what philosopher call the modern view accepts such diversity as
legitimate, a philosophical
Postmodern view: represents a critical dilemma for scientists. According, only
various images of it from different points of view, and all the different images are
Three major aspects of the social scientific enterprise:
Theory: deals with the logical aspect of science
Data collection: deals with the observational aspect
Data analysis: looks for patterns in observations and compares what is logically
expected with what is actually observed.
Social regularities: social research aims to find patterns of regularity in social
life. It is a probabilistic patterns and they are no less real simply because some
cases don’t fit the general pattern.
University professors earn more than unskilled labour
Men tend to earn more than woman
Exceptions: the objection that there are always exceptions to any social
regularity does not mean that the regularity itself is unreal or unimportant.
Aparticular women may earn more than most men
The objects of their research are typically aggregates or collections, rather than
individuals. Their purpose is to explain why aggregate patterns of behaviour are
so regular even when the individuals participating in them way change over time.
Variables: logical groupings of attributes. The variable gender is made up of the
attributes male and female.
Attributes: characteristics of people or things.
Relationship between attributes and variables lies at the heart of both
description and explanation in science.
Eg, we describe a university class in terms of the variable gender by
reporting the observed frequencies of the attributes male and female. “60
percent male, 40 percent female.” The relationship between attributes and variables is more complicated in the
case of explanation and gets to the heart of the variable language of scientific
Education and prejudice
Independent variable: a variable with values that are not problematical in an
analysis but are taken as simply given. An Independent variable is presumed to
cause or determine a dependent variable.
Dependent variable: a variable assumed to depend on or be caused by another
Income is partly a function of amount of formal education. Income is
Research process: Paradigm
7 Inform other
Paradigm is a model or framework for observation and understanding, which shapes
both what we see and how we understand it
Conflict paradigm: often focuses on class, gender, and ethnic struggles., it may be
applied whenever different groups have competing interest.
Two type of explanation
Ideographic explanations explain one, specific event or occurrence.
Explanations are often detailed and try to account for all the factors that led t
o that occurrence.
e.g. Why did the French Revolution happen? Nomothetic explanations explain a class of occurrences or a pattern.
Explanations are less detailed since they focus on commonalities
Explanations are likely to be probabilistic
e.g. How do revolutions start?
Two mode of inquiry
Deduction : Using a general rule (theory) to make predictions (hypotheses) about spe
cific cases.Often used to test a theory
Induction: Using observations (data) to develop general rules to test (hypotheses and
maybe eventually theory).
Often used to develop new theories or refine old ones
Induction and deduction often work together to provide ever more powerful and
Quantitative and qualitative data
Distinction between quantitative and qualitative data in social research is essentially
the distinction between numerical and nonnumerical data.
Quatitative data are anything that can be expressed as a number, or quantified. Examples of
quantitative data are scores on achievement tests,number of hours of study, or weight of a subject.
Qualitative data cannot be expressed as a number. Data that represent nominal scales such as
gender, Society-economic status, religious preference are usually considered to be qualitative data
Pure and Applied research
Pure research is a type of scientific investigation that seeks to gain knowledge for the sake of
knowledge it self. simply to determine why something happens.
A pplied research is a type of scientific investigation that is undertaken to solve a specific
The ethics of social research
No harm to subjects. Since everything we do in life could possibly harm someone else, all researchers much weigh
the relative risk against the importance and possible benefit of the research activity.
A researcher who forced people to participate in the experiment or survey would be roundly