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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 summary

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Western University
Sociology 2206A/B
Georgios Fthenos

Chapter 1 summary General research orientations Theory: explanation of observed regularities or patterns 3 components: 1. Definitions: what the key terms in the theory mean 2. Descriptions: Outline the characteristics of the phenomena of interest 3. Relational statements: connect 2 or more variables o Deterministic: 2 variables always go together o Probabilistic: 2 variables somewhat go together with regularity • Theory can follow upon or rise from data o Deductive is the most common approach (Theory Data) o Some use the inductive approach (collect data Theory) • Grounded theory: deriving theories from qualitative data • Epistemological assumptions: notions of what can be known and how knowledge can be acquired Positivism • Only phenomena confirmed by the senses can be accepted as knowledge • Akey purpose of theory is to generate hypothesis that can be tested and thereby allow explanations of observed laws and principles to be assessed • Knowledge can also be arrived at through gathering facts that provide the basis for generalizations or laws • Science can be “value- free”, meaning that no matter how different values are, conclusions will be the same • Clear distinction between scientific statements (which describe how and why certain social phenomena operate the way they do) and normative statements, (which outline whether certain acts or social conditions are normally acceptable) Interpretivism • Interpretive researchers maintain that it is the role of the social scientists to grasp the subjective meanings of peoples actions • People act on the basis of meanings they attribute to their acts and to the acts of others • Interpret actions from the point of view of the actors • Emphasis on empathetic understanding and approach and interpreting behavior • Closely related to symbolic interactionism; humans are constantly interpreting the symbolic meaning of their environment Ontological consideration • Ontological camp: people who believe this side of the debate maintain there is such a thing as social scientists to discover reality. (Organizations possess a reality external to individuals) Vs. • Constructionist position: People holding this view believe there are
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