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Chapter 2

Soc 1020 chapter 2 textbook notes.pdf

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Western University
Sociology 1020
Kim Luton

Sociology Chapter 2 Textbook Notes Research Methods Positivism: adopted by Durkheim, meaning that he wanted to use the research methods of the natural sciences, appropriately adapted, for the social sciences Quantitative methods: counting and precise measurement of observable behaviour, a limited number of variables, and preditction are hallmarks of this method • Weber argued that the social sciences should not copy the research methods and experimental designs of the natural sciences because human behaviour is unique and complex due to the subjective meanings and motivations attached to it • Weber coined social action ( meaningful goal-directed behaviour) Participant Observation: researchers observe actual behaviour, talk at length and in depth with those being observed, and ask them the meaning of their behaviour Hawthorne effect: even being in an experiment can change a subjects behaviour External Validity: refers to how well experimenters can generalize from the lab to the real world, from hypothetical questions to actual behaviour A Quantitative Option: Survey Research • surveys are the most common type of research Theories and Hypotheses Theory: 1)refers to a basic but often abstract approach to subject matter 2) refers to a set of interrelated statements that organize and summarize existing knowledge about some part of the social world Variable: for sociologists is something that takes on different values within different groups ( a relationship between two variables means they go together in some way) Hypothesis: is a statement of a presumed relationship between two variables, usually stated in the form “other things being equal, if A, then B.” • A is the cause of independent variable and B is the effect or the dependent variable Content Analysis: involves the examination of themes (content) from communications such as conversations, letters, newspapers, books, or movies. Axiomatic Logic: making connecting links between related theoretical statements, as in “If A--> B and B---> C then A-->C.” Deductive Logic: involves deriving a specific statement from a more general statement Model • Models are built by combing two or more statements to fill in or extend the explanation chain Measurement • generally it involves transforming the theoretical language of the hypothesis into the operational language of measurement Operational Defintions: describe the actual procedures used to measure theoretical concepts • the general strategy in operationalizing variables is to devise simple, directly observable, difficult to measure directly, and hard to observe •researchers look for or lsite to in order to measure their variables Validity of Operationally definitions: the degree to which they actually measure what they claim to measure Reliability: means that measures of a time or with the person using them • if a measure is unreliable, yielding inconsistent results, it cannot be valid • operational definitions may lack reliability as when respondents 1) admit to certain attitudes early in a questionnaire but later on, perhaps because they are growing tired, deny the same attitudes 2) tailor their responses to the person asking the questions Sampling Sampling: selecting a subset of individuals from the population they wish to study • a sample should be representative of the population it is drawn from and • conclusions should not be generalized beyond the group from which the sample is drawn •meaning if researchers fail to sample from some groups they cannot say their findings hold for them •the goal of representativeness involves drawing a sample that “looks like” and thus can represent the total population Random Sample: all individuals are listed and then some are selected purely by chance, just like names from a hat - preferred in theory but difficult to achieve in reality Cluster Sampling: researchers first sample large units, then medium units within the large units, and finally, even smaller units within the medium units, each time randomly • both simple random sampling and cluster sampling permit generalizations to the population- a major goal of researchers • researchers using random sampling techniques often cannot generalize to the total population because many of the randomly chosen individuals refuse to be interviewed Quota Sampling: is a less expensive alternative to random sampling and involves a conscious, as opposed to chance, matching of the sample to certain proportions in the population ex. 35% of women are in the work force, 40% men in the workforce...etc... they interview people in exactly these proportions -major drawback is that those who are nearby and cooperative may be quite different from the further away and uncooperative segments of the population • quota sampling is a more sophisticated version of accidental sampling, in which researchers talk to anyone at a selected location, regardless of social characteristics -limited resources mean that not everyone can be studied Analysis • after collecting data, researchers must analyze the data to look for relationships among the variables • percentages used in analysis must add up to 100% in each category of the independent variable • sociological research usually finds that 2 variables tend to be related under certain conditions for some people • human beings are too complex, have too many pressures acting on them, and possess too many options to exhibit the simpler relationships more characteristic of the natural sciences Control variables: the conditions and kinds of people are th
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