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SOC 300 Midterm Study Guide

by: Lucas Reller

SOC 300 Midterm Study Guide SOC 300

Marketplace > University of Washington > Sociology > SOC 300 > SOC 300 Midterm Study Guide
Lucas Reller
GPA 3.3
Foundations of Social Inquiry

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A study guide to the midterm exam in Professor Brines' Foundations of Social Inquiry.
Foundations of Social Inquiry
Study Guide
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This 13 page Study Guide was uploaded by Lucas Reller on Thursday March 5, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to SOC 300 at University of Washington taught by Brines in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 91 views. For similar materials see Foundations of Social Inquiry in Sociology at University of Washington.


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Date Created: 03/05/15
SOC 300 Midterm Study Guide Introduction Truthiness describes things that a person claims to know intuitively instinctively or quotfrom the gutquot without regard to evidence logic intellectual examination or actual facts similar to the meaning of quotbellyfeelquot a newspeak term from 1984 Sociology rejects truthiness because humans are prone to making judgments based on truthiness which isn39t always true Personal stories and personal memories is our strongest proponent of emotions so we tend to remember truthsfacts that have emotional power which isn39t always right Examples of truthiness 0 When it comes to relationships opposites attract Research indicates that these types of relationships don39t last very long They contain passion but don39t keep long term bene ts 0 Couples who live together before marriage have tested their relationship and are therefore less likely to get divorces Research disproves this idea Originally people who live together before are more likely to divorces but now there is no difference 0 Having more choices in life is always preferable Too many choices can immobilize you to make a decision Example too many eggs is too much to assimilate to it takes longer to choose In social science quotintuitive appeal notenough Observation 0 Not just observing but systematic observation 0 Not merely empiricism either 0 Based on probabilities and observations about the world doesn39t speci cally prove only supports or claims Argument 0 An argument is a quotpackagequot of Claims about the world in sociology the social world Backed up by logical reasoning o It is not an opinion not debate and not a matter of the quotauthorityquot of the writerspeaker 0 Doesn39t depend on the authority of the speaker student or teacher or random stranger 0 Ex quotI think that freshmen are more motivated to do well in classquot opinion 0 Ex quotI think that freshmen are more motivated to do well in class because they have less evidence than upper division students of their own ability to succeed in college They therefore try harder to prove to themselves that they have what it takesquot argument H M resonancequot or plausibility of claims are 0 Scienti c arguments O O Includes claims logical reasoning and one other very important element 0 Empirical evidence that is gathered and analyzed systematically as opposed to haphazardly like journalists39 quotman on the streetquot interviews Social science arguments social relations institutions and societies how they work and their effects on the individual and the interrelationships between these different levels of analysis Social relations contain at least two people repeated overtime that contain interactions or institutions Making good arguments Not all arguments are equally good Avoiding errors in reasoning requires awareness of human pitfalls These pitfalls affect what we think we see how we generalize from these observations and our thinking about connections among things Faulty reasoning pitfalls Drawing inappropriate inferences from observation or data 0 Ex from a recent news editorial 0 Christmas shopping expenditures were up 3 over last year 0 Therefore the economic recession is ending the economy is improving 0 Problems the scope is too limited scale of improvement is not convincing no information on how Christmas shopping is related to the recession Inductive reasoning we infer reasoning from what we have observed Deductive reasoning method of reasoning from general to particular Ex Free trade will be good for this country The reason is patently clear Isn39t it obvious that unrestricted commercial relations will bestow on all sections of this nation the bene ts which result when there is an unimpeded ow of goods between countries 0 Problems doesn39t mention the bene ts of free trade 0 This is begging the question Begging the question 0 O O O Arguments that say quotAAquot Logical fallacy offering as a reason for something itself Often takes the form of a simple proposition restated more elaborately as a reason for accepting the proposition Does not mean quotto raise the questionquot 0 Ex Guns are like hammers they39re both tools with metal parts that could be used to kill someone And yet it would be ridiculous to restrict the purchase of hammers so restrictions on purchasing guns are equally ridiculous Comparison isn39t very strong weak analogy 0 Weak analogy Guns and hammers do share certain features but the fact that they are both tools made of metal and can be used to commit violence are not the ones at stake in deciding whether to restrict guns Nearly any two things can be said to quotbe alikequot Questions What properties are important to the claim Do the things analogized share those properties 0 Guns are more ef cient in killing and intent behind object is different 0 Argument by analogy and overgeneralization Sir Francis Bacon states 7 sensory conduits in the head 7 metals 7 planets 7 circles of hell etc Many observable phenomena can be classi ed into sets of seven Therefore the natural order of things is in sets of seven o Is a good argument enough to know something 0 We can expose a bad or at least inadequate argument through abstract reasoning for example by exposing a contradiction 0 But we cannot demonstrate support for an argument by reasoning alone This requires observation 0 Social science 0 Observation is crucial 0 We observe only a subset of things individuals behaving groups acting events taking place but draw inferences about the larger universe of these These quotthingsquot are our units of analysis units of observation 0 Not possible to observe all the instances so we observe subsets o Subsets are known as samples 0 Research 0 Claims about the world are researchable if they permit systematic observation to see if the claims hold up 0 The Kitty Genovese case Murder case that many bystanders sat and watched and didn39t act Recreated in an experiment 0 Someone has a seizure in groups of 1 2 5 and the reactions are recorded in a 6 minute window 0 These are denoted as experimental conditions E1 E2 E3 0 Each condition features a different level degree of magnitude of the treatment group size Hypothesis o The larger the size of the bystander group the greater the length of time it takes for a subject to get help for the victim o The hypothesis sets out to test an idea about the diffusion of responsibility bystander effect 0 Findings 0 Everyone 100 of the subjects who had only other bystander around reported the emergency 0 62 of those with two other bystanders around reported the crisis 0 Less than onethird 33 of the subjects with 5 other bystanders around sought help 0 There was no difference in the reactions of male or female subjects in the study o It did not matter if the victim was a male voice or a female voice 0 Conclusion 0 The hypothesis is supported 0 The larger the group one thinks is also observing the person in distress the longer it takes that person to seek help 0 Variables quotPhenomenaquot that are linked together in a predicted relationship in a hypothesis are variables A property or attribute of what is being observed that can take on different values at least in principle Variables in the experiment 0 Group size 0 Response time 0 Gender of the victim Gender of the subject Dependent variable 0 The property or attribute of something that is being caused by something else the outcome Cause outcome quoteffectquot Dependent variable in experiment 0 Reaction time of subjects Independent variable 0 The property or attribute of something that produces an effect on the dependent variable Causeoutcome effect 0 Independent variable in experiment 0 Group size Unit of analysis 0 Level of which your observing the outcome 0 Unit of analysis for experiment 0 The individual Conceptualization Concept 0 A general idea derived or inferred from speci c instances or observations 0 Ex Emotional labor ability to managemanipulate your emotions for yourjob generally to maintain your cool and calm ie waiter police of cer doctor etc 0 Ex Groupthink 0 Something formed in the mind a thought or notion Use of metaphors social science concepts 0 Social science metaphors are generally spatial 0 Social strati cation the differentiation of people into groups based on income power prestige 0 Human capital Capital assets generally tangible resources Human capital knowledge and skills that people invest in school onthejob training generally intangible 0 Cognitive room Space used to keep track of the people39s lives that their closest to friends family associates 0 The standard view of concepts in science 0 Concepts should and can be valueneutral 0 Concepts are matters of intellect and conscious choice 0 If an individual researcher interjects valueladen ie biased concepts into hisher research the research community is there to intercede Lakoff and Johnson quotThe Metaphors we Live Byquot 0 Concepts are not just matter of the intellect 0 Concepts structure what we perceive how we get around in the world and how we related to other people 0 No one including scientists comes up with their own neutral concepts 0 The way we understand and communicate meanings is largely metaphorical 0 Things are quotthough aboutquot mostly in terms of a metaphor or image that relies on something 0 Metaphor the substitution of one idea or object with another used to assist expression or understanding 0 Argument is dif cult to express without resorting to these images 0 Thinking is dependent on metaphor o This is because our brain latch on to the strongest familiar image available when we re trying to understand something especially something new 0 Ex Argument as war Claims are quotindefensiblequot He quotcounterattackedquot while debating his quotopponentquot You quottake a positionquot 0 Ex quotTheoriesquot as buildings quotfoundationquot of the theory How your theory is quotstructuredquot o The metaphors that we live by that we quotthink withquot are typically Matters of habit Taken for granted no other quotobviousquot way to think about the idea Preconscious 0 We are rarely aware of the full implications of the concepts we work with because our concepts rely on metaphor for their meaning 0 We are rarely conscious of their existence quotin the backgroundquot 0 Control over metaphors is power 0 For professionals like scientists in western societies metaphors are tools of the trade 0 These metaphors concepts can dominate how research participants readers and viewers of media even perceive reality that a type of experience or phenomenon even exists o If the use of metaphor is built into our language therefore unavoidable and sociologists deploy metaphor in ways that quotframequot our awareness of what exists of how we think about things 0 Make sure evidence supports any metaphors used Operationalization Moving from research to hypothesis 0 Ex Has poverty increased in the US over the past 10 years 0 De ne what we mean by quotpovertyquot This is part of the work involved in conceptualization o Conceptualization the process of specifying what an abstract idea means making matters less vague 0 Most concepts are abstract enough to permit many sensible de nition Abstract Ex Poverty the state of having insufficient resources to maintain a minimal standard of living Good Ex Poverty living in a household with an income in the bottom 15 of all household incomes Abstract Ex Poverty experiencing hunger due to lack of incomeaccess to food on a regular basis 0 How do you decide which de nition is the best All of them have issues Conceptsvariable to measures 0 Variables Gender Ethnicity Educa on Age Marital status Socioeconomic status quotAnomiequot Durkheim Some are quotchoppyquot nature divides or sorts things into categories quotat their jointsquot Some are continuous nature aligns things along a continuum or scale one possesses quotmorequot or quotlessquot of a quality or characteristic Types 0 Nominal measures 0 Measures that are strictly categorical where there is no meaningful rank or ordering among the categories Ex yesno Ex east west Midwest south Ex truefalse Ordinal measures 0 Measures that are categorical but where the categories are inherently orderable or can be ranked Ex highest education degree completed Ex class grading ABCDF College class standing freshman sophomore junior lnterval measures 0 Measures that use a numeric scale but there are arti cially constructed and whose quot0quot value is not equal to the empty set Ex Fahrenheit temperature scale Ex Likert scales Ex IQ scores 0 Differences between ordinal and interval measures 0 For ordinal measures there is no uniform difference or distance between adjacent categories or values For interval measures the difference between adjacent values is considered to be uniform Ratiolevel measures 0 Like interval measures but where a quot0quot or some other value at the lowest end of the scale represents at least in principle a true quotempty setquot Ex annual earned income Ex of college credits earned Ex age 0 Measures Measures sometimes referred to as an indicator A concrete item that indicated the values on a variable for a given research case what we observe Common Formats 0 Open ended Close ended o Likert choose between numbers of strongly approvedisapprove Theory Hypothesis and Logic 0 Theory is an important source of quotraw materialquot for research questions for concepts and their de nitions and for hypothesis 0 Theoryguided research Conceptrich Packed with de nitions The concepts are logically related to each other in an argument and the author spells out these logical relations Often the quotlogic rulesquot that link concepts together are those of deductive reasoning Whittier39s argument is an example of deductive reasoning Functionalism o A theoretical approach that explains social phenomena in terms of their consequences for society particularly for the reproduction of social institutions and for maintaining social order or continuity o Theorists Emile Durkheim Robert Merton Talcott Parsons Con ict Theory 0 Focuses on struggle and con ict between groups as the primary forces in society emphasizes the underpinnings of social order 0 Theorists Karl Marx C Wright Mills 0 Theoretical propositions are the essential building blocks of theory 0 They take the form of simple declarative Educational attainment is the most important determinant of socioeconomic difference Traditional social bonds are based on mechanical social solidarity Durkheim Theoretical propositions from Whittier39s paper 0 The collective identity of a given cohort of social movement participants remains consistent over time o Cohort replacement contributes to change in social movements 0 A statement doesn39t count as a theoretical proposition UNLESS o It appears along with at least one other statement o It is a statement that is independent of a particular time or place ie it is universal in scope o Propositions are linked logically to the other statements compromising quottheoryquot which is a set of statements taking a certain form These linkages often take the form of If A then B If B then C 0 From the logic that links propositions in a theory one gets the set of rules for generating new propositions If A then B If B then C Therefore If A then C chain argument This generative property is an important characteristic theory 0 Example from theory on social strati cation 0 Children of elites in a society have greater access to educational resources 0 Those with greater access to educational resources are more likely to hold positions of power Logic Syllogisms o A syllogism is a threeline logical form 0 The rst two lines are propositions or premises 0 The last line draws a conclusion from those premises Why bother studying syllogisms 0 Certain kinds of syllogisms give logically true results If A then B If B then C If A then C This is an example of a chain argument a type of valid syllogism others include modus ponens and modus tonens Deductive reasoning o Reasoning that uses deductive arguments to move from given statements propositions to conclusions which must be true if the propositions are true 0 Syllogism argument Theoretical propositions bear fruit in two ways 0 They generate new propositions 0 They generate implications that can be tested through observation empirical implications Observation and Sampling Observation in research 0 Whittier studied radical feminist organizations in a single city Columbus Ohio 0 Can we say that these organizations are representative of all social movements 0 What are the advantages of studying social movement organizations in this setting Lesson from the Whittier article 0 All research involves making tradeo s o Whittier39s decision to look only at one social movement rad fem in one setting Ohio gave her the ability to observe what she needed to observe But it came at the quotcostquot of being able to generalize her ndings to all social movements Sampling 0 Sampling tools address concerns about observational bias All research includes some quoteligiblequot participants and excludes others Do our decisions about inclusionexclusion introduce bias into our ndings General sampling rules 0 Systematic observation Deciding whowhat will be included for observation should be systematic not haphazard o Representativeness The subset of observations selected should represent fully the larger group the researcher wants to make inferences about o It turns out that Drawing a random sample from the larger group one wants to make conclusions about is a systematic approach that ensures representativeness 0 Types of sampling Convenience sampling Asking whoever is closest Quick Cheap Vox Populi voice of the people 0 1907 Sir Francis Galton published paper in Nature that mathematically demonstrates quotwisdom of the crowdsquot o The quotManonthestreetquot interview is a popular sampling strategy of quotthe general publicquot used by the media Probability sampling 0 Every unit in the target population has a known probability chance of being selected into the sample 0 You can still have a representative probability sample if the sample is small less than 500 Simple random sample 0 Every unit in the target population has an equal probability of being selected into the sample 0 Best form of sampling 0 Conditions 0 A complete sampling frame 0 A quotrandom numbersquot generator or table 0 A decision about nal sample size Systematic sample 0 A variant of simple random sampling same conditions apply complete sampling frame Pick a desired sample size n cases in listn K Pick every Kth case in the list Advantages 0 Simple and fast 0 Avoids picking adjacent cases by chance Disadvantages 0 Can introduce bias if there is hidden regularity or patterning in the list Multistage cluster sample 0 Every element in the population has a known but usually equal chance of being selected into the sample 0 Used to draw sample from large populations when a sampling frame for the target population is not available 0 Either it is impossible or too expensive to compile an exhaustive list of all the elements in the target population 0 Conditions 0 Units in population must be naturally grouped or ordered 0 The quotgroupingsquot Cluster samples are used for most public opinion surveys and an important census survey called the Current Population Survey 0 These are usually multistage cluster samples involving 5 or more stages clusters Cluster sampling 0 EX State 1st cluster County 2nCI cluster Citytown 3rCI cluster City block 4th cluster Addresshousehold 5th cluster Adult 6th cluster 0 General rule how man clustershow many units within cluster 0 The sample will give results that are closer to the truth for the target population if more clusters are used and the number of cases per cluster is minimized smaller denominators 00000 O 0 Target population The population or universe of things you wish to make generalizations about 0 Sampling frame The tangible list or register of elements that one draws a sample from 0 Sample The collection of sampled cases that are taken from the sampling frame Desired properties of samples Representativeness Does the sample represent the target population Is it unbiased A function of o Completeness of sampling frames o How the sample was drawn random is ideal Sample accuracy 0 Does the sample give you results that are accurate estimates of the truth for the target population 0 Sampling accuracy is a function of the size of the sample N 0 Sample accuracy does not equal sample representativeness Reading charts graphs and tables 0 Sample statistics are estimates 0 Means medians averages all statistics using sample data are only estimates of the true mean median etc for the target population of any study 0 We want to calculate estimates that give us con dence that we are close to the target population truth this is de nes as accuracy 0 Finding patterns Create distributions 0 A distribution is a table or visual graph that shows for a set of observations sample the empirical occurrence of values for measured characteristics 0 Visual distributions 0 Pie chart Rare in social research Common in media Hard to compare pie quotwedgesquot across charts Can39t show order among observed categories Only used with nominal measures with few categories 0 Bar chart column chart In research more common than pie Can order categories from low to high along horizontal axis Easy to compare vertical distances 0 Line chart frequency polygon Common in research Can show order 0 Appropriate for ordinal and interval variables 0 Histograms Measure is typically continuous Bars touch usually Horizontal ticks can represent equal intervals 0 Time series Not usua distributions Show change over time Things to look out for 0 Axis distortion 0 0 Start or break vertical above zero Squeeze vertical or stretch horizontal Graphs Good advice 0 Be skeptical of O O O Stretched axes an honest aspect is 3 2 Axes that start or break above zero Graphs with many categoriesnumbers consider a table instead of a graph


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