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NYU - SOC 301 - Study Guide - Final

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NYU - SOC 301 - Study Guide - Final

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background image Research Methods Study Guide  Lecture Slides  Lit Review and Ethics  -  Case Studies—Strengths   o  Conceptual Validity  
o  Heuristic Impact 
o  Causal Mechanisms Identification  
o  Ability to capture complexity and trace processes  
o  Calibration  
o  Holistic elaboration  
-  Case Studies—Weaknesses   o  Oftentimes not replicable 
o  Question of generalizability  
o  Risk of strong involvement of researcher (objectivity) 
o  Difficult to draw a definite cause/effect from case studies  
-  Across-Case Studies—Strengths   o  Focus on relation among features  
o  Reliable, replicable 
o  Put theories to a test 
o  Test causal mechanisms 
-  Across-Case Studies—Weaknesses   o  Oftentimes do not allow for the same level of detail as case studies 
o  Question if measurements capture concepts adequately  
o  May put too much emphasis on numbers and effects (and disregard their meaning) 
o  Can be costly 
-  Cross-Sectional: Observe a selection of people at one time  o  How large is the disadvantage (e.g. in wages)? What are associated risk factors?... 
o  Fast and easy to answer questions on risk factors 
-  Time Series: Observe different people at multiple times  o  Did the disadvantage grow over time?... 
o  Changing macro conditions or outcomes 
-  Panel: Observe the exact same people at two or more times  o  Does the disadvantage change when the context changes? How well can formal  degrees reduce the disadvantage?...  o  Focus on the effects of changing variables  -  Cohort: Observe people who shared an experience two or more times  o  Did the effects of discrimination decrease over time? Did family as an influencing  factor become more important over time (e.g. for school grades, transition into the 
labor market,…) 
o  Focus on changing effects over time   
background image -  Case Study: Observe a small set intensely over time  o  What are the exact factors that could drive the disadvantage? How do individuals  experience such a disadvantage?...  o  Focus on detailed mechanisms  -  Lit Review—Why do it?  o  You have a unique research question that is not already answered 
o  You get new ideas for interesting research questions 
o  You develop an idea what other factors will play a role when trying to answer 
your question  -  How to Find a Good Research Question   o  Find a gap in the research    Replicate research but with slight variations 
  Explore unexpected findings from previous research 
  Follow suggestions an author gives for future research  
  Extend an existing explanation or theory to a new topic or setting  
  Challenge previous findings or attempt to refute a relationship  
  Specify intervening processes and consider any linking relations 
o  Talk over your ideas 
o  Apply to a specific context  
  Like a subgroup, culture, or historical period that hasn’t been studied  before  o  Ask open-ended how and why questions about your topic until something sticks 
o  Ask the so what of your topic—why does it matter? 
o  Evaluate your research question for: 
  Relevance, clarity, complexity, empirical testability, scientific value,  vagueness, actual question vs statement of variables  -  What is the literature for Lit Review?  o  Books, journals, articles, studies, discussion papers, etc.  -  Ethics: What is not legitimate to do or what moral research procedures are 
-  Example of a Controversial Nonethical Study 
o  The Tearoom Trade—Laud Humphrey (1975)    Recognized that the public and law enforcement held stereotypical beliefs  about men who committed impersonal sexual acts with one another in 
public restroom 
  Wanted to find out who these men were and why they did this 
  Observed them and gained confidence of some 
  He disclosed his role as a scientist and persuaded them to tell him about 
their motives and personal lives    He secretly followed the men and recorded their license plate numbers  
  Came to their homes and claimed to be a health service interviewer 
-  P-hacking: Data mining to uncover patterns in data that can be presented as statistically  significant, without first devising a specific hypothesis as to the underlying causality   
background image -  Scientific misconduct   o  Falsifying or distorting data or methods of data collection 
o  Plagiarism/Not citing correctly/selling ideas as your own  
o  Departing from the generally accepted practices of the scientific community  
o  Research fraud: Faking data, falsely reporting how research was conducted  
o  Arriving at particular findings  
o  Unethical but legal: Legally copying parts of dissertations that do not have a 
copyright filed with the U.S. government  -  Misconduct involving research participants   o  Abuse of power and trust  
o  Disregarding confidentiality  
Respondents’ loss of dignity, self-esteem, privacy, democratic freedom, 
anonymity  
o  Embarrassing participants  
Physical or psychological harm to study’s participants   o  Putting participants in legal or economic jeopardy 
o  Research on human subjects without consent 
o  Deceiving about the true purpose of the study 
-  Informed Consent the best way to go  o  But not always possible 
o  Can compromise the research 
Also if studying people who can’t give consent (children, mentally disabled), then 
can’t get it 
-  Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)  o  All institutes/universities have them and they usually have to approve a study  Social Theory  -  Abend’s Seven Meanings of Theory  1.  A theory is a logically connected set of general propositions that establishes a connection 
between two or more variables  
2.  A theory is an explanation of a specific social phenomenon that identifies a set of 
causally relevant factors or conditions  
3.  A theory provides insights into the real meaning of a social phenomenon by offering an 
illuminating interpretation and by telling us “what it is all about”  
4.  A theory is what a famous social thinker really meant   5.  A theory is an entire worldview, or a way of seeing, interpreting, and understanding 
events in the world  
6.  A theory is a criticism based on a political-moral viewpoint; it presents and stands for a 
set of beliefs/values from which it critiques the position and arguments of opponents  
7.  A theory is a philosophical commentary on key questions or issues of how we develop 
knowledge about the social world (e.g. how we really construct a sense of social reality) 
 
 
background image -  The difference between a theory and an explanation?  o  Social theory consists of interconnected abstract ideas 
o  It condenses knowledge about the social world 
o  Explanations can be partial theories 
o  But explanations don’t explicitly refer to reasons and mechanisms  
-  Parts of a Theory: Assumptions  o  Statements about the nature of human being, phenomena, social reality 
o  Often times not observable or empirically testable 
o  Necessary starting points 
-  Parts of a Theory: Concepts  o  Building blocks 
o  May alter their meaning over time (social networks, sexism, etc.) 
o  Can be close to reality or ideal types 
o  Need to explain and translate concepts 
o  Vary to level of abstraction (may have multiple definitions) 
o  Vary to level of complexity (may have multiple dimensions) 
-  Parts of a Theory: Relationships  o  Social theories specify relationships among concepts  
Needed to specify “why” we observe social phenomena   o  Kind of relationship: direction and strength 
o  Form of relationship: causal, structural  
-  Parts of a Theory: Units of Analysis  o  Units: Individual people, groups, organizations, etc. 
o  Tailor theoretical concepts to apply to one or more of these units  
-  Inductive Theorizing  o  Observing the empirical world  
o  Reflecting on what is taking place and thinking in increasingly abstract ways 
“Grounded theory”  o  Concrete  abstract  
o  Examples: The Pigeon Flyers Study 
-  Deductive Theorizing  o  Start with abstract concepts/theoretical propositions  
o  Evaluate the concepts and propositions against observable empirical evidence 
o  Abstract concrete 
o  Example: Pager- The Mark of a Criminal Record 
-  Micro-Level Theory  o  Social theory focusing on the micro-level of social life (face-to-face interactions)  -  Macro-Level Theory  o  Social theory focusing on the macro-level of social life (institutions, societies,  etc.)  -  Substantive Theory   o  Focus on particular content or topic area in social reality  
o  Sometimes difficult to generalize across topic areas 

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School: New York University
Department: Sociology
Course: Research Methods
Professor: Malte Reichelt
Term: Fall 2016
Tags: sociology
Name: Research Methods Final Exam Study Guide
Description: Since we all have access to the lecture slides I just put the most important information into this. Then I added what we did in the review session. Lastly there's the homework questions and my answers to them. Good luck studying!
Uploaded: 12/10/2016
20 Pages 49 Views 39 Unlocks
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