Chapter 2 Sociological Investigation
Chapter 2 Sociological Investigation 1101
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by awilson28 on Monday January 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 1101 at Georgia State University taught by jung kim in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Intro to Sociology in Sociology at Georgia State University.
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Date Created: 01/25/16
Ashley Wilson Introduction to Sociology Chapter 2 Sociological Investigation Basics of Sociological Investigation 0 Sociological investigation starts with two simple requirements 1 Apply the sociological perspective this point of view reveals curious pattern of behavior all around us that call for further study 2 Be curious and ask questions 0 It was Lois Benjamin s sociological imagination that prompted her to wonder how race affects the lives of talented African Americans 0 A second kind of truth comes from recognized experts o A third type of truth is based on simple agreement among ordinary people 0 A fourth kind of knowing is science which is a logical system that bases knowledge on direct systematic observation 0 Scientific knowledge rests on empirical evidence information we can verify with our senses o The following statements many North Americans assume are true 1 quotPoor people are far more likely than rich people to break the law Not true 2 quotThe united States is middleclass society in which most people are more or less equal False 3 quotMost poor people don t want to work Wrong 4 quotDifference in the behavior of females and males are just human nature Wrong 5 quotPeople changes as they grow old losing many interests as they focus on their health Not really 6 quotMost people marry because they are in love 0 These example confirm the old saying that quotit s not what we don t know that gets us into trouble as much as the things we do know that just aren t so Three Ways to Do Sociology o Positivist sociology study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior 0 Concept a mental construct that represents some aspect of the world in a simplified form 0 Variable a concept whose value changes from case to case 0 Measurement procedure of determining the value of the variable in a specific case 0 Requires carefully operationalizing variable and ensuring that measurement is both reliable valid 0 Observes how variables are related and tries to establish cause and effect seen an objective reality quotout there 0 Operationalize a variable specifying exactly what is to be measured before assigning a value to a variable 0 Reliability consistency in measurement 0 Validity actually measuring exactly what you intend to measure 0 Cause and effect relationship in which change in one variable independent variable causes change in another dependent variable 0 Independent variable variable that causes the change 0 Dependent variable variable that changes Ashley Wilson Introduction to Sociology o Linking variables in terms of cause and effect is important because it allows us to predict the outcome of future events if we know one thing we can accurately predict another 0 Just because two variables change together does not mean that they are linked by a cause and effect relationship 0 Correlation the relationship in which two or more variables change together 0 Spurious correlation apparent but false relationship between two or more variables that is caused by some other variable 0 Control holding constant all variables except one in order to see clearly the effect one in order to see clearly the effect of the variable 0 Three requirements to establish cause and effect 1 A demonstrated correlation 2 An independent variable that occurs before the dependent variable 3 No evidence that a third variable could be causing a spurious correlation o Objectivity personal neutrality in conducting research 0 Objectivity means that researchers carefully hold to scientific procedures and do not let their own attitudes and beliefs influence the results 0 German sociologist Max Weber expected that people would select their research topics according to their personal beliefs and interests 0 Replication repetition of research by other investigators o Favors quantitative data 0 Science has several important limitations 1 Human behavior is too complex for sociologists to predict any individuals actions precisely 2 Because humans respond to their surroundings the presence of a researcher may affect the behavior being studied 3 Social patterns vary what is the true in one time or place may not hold true in another 4 Because sociologists are part of the social world they study they can never be 100 percent valuefree when conducting social research 0 Linked to structuralfunctional theory 0 Interpretive sociology study of society that focuses on discovering the meanings people attach to their social world 0 Interpretive sociology differs from positivist sociology in four ways 0 First positivist sociology focuses on actions 0 Second positivist sociology claims that objective reality exists quotout there but interpretive constructed by people in the course of their everyday lives 0 Third positivist sociology tends to favor quantitative data numerical measurements of people s behavior 0 Fourth positivist orientation is best suited to research in a laboratory 0 Linked to symbolicinteraction theory 0 Critical sociology study of society that focuses on the need for social change 0 Asks moral and political questions 0 Focuses on inequality 0 Critical sociology is an activist orientation that tries knowledge to action and seeks not just to understand the world as it exists but also improve it Ashley Wilson Introduction to Sociology o Linked to socialconflict theory Gender and Research 0 Gender personal traits and social positions that members of society attach to being female or male 0 Gender involving both researcher and subjects can affect research in five ways 1 Androcentricity focus on the male refers to approaching an issue from a male perspective 2 Overgeneralizing problem occurs when researchers use data drawn from people of only one sex to support conclusion about humanity or quotsocietyquot 3 Gender blindness failing to consider gender at all 4 Double standards researchers must be careful not to distract what they study by judging men and women differently 5 Interference subject reacts to the sex of the researchers interfering with the research operation Research Ethics 0 Researchers must 0 Protect the privacy of subjects 0 Obtain the informed consent of subjects 0 Indicate all sources of funding 0 Submit research to an institutional review board to ensure it doesn t violate ethical standards Research Methods 0 Experiment research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions 0 Hypothesis statement of a possible relationship between two or more variables 0 Hypothesis typically takes the form of an ifthen statement o In an experiment a researcher gathers the evidence needed to reject or not to reject the hypothesis in four steps 1 State which variable is the independent variable and which is the dependent variable 2 Measure the initial value of the dependent variable 3 Expose the dependent variable to the independent variable 4 Measure the dependent variable able again to see what change if any took place 0 Another strategy to gain control is dividing subjects into an experimental group and a control group o In the late 1930s the Western Electric Company hired researchers to investigate worker productivity in its Hawthorne factory near Chicago 0 Hawthorn effect a change in a subject s behavior caused simply by the awareness of being studied 0 Survey a research method in which subjects respond to a series of statements or questions on a questionnaire or in an interview 0 Surveys typically yield descriptive findings painting a picture of people s views on some issue 0 Population the people who are the focus of research 0 Sample a part of population that represents the whole Ashley Wilson Introduction to Sociology Researchers can be sure that a sample really represent the entire population by random samplings in which researchers draw a sample from the population at random so that every person in the population has an equal chance of being selected Questionnaire a series of written questions a researcher presents to subjects One type of questionnaire provides not only the questions but also a selection of fixed responses closedended format makes it fairly easy to analyze the results but by narrowing the range of responses it can also distort the findings A second type open ended format allows subject to respond freely expressing various shades of opinion Researchers use a selfadministered survey mailing or emailing questionnaires to respondents and asking them to complete the form and send it back Interview a series of questions a researcher asks respondents in person In both questionnaires and interviews how a question is worded greatly affect how people answer Snowball sampling occurs because the number of individuals included grows rapidly over time Participant observation research method in which investigates systematically observe people while joining them in their routine activities Cultural anthropologists use participant observation to study other societies calling this method fieldwork and calling their research result an ethnography Use of existing sources a research method in which a researcher uses data already collected by others The Interplay of Theory and Method Inductive logical thought reasoning that transforms specific observations into general theory moves upward Deductive logical thought reasoning that transforms general theory into specific hypotheses suitable for testing moves downward Putting it all Together Ten Steps in Sociological Investigation PFNPWPPP What is your topic What have others already learned What exactly are your questions What will you need to carry out research Are there ethical concerns What method will you use How will you record the data What do the data tell you What are your conclusions 10 How can you share what you ve learned
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