Week 2 Chapter 2 Notes
Week 2 Chapter 2 Notes SOC 1300 - DORSEY
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Briana Johnson on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 1300 - DORSEY at University of Houston taught by Patricia Dorsey in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 115 views.
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Date Created: 09/02/16
Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information Introduction to Sociology (SOC 13887) FA 2016: Patricia Dorsey WEEK 1 NOTES Chapter 2: Studying the Social World (Notes from Book and Lecture) Overview Origins of sociology o Young academic discipline o Urbanization o Industrialization o Political change Sociology’s historical context o Auguste Comte (1798 - 1859) Coined the term “Sociology” o Emil Durkheim (1858 - 1917) Father of sociology First European sociology department/journal o University of Chicago First U.S. colligate sociological department, 1895 Why Study Sociology – Daniel Little o Most interdisciplinary o Different units of analysis o Wider range of connections than other social sciences Individual choice or personal taste is really a byproduct of society because you would want to “fit in” or be to be socially accepted, etc. o What you’re exposed too growing up o Fads o Learn who you are through societies o Availability to resources First wisdom of sociology “Nothing is what it seems” – Peter Berger We take our own lives for granted because its normal us Cultural shocks Professional peeping toms Sociologist often cross paths with historians or “social travelers” to get a better understanding of social context “Sociology is the discipline that gives the greatest attention to social difference” Social integration Study the diverse contexts and how society influences individuals o Contexts distinguish between Social interaction (modification of behavior) Social structure (hierarchies/institutions) Individual lives unfold in contexts Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information o Education o Organizations available and accessed o Neighborhoods and communities o Family (Income, education level, race, ethnicity) o Employment o Historical period of birth Pat Sharkey – o Studied the link between neighborhood violence and school performance o Violence can be absorbed and transmitted through the community o Children experiences effect their performance at school Mommy Baby Prison study – o one way to stop the familiar prison cycle of imprisonment was to keep women and children together o women/mothers in these types of facilities had lower repeat arrest rates than those who served traditionally. o The children did not suffer growing up in the prison. They received three nutritious meals a day, good childcare, education, healthcare, and had other kids to play with o It was the mothers suffering as they had no parental power/guidance over their children o No maternal authority and lack of privacy Ethnographers – sociologist who enter the everyday lives of those they are studying in hopes of understanding how they navigate and give meaning to their world. o Participant observation o Participant & observer o Arlie Hochschild Household work in marriages “second shift” – when women come home from work they start their second shift of work, or household task o Key informant o Field work Sociologist first talk about the questions they want to ask then think about how they want to ask it Clifford Geertz – o Coined term “thick description” “understanding of understanding” o Context: who, what, when, where, why, how o Idea of intentions, judgment, and assumptions get identified o Introduces social norms Where Do Sociological Questions Come from? We’re surrounded by issues every day that are intriguing Job of sociologist is to turn these problems into researchable questions Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information Before conducting research ask yourself do I already know the answer to that question because the job of sociologist is to ask questions they don’t know the answer to and answer it systematically Questions usually come from experiences that sociologist have encountered It is important to ask researchable and clear questions Steps in the Scientific Method Define topic Review literature Develop questions & hypotheses Select research methods Collect data Analyze and write conclusion Share Research methods or data sources o Experiments o Surveys o Participants o Archival The Building Blocks of Sociological Research Quantitative research – research that relies on statistical analysis of data Qualitative research – research that relies on words, observations, or pictures as data All sociological research shares basic building blocks o Ways of asking questions o Approaching data collection o Making generalization Moving from Research Topics to Research Question The hard part of research is not deciding which subject to research The hard part is narrowing down that subject and focusing on one topic to break down and research Hypothesis – tentative prediction we have about what we are going to discover before we begin the research Research questions also imply a critical role for what others have already found and written about The Complexities of Research Questions There are at least six questions sociologist should ask about a potential research question o 1 – Do I already know the answer? If so, find another question Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information You want to ask questions that are new with a systematic retrieval of an answer Questions that are asked should strive to produce new knowledge o 2 – Is the question researchable? All questions asked should be 100% researchable/answerable Some questions may seem researchable but would require data that we could never get access too Causality – belief that one factor is leading to changes in another that can’t be substituted with the data accessible to us o 3 – Is this question clear? Clear questions come from clear thinking; meaning if a question seems unclear it probably means the thinking underlying it isn’t clear Do not make assumptions while thinking of a question o 4 – Does the question have a connection to social scientific scholarship? Sociologist connect their questions to existing literature in many ways Sociologist don’t have to read everything before they form a research question they just need to have at least a general idea about the debates in the area as well as concepts and framework that structure those debates o 5 – Does the question balance the general and the specific? Is the question too broad or too specific? o 6 – Do I care about the answer? If we do not care about our research/work, chances are no one else will either Also if you do not care about the work you won’t be willing to put in the necessary time or effort On the contrary, you also don’t want to care too much Want to research from a sociologist stand point and not from the stand point of an activist How Do We Know What to Study? Sociologist find themselves asking sociological questions that have personal significance For others the pull to research certain questions is more political There are many factors that shape sociologist choices about what to research o Social research Epistemology Ethics Values & morals Theoretical Tradition Epistemology – what we think we can know about the world Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information When we have discussions in our everyday lives we make epistemological decisions Positivism – the belief that the only true way to gain knowledge about the world is to use the logic of the natural sciences to distance ourselves from what we study, using universal standards to advance truth claims, determining cause and effect and generalizing from part to whole Interpretivism – those who believe that our objective of investigation is too difficult; to understand how people give meaning to social life, objectives, and process. How they make sense of social reality and navigate social interaction Theoretical Traditions – the conceptual framework that sociologist use to imagine and make sense of the world Values – the beliefs system that shape sociologist view of and perspectives on the world we study Code of Ethics – set of guidelines that outlines what is considered moral and acceptable behavior Informed Consent – the act of protecting those sociologist study and not doing them any harm. Also by making the study participation voluntary. Institutional Review Board – operates at most universities and are required at all universities that receive research funds to help researchers foresee any potential dangers and to safe guard the ethical standards of their work Ethical Standards for Sociological Research – o Professional and scientific standards o Competence o Conflict of interest o Research planning, implementations, and dissemination o Informed consent o Confidentiality What is the Best Method to Research a Sociological Question? A method is a means of ending so you shouldn’t decide a method before you think about a research question Best way to approach a social science is to be intrigued by a topic, narrow it down to a researchable question and then the method reflects the question Once you’ve decided which question to ask you will need to figure out the method in which you’ll research the who, what, where, when and how Operationalize – when you spell out the operations and techniques to be used to assess our key concepts Once these measures are decided in terms of variables, the factors, attributes and phenomenon’s studies help researchers separate independent and dependent variables. Surveys – asking standardized questions to a large group of people o Respond to standardized questions o Questionnaire Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information o Population – people who are the focus o Sample – part of population Interviews – in-depth one on one questions Ethnographic Research – observing peoples everyday lives Experiments – creating artificial situations that enable people to watch how people respond to things Historical Research – studying records and documents to understand how people, places, or things worked in the past The method used depends on the question being asked Many studies go wrong when they ask a good researchable question but gather data that won’t help them Choosing a research method is complicated and complex How is Data Collected? Sociologist have to always worry about validity and reliability Once you’ve got your question and your method you then have to deal with the nuts and bolts, the nitty gritty of research General Social Survey – a general survey which is done twice a year to cover a range of topics of interest to social sciences Scientific Methods of Collecting Data Probability Sampling – creating samples to mirror a larger population and reflect its characteristics or dynamics Reliability (in measurements) – looking to see if they used the same measurement technique in an additional study, they would end up with the same or similar results Validity - whether the measurement a researcher uses is actually accurate Sampling – deciding who or what to include in a study Random Sampling – Everyone or everything being studied has an equal chance of being selected for study Representative Sampling – making sure characteristics of a s ample reflect those of the total population they are studying Respondent – person participating in the study Demographic Data – Information on the size, structure, or distribution of the population Decisions on sampling also hinge on the issue of access Good researchers spend a significant amount of time on their data collecting The most time intensive form of data collection is ethnographic research Sociologist learn to pace themselves and not to assume they will collect data as fast as others want them too Collecting new insights on the world is the most powerful and rewarding activities sociologist engage in Different methods in sociology highlight different dilemmas Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information Comparative – Historical Methods and the Complexity of Comparison Some questions sociologist want to study have an important time dimension to them, meaning they invade history and historical processes Comparative – Historical Perspective – a method of analysis that examines a social phenomenon over time or in a different place Sociologist who study history typically do so make comparisons over time and context Charles Tilly – developed a method for reconstructing new sources of data that allows for surveys and comparisons overtime Cross – National Comparisons – explaining the differences between countries and understanding why some outcomes are observed in one country but not another Max Weber – o The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism The classic of social sciences Wanted to know why capitalism as an economic system was thriving in some parts of Europe but not others Noted that the regions of Europe in the early 1900’s that were the most economically successful tended to be areas where protestants were dominate Theda Skocpol – o States and Social Revolutions Asked why were revolutions from below that brought into existence new kinds of governments in France and China but not in other cases A crisis in government institutions, further international pressures on the government caused by either failed or financial problems and wide spread revolts Scientific Methods and the Complications of Causality Biggest fear for sociologist conducting statistical analysis is determining techniques to improve their ability to make causal inferences Correlation – going beyond simply documenting that two social phenomenon’s appear together Casual Inference – if it is likely that one thing caused another Coleman Report – o James Coleman o Put in charge of the effort to gather “required” statistics during standardized school testing that included: race, color, religion, and national origin o Was about 1,000 pages Spurious Relationship – when two factors seem to move in the same direction but both are themselves caused by something else Cross–Sectional – data collected all at one point in time Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information Longitudinal – data collected over a long period of time Interview Methods and the Dilemmas of Sampling Survey interviews – close ended exchanges from the basis of most quantitative data o Ex: U.S. Census In-depth interviews – highly structured or unstructured in terms of precise order of wording of questions and seek to get at peoples perspectives on some aspect of social life Life History and Ora History Interviews – taking respondents through different events and stages in their lives to elicit memories All interviews share key strengths and weaknesses Strengths o Ability to get at how people make sense of their world Interviews also allow sociologist to give a voice to people who are often silenced Difficulties o Difficult to turn a research question into a series of focused interview questions o Also difficult to make sense of data from interviews o Difficult to draw interview samples which can make or break the research If you want to examine how an issue is experienced you need to draw a sample from people who have actually had that experience Edin 1997 o Team set out to study how low income single mothers viewed marriages Ethnographic Methods and the Challenges of Theory Ethnographers have to decide where to locate their observations After picking a site to make observations they then have to decide who and what to observe Ethnography is a continuum Field Work – carrying on research in foreign countries The real strengths of ethnographic analysis is that it can produce some of the richest most nuanced accounts of social life Ethnographers main strength can also be its central weakness Duneier – o 1999 o Study on homeless men and street vendors in NYC Extended Case Study – a way of doing ethnography that emphasizes its contribution to social theory (Burnawoy) When ethnographers go into the field they should go armed with concepts and theories they want to hold up to society Yellow highlight – class title and week notes information Blue highlight – titles and subheadings Green highlight – definitions or important terms/information Ethnographers job is to revise social theories in light of what they observe in that world How Do Sociologist Make Sense of Their Finding? Data Analysis – to make sense of what data is found and look for patterns across it Work Heavily – great deal of work occurring before data is collected Back Heavy – analytical worked saved for the post data collection phase Think about data as pieces of a larger puzzles and the job of the researcher is to put them together Data Coding – organizing the data according to key categories and concepts Data Display - visual images of patterns forming in the data Research Memos – extended versions of research notes, usually organized analytically What do our Conclusions Tell us About the Social World? The goal of all work is to make reliable researchable conclusions Empirical Generalization – applying conclusions from finding to a larger population Theoretical Generalization – applying conclusions from findings to larger sociological processes Bump Up a Level of Generality (Luker 2010) – to bring findings to bear on a broader concept or theme
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