Notes - 1/17/2008 All research begins with a question o...

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1/17/2008 All research begins with a question o Before you form a question you have to figure out if you can find the answer o Epistemology The science of knowing o Methodology The science of finding out o Tenacity Ideas that are accepted over time; referred to as knowledge o Empiricism Gaining knowledge through observation o Intuition What feels correct o Faith and religion Authority o Rationalism Using the principles of logic and reason o Experience Relying on ones experience over time Focus on Empiricism o Closely related to the scientific process o There are seven reasons why its important in the social sciences Gives a sense of legitimacy Basis of authority Although it can lead people to blindly accept a false authority Brings us as close as we can get to certainty and truth Significant way to counter or support purely ideological positions Gives us a common ground for debate Operates within certain boundaries Building block that helps to bridge the gap between concept and reality The most common error with empirical work o Errors in observation Selective observation We only see what we want to see 1
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Inaccurate observation Simple human error o Over-generalization o Illogical reasoning Prematurely jumping to conclusions before you’ve had the opportunity to observe effectively o Resistance to change Four types of social science research o Descriptive Attempt to describe some concept, idea, or phenomenon o Exploratory No expectation about outcome, findings or conclusions o Explanatory Looks for cause and effect in an attempt to explain o Evaluation Looks at some program or policy to determine an impact or significance 1/22/2008 Research is not simply locating sources and literature and reporting on them Research is a systematic process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data The purpose is to answer some social question or solve some social problem Eight characteristics of research o Begins with a question or some sort or problem o All research has a goal o There is always a plan, something that explains what to do and how to do it o Research is manageable o Research is guided by specific theories, methods, and predictions so that there is logic to the process o Research involves making assumptions o Research involves interpretation o Research is a cyclical process You start and end with a question Research methodology The plan or general approach to carrying out the project Fundamentals 2
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o Questions often arise from theory disputes o Functionalism Has roots in the work of Emile Durkheim Traditional vs. Modern societies Traditional societies are rooted in communities with strong kinship ties These societies tend to be homogeneous The modern society has replaced the traditional with a basis on the individual Fierce competition exists in modern society The kinship has been transformed into association
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Notes - 1/17/2008 All research begins with a question o...

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