Max Weber.docx - Comparative Studies by developing a...

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3 1 S o c i o < < < To determine the effect of playing an instrument on GPA accurately, though, you’ll need to control these variables. Control variables are variables that are kept constant to accurately test the impact of an independent variable. These variables must be controlled because they might influence the results, which would lead the researcher to a false conclusion. If you compare the GPAs of students who play instruments to the GPAs of students who don’t play instruments, you have to make sure that all other factors are equal. If all the students who don’t play instruments also have learning disabilities, then you’ll get skewed results. You’d have no way of determining whether the students’ disability caused the poor GPA or if it was the absence of a musical gift. Control variables ensure that you are testing only the independent variable. CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP is a relationship in which one condition leads to a certain consequence. CAUSATION is the relationship between cause and effect. CORRELATION is an indication that one factor might be the cause for another factor. POSITIVE CORRELATION includes two variables that move in a parallel direction. NEGATIVE CORRELATION occurs when variables move in opposite directions. SPURIOUS CORRELATION occurs when two variables appear to be related, but actually have a different cause. SOCIAL RESEARCH is investigation conducted by social scientists. LITERATURE REVIEW is a study of relevant academic articles and information. THEORY is a comprehensive and systematic explanation of events that lead to testable predictions. HYPOTHESIS involves a suggestion about how variables relate. CONCEPTS are abstract ideas that are impossible to measure. OPERATIONALIZING is turning abstract ideas into something measurable. Cause and Correlation A causal relationship is one in which a condition or variable leads to a certain consequence. To understand causal relationships, you need to recognize the difference between causation and correlation. Causation is the relationship between cause and effect. Suppose I let go of a pencil. Gravity causes the pencil to fall to the floor. According to the law of gravity, the same cause results in the same effect every time. Correlations, unlike causes, are not laws because they do not guarantee a certain effect. Instead, a correlation is an indication that one factor might be a cause for another factor. Consider this correlation using the variable we discussed: Students who play musical instruments generally have higher GPAs than students who don’t play an instrument. There is a correlation between the study of music and one’s GPA. However, that doesn’t mean that playing an instrument will always result in a higher GPA. There are other factors that come into play, such as how much you study and whether you apply what you learn. Unlike gravity, the correlation between instrumental music and grades is not a law .
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