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KEY CONCEPTS AND ISSUES CHAPTER 1 The nature of scientific knowledge *Errors in everyday / non-scientific reasoning: overgeneralization ,-occurs when we unjustifiably conclude that what is true for some cases is true for all cases selective / inaccurate observations -choosing to look only at things that are in line with out preferences or beliefs. illogical reasoning -when we prematurely jump to conclusions or argue on the basis of invalid assumptions resistance to change -reluctance to change our ideas in light of new info is a common problem. * key principles underlying process of science: e mpiricism -ways of understanding the world based on what we experience from our senses, objectivity -"value-free" research,Description, Replication . Control- the ability to rule out all possible competing explanations * the nature of scientific questions--Questions of fact rather than of value. Use empirical data * criteria for "good" scientific questions: feasibility -preliminary given the time and resources available. Social importance, scientific relevance * major goals / purposes of research : Help organize and make sense of empirical observations. Help prevent us being taken in by flukes. Help us predict future observations. exploratory research -how people get along in the setting under question, what meaning they give to their actions, and what issues concern them. Provides beginning familiarity with a topic. descriptive research -the findings simply describe differences or variations in social phenomena. Describes situations and events.
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explanatory research- seeks to identify causes and effects of social phenomena and to predict how one phenomenon will change or bar in response some variation in some other phenomenon. Goes beyond description to examine causes and reasons. evaluation research - research that describes or identifies the impact of social policies and programs. Research to assess the efficacy of a social program or other type of intervention. Elements of research design Relationship between theory and empirical research- social theory is a logically interrelated set of propositions about empirical reality. * deduction – Starting with a social theory and then testing some of it implications with data * induction – By collecting data then developing a theory that explains it. * hypotheses - A tentative statement about empirical reality, involving a relationship between 2 or more variables * variables - characteristic or property that can take on different values/attributes. * attributes - The set of possible values taken on by the variable * dependent variable - outcome of interest. Variable that is supposed to vary depending on or under the influence of another variable. Depends on another variable. * independent variable
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course SOCIOLOGY 102 taught by Professor Mcdonald during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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