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Soc 203 Notes

Soc 203 Notes - Thursday Using a Sociological Imagination...

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Thursday January 15, 2009 Using a Sociological Imagination For the remainder of the course, I’d like you to use a sociological imagination This means: -distinguishing between troubles and issues -system blaming not person blaming -adopting a critical perspective Start with yourself, Imagine five ways in which your identity or experience are different from that of someone a generation older than you or someone from another country. How do sociologists study the social world? Sociology as Science -Sociology is the scientific study of the social world meaning that we produce data in a systematic, predictable fashion -Using a scientific paradigm we hope to reduce personal biases and collect information on the world as it actually exists Research Question -Sociologists typically begin an investigation with a research question -does workplace surveillance lead to worker resistance -what effect do social networks have on the mobility of professional football coaches? -Why do people home school their children? Bias in Research Questions -At this first stage in the research process, there is already potential for bias, simply in our selection of questions eg the question, why do juvenile delinquents have the attitudes they do about the law, implies that the attitude of delinquents leads them to commit crime, not structural factors -students tend to focus on the experiences of oppressed groups leaving privileged groups unquestioned. Review the Literature - examine what earlier researchers have already found - search journal articles where most sociologists publish their findings or examine government stats - what is known? What is unknown? - Social Theory -using empirical data and sociological reasoning, sociologists build social theory, or a framework for understanding some aspect of social reality eg feminist theory, Marxist theory Hypotheses -using social theory and empirical findings as a guide researchers state what they expect their study will reveal eg workplace surveillance leads workers to engage in acts of resistance eg aspiring football coaches who know established coaches experience mobility more than those who do not -independent variable- the cause, or the variable that explains or predicts the dependent variable -dependent variable- the outcome being studied Causality -when changes to the independent variable, x, result in changes to the dependent variable y -Two approaches Quantitative: research involving numbers
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eg polls, tracking trends over time Qualitative: research that doesn’t involve numbers Validity and Reliability Validity- the degree to which a measure truly reflects the phenomenon under the study -The accuracy of your research findings, did you measure/find what you think you measured/found Reliability: the extend to which a measure produces consistent results Ways Sociologists Gather Information -Surveys -Observation -Experiment -Existing sources Surveys A means by which to obtain info on peoples beliefs values attitudes perceptions behaviors and/or feelings
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Soc 203 Notes - Thursday Using a Sociological Imagination...

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