Exam 1 Questions


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REVIEW QUESTIONS SOCIAL PROBLEMS - EXAM 1 Introduction 1. What makes a problem a “social problem”? What are the criteria for a phenomenon to be considered a social problem, according to most sociologists? (R,L) A social problem has been defined as “a collective object of concern, a condition felt to pertain to society as a whole or to important parts of it, and believed to be both undesirable and changeable.” A social problem must be: Social in Origin o Comes from society o A threat caused by social action Social in Definition Social in Treatment o Must have the potential to be socially remedied Factors that define a condition as problematic: The number of people believed to be affected The perceived gravity of the affliction The perceived injustice of their condition Whether those who cause their misfortune do so deliberately The type of group that first diagnoses the inequity The type of group disseminating knowledge on the problem The means the group adopts to publicize the situation The groups degree of public access Their degree of access to those in power The ideological and cultural readiness of the society The strength of the groups whose vested interest would be hurt by a redress of the situation The degree of potential harm to such groups 2. What is critical reasoning ? What factors should you consider in determining the adequacy of evidence ? What are the requirements for cause and effect relationships? How do empirical, conceptual, and evaluative statements differ? How do sociologists approach values when they study social problems? (R) Critical reasoning is a special way of looking at the world. People make choices in deciding to apply critical reasoning to things that matter to them. Webster’s definition: critical reasoning-an effort to see a thing clearly, clearly, and impartially so that not only may the good in it may be distinguished from the bad and the perfect from the imperfect, but also that it as a whole may be fairly judged and valued. A more specific definition: critical reasoning-the assessment of the logical and empirical adequacy of a nonfictional statement. A statement is considered adequate if it is sufficient for the purpose at hand. Empirical adequacy refers to the extent to which a statement is supported by factual information. As critical thinkers readers need to determine the adequacy of: Definition of the problem Supporting evidence Statements about cause-effect relationships Value assertions or assumptions Logical consistency in the line of reasoning about solutions No rules of evidence can be used to determine the adequacy of secondary sources, but some issues must be kept in mind: Accessibility Autheticity Internal consistency Carefulness of generalization Expertise Objectivity
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Key elements of cause-effect relationships: why & how. Why does the problem exist? How did it become so serious? Identifying cause-effect relationships is not always easy. Steps involved include asking basic questions of why and how,
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