Section IV

# Section IV - Section IV Exploring Ways of Understanding...

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Section IV. Exploring Ways of Understanding Your Interests: Propositions, Theory, and Hypotheses Proposition A statement of relationship between or among two concepts Test propositions with data Are hypotheses; none can ever be "proven" absolutely true Vary in abstraction level Occur under certain conditions Typologies to evaluate the nature of the relationship Typology 1 Causal or Associated Is there merely an association between two concepts or is there a causal relationship? If the relationship is determined causal, it may be controllable Causality is difficult to determine Directionality Can be positive or negative Positive relationship: as a change occurs in one variable, a similar change occurs in the other (as x goes up, y goes up or as x goes down, y goes down) Negative/inverse relationship: the variables change in an opposite manner (as x goes up, y goes down) Shape The curve of the relationship between the graphed variables Used to describe the relationship mathematically Relationship may be linear or nonlinear, i.e., it can take any shape. We try to describe that shape mathematically Strength The percent of variance in Y explained by X (r2 -- the square of the correlation coefficient between the two variables; this does not indicate causality , only the strength of the relationship. More on this later). Conditions under which the relationship holds true

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Most, if not all, relationships among variables found in the social sciences are conditional, i.e., the relationship is contingent on the presence of other variables or conditions Typology 2 (Hans Zetterberg - On Theory and Verification in Sociology ) Reversible or Irreversible Can the statement of relationship be reversed and retain the meaning? i.e., A leads to B and B leads to A vs. A leads to B but B never leads to A. Deterministic or Stochastic Deterministic: the relationship always occurs Stochastic: the relationship occurs a certain % of the time i.e., A always leads to B vs. A sometimes leads to B. Sequential or Coextensive Sequential: if x then later y will occur Coextensive: if x then immediately y will occur Sufficient or Contingent Will the relationship occur by itself or is it contingent on another variable? i.e., if A then B regardless of anything else vs. if A then B only if C is present Necessary or Substitutable Is one necessary for the relationship or will other variables have the same reaction? i.e., is TV violence necessary for children to be aggressive or are there other variables that will make them aggressive? If A and only if A, then B vs. if A then B, if C than B Theory A set of interrelated propositions from which a testable hypothesis can be deduced A general proposition Can explain past and present reality and predict future realities Most important criteria for a theory: utility in prediction and explanation, parsimony, symmetry Hypothesis A specific prediction based on the theory Two logical methods:
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Section IV - Section IV Exploring Ways of Understanding...

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