Textbook Babbie ch. 2

Textbook Babbie ch. 2 - 30 I Chapter I : Human Inquiry and...

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Unformatted text preview: 30 I Chapter I : Human Inquiry and Science I A' $111: 2. As you review. take advantage of the CengageNOW feedback, Internet EXETCISES, Flash Cards, Glossaries, personalized study plan, based on your quiz and Essay Quizzes, as well as lnfoTrac College Edition results. Use this study plan with its interactive search terms, suggestions [or additional reading, Web exercises and other resources to master the Links. and primers for using data-analysis software -- ' material. such as SPSS. l e 0 W A _; I r I I, ~ _ 3. When you’re finished with your review, take the posttest to confirm that you’re ready to move on to the next chapter. and Social Research WEBSITE FOR THEPRACTICE 0F SOCIAI RESEARfH 12TH EDITION Go to your book's website at www.cengagecom/ sociology/babbie for tools to aid you in studying for your exams. You'll find Tutorial Quizzes with CHAPTER OVERVIEW ocial scrente mqurr IS an 4 m erplay theoryand research Iduc Ion 'E M a“ Introduction Deductin and Inductive I I ‘ Somefiodal Science Parading Reasoning: A Case Illustration ' Macrotheory and Microtheory A Graphic comm“ l Early’Positivism Deductive Theory Construction Social Darwinism Getting Started Conflict Paradigm Constructing Your Theory Symbolic Interactionism An Example, of Deductive Ethnomethodorogy Theory: Distributive Justice Slmcmral Funmonahsm Inductive Theory Construction Feminis‘ Paradigms An Example of Inductive Critical Race Theory Theory: Why Do People Rational Objectivity Smoke Marijuana? Reconsidered via-'W-Wmm' The Links between Theory and .JEIemems of Social Theory Research 'Two Logical :Systems Revisited fiesearch Ethics and Theory The Traditional Model of Science BengageNDw for Sociology Use this online tool to help you make the grade on your next exam. After reading this chapter, go to “Online Study Resources” at the end of the chapter for instructions on how to benefit from CengageNOW. 32 I (11.3th 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research Introduction Certain restaurants in the United States are fond of conducting political polls among their diners whenever an election is in the offing. Some take these polls very seriously because of their uncanny history of predicting winners. Some movie theaters have achieved Similar success by offering popcorn in bags picturing either donkeys or elephants. Years ago, granaries in the Midwest offered farm- ers a chance to indicate their political preferences through the bags of grain they selected. Such idiosyncratic ways of determining trends, though interesting, all follow the same pattern over time: They work for a while, and then they fail. Moreover, we can't predict when or why they will fail. These unusual polling techniques point to a significant shortcoming of “resea rch findings” that are based only on the observation of patterns. Un- less we can offer logical explanations for such pat- terns, the regularities we've observed may be mere flukes, chance occurrences. If you flip coins long enough, you’ll get ten heads in a row. Scientists might adapt a street expression to describe this situ- ation: “Patterns happen." Logical explanations are what theories seek to provide. Theories function in three ways in research. First, they prevent our being taken in by flukes. If we can't explain why Ma's Diner has so successfully predicted elections, we run the risk of supporting a fluke. If we know why it has hap- pened, we can anticipate whether or not it will work in the future. Second, theories make sense of observed pat- terns in a way that can suggest other possibilities. If we understand the reasons why broken homes produce more juvenile delinquency than intact homes dO—lack of supervision, for example—we can take effective action, such as after—school youth programs. Finally, theories shape and direct research ef- forts, pointing toward likely discoveries through empirical observation. If you were looking for your lost keys on a dark street, you c0uld whip your flashlight around randomly, hoping to chance upon the errant keys—or you could use your memory of where you had been and limit your search to more likely areas. Theories, by analogy, direct resea rch- ers’ flashlights where they will most likely observe interesting patterns of social life. This is not to say that all social science research is tightly intertwined with social theory. Sometimes social scientists undertake investigations simply to discover the state of affairs, such as an evaluation of whether an innovative social program is working or a poll to determine which candidate is winning a political race. Similarly, descriptive ethnographies, such as anthropological accounts of preliterate societies, produce valuable information and insights in and of themselves. However, even studies such as these often go beyond pure description to ask "why." Theory relates directly to “why” questions. This chapter explores some specific ways theory and research work hand in hand during the adventure of inquiry into social life. We’ll begin by looking at some fundamental frames of reference, called paradigms, that underlie social theories and inquiry. Whereas theories seek to explain, para- digms provide ways of looking. In and of them- selves, pa radigms don’t explain anything: however, they provide logical frameworks within which theories are Created. As you'll see in this chapter, theories and paradigms intertwine in the search for meaning in social life. Some Social Science Paradigms There is usually more than one way to make sense of things. In daily life, for example, liber— als and conservatives often explain the same phenomenon—teenagers using guns at school, for example—quite differently. So might the parents and teenagers themselves. But underly- ing these different explanations, or theories, are paradigms—the fundamental models or frames of reference we use to organize Our observations and reasoning. Paradigms are often difficult to recognize as such, because they are so implicit, assumed. taken for granted. They seem more like "the way things are" than like one possible point of view among many. Here’s an illustration of what i mean. / Where do you stand on the issue of human rights? Do you feel that individual human beings are sacred? Are they “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights," as asserted by the US. Declaration of Independence? Are there some things that no government Should do to its citizens? Let's get more concrete. In wartime. civilians are sometimes used as human shields to protect military targets. Sometimes they are impressed into slave labor or even used as mobile blood banks for military hospitals. How about organized programs of rape and murder in support of.”ethnic cleansing”? Those of us who are horrified and incensed by such practices probably find it difficult to see our individualistic paradigm as only one possible point of view among many. However, many cultures in today's world regard the Western (and particularly U.S.) commitment to the sanctity of the individual as bizarre. Historically, it has decidedly been a mi- nority viewpoint. Although many Asian countries, for example, now subscribe to some “rights” that belong to individuals, those are balanced against the “rights” of families, organizations, and the society at large. Criticized for violating human rights, Asian leaders often point to high crime rates and social disorgani- zation in Western societies as the cost of what they see as our radical “cult of the individual." i won't try to change your point of view on individual human dignity, nor have I given up my own. it's useful, however, to recognize that our views and feelings in this matter result from the paradigm we have been socialized into. The Sanctin of the individual is not an objective fact of nature; it is a point of view, a paradigm. All of us operate within many such paradigms. A traditional Western view holds that the world You experience has an objective reality separate Some Social Science Paradigms I 33 from your experience of it. As we saw in Chapter 1, however, the postmodern paradigm suggests that only the experience is real: The book in your hands right now is not real; only your experience of it is. Whether you think the book really exists or not reflects the para/digrn you operate within. When we recognize that we are operating within a paradigm, two benefits accrue. First, we can better understand the seemingly bizarre views and actions of others who are operating from a different paradigm. Second, at times we can profit from stepping outside our paradigm. Suddenly we can see new ways of seeing and explaining things. We can't do that as long as we mistake our para- digm for reality. Paradigms play a fundamental role in science, just as they do in daily life. Thomas Kuhn (1970) draws attention to the role of paradigms in the his- tory of the nattrral sciences. Major scientific para- digms have included such fundamental viewpoints as Copemicus's conception of the earth moving around the sun (instead of the reverse), Darwin's theory of evolution. Newtonian mechanics, and Einstein’s relativity. Which scientific theories “make sense” depends on which paradigm scientists are maintaining. Although we sometimes think of science as developing gradually over time, marked by impor- tant discoveries and inventions, Kuhn says that scientific paradigms typically become entrenched, resisting substantial change. Thus, theories and research alike tend to follow a given fundamental direction. Eventually, however, as the shortcomings of a particular paradigm became obvious, a new one emerges and supplants the old. The seem- ingly natural view that the rest of the universe revolves around the earth, for example, compelled astronomers to devise ever more elabt‘rrate ways to account for the motions of heavenly bodies that they actuafly observed. Eventually this paradigm was supplanted by the view that the earth and other planets revolve around the sun. This was paradigm A model or frame of reference through which to observe and understand. 34 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research nothing less than a revolutionary change in per- spective, which fundamentally altered the direction of theory and research. Kuhn's classic book on this subject is entitled, appropriately enough, The Struc— ture of Scientific Revolutions. Social scientists have developed several para- digms for understanding social behavior. The fate of supplanted paradigms in the social sciences, how- ever, has differed from what Kuhn observed in the natural sciences. Natural scientists generally believe that the succession from one paradigm to another represents progress from a false view to a true one. For example, no modern astronomer believes that the sun revolves around the earth. In the social sciences, on the other hand, theo— retical paradigms may gain or lose pOpularity, but they are seldom discarded altogether. The para- digms of the social sciences offer a variety of views, each of which offers insights the others lack and ignores aspects of social life that the others reveal. Ultimately, paradigms are neither true nor false: as ways of looking, they are only more or less use- ful. Each of the paradigms we are about to examine offers a different way Of looking at human social life. Each makes its own assumptions about the nature of social reality. As we'll see, each can open up new understandings, suggest different kinds of theories, and inspire different kinds of research. Macrotheory and Microtheory Let’s begin with a difference concerning focus, a difference that stretches across many of the paradigms we’ll discuss. Some social theorists focus their attention on society at large, or at least on large portions of it. Topics of study for such macrotheory A theory aimed at understanding the “big picture” of institutions, whole societies, and the interactions among societies. Karl Marit’s examination of the class struggle is an example of macrotheory. microtheory A theory aimed at understanding so- cial life at the intimate level of individuals and their interactions. Examining how the play behavior of girls differs from that of boys would be an example of microtheory. macrotheories include the struggle between eco— nomic classes in a society, international relations, or the interrelations among major institutions in society, such as government, religion, and family. Macrotheory deals with large, aggregate entities of society or even whole societies. {Note that some researchers prefer to limit the macrolevel to whole societies, using the term mesorheory for an inter- mediate level between macro and micro: studying organizations, communities, and perhaps social categories such as gender.) Some scholars have taken a more intimate view of social life. Microtheory deals with issues of social life at the level of individuals and small groups. Dating behavior, jury deliberations, attd student—faculty interactions are apt subjects for a microtheorctical perspective. Such studies often come close to the realm of psychology, but whereas psychologists typically focus on what goes on inside humans, social scientists study what goes on between them. The basic distinction between macro- and microtheory cuts across the other paradigms we'll examine. Some of them, such as symbolic interac- tionism and ethnomethodology, are often limited to the microlevel. Others, such as the conflict paradigm, can be pursued at either the micro- or the macrolevel. Early Positivism When the French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798—1857) coined the term sociologie in 1822, he launched an intellectual adventure that continues to unfold today. Most importantly, Comte identified society as a phenomenon that can be studied scientifically. (Initially, he wanted to label his enter- prise sotr‘af physics, but that term was taken over by another scholar.) Prior to Comte’s time, society simply was. To the extent that people recognized different kinds of societies or changes in society over time, religious paradigms generally predominated in explanations of such differences. People often saw the state of social affairs as a reflection of God‘s will. Alterna- tively, people were challenged to create a "City of God” on earth to replace sin and godlessness. Comte separated his inquiry from religion. He felt that religious belief could be replaced with scientific study and objectivity. His "positive philosophy” postulated three stages of history. A theological stage predominated throughout the world until about 1300 CE. During the next five hundred years, a metaphysical stage replaced God with philosophical ideas such as “nature” and e" f "natural law.” Comte felt he was launching the third stage of history, in which science would replace religion and metaphysics by basing knowledge on observa- tions through the five senses rather than on belief or logic alone. Comte felt that society could be ob- served and then explained logically and rationally and that sociology could be as scientific as biology or physics. in a sense, all social research descends from Comte. His view that society could be studied scientifically formed the foundation for subsequent development of the social sciences. In his optimism for the future, he coined the term positivism to describe this scientific approach, in contrast to what he regarded as negative elements in the Enlighten- ment. As we'll see later in this discussion, positiv- ism has been seriously challenged only in recent decades. Social Darwinism Comte's major work on his positivist philosophy was published between 1830 and 1842. One year after the publication of the first volume in that series, a young British naturalist set sail on HMS Beagle, beginning a cruise that would profoundly affect the way we think of ourselves and our place in the world. In 1858, when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, he set forth the idea of evolu- tion through natural selection. Simply put, the theory states that as a species coped with its envi- ronment, those individuals most suited to success Would be the most likely to survive long enough to reproduce. Those less well suited would perish. Over time the traits of the survivor would come to dominate the species. As later Darwinians put it, ,- Some Sodal Science Paradigms I 35 species evolved into different Ionns through the "survival of the fittest.“ * As scholars began to study society analytically, it was perhaps inevitable that they would apply Darwin's ideas to changes in the structure of hu- man affairs. Thefibrney from simple hunting—and- gathering tribes to large, industrial civilizations was easily seen as the evolution of progressively "fitter" forms of society. Among others, Herbert Spencer (1820—1903) concluded that society was getting better and bet- ter. Indeed, his native England had profited greatly from the development of industrial capitalism, and Spencer favored a system of free competition. which he felt would insure continued progress and improvement. Spencer may even have coined the phrase “the survival of the fittest.” He certainly believed that this principle was a primary force shaping the nature of society. Social Darwinism or social evolution was a popular view in Spencer's titne, although it was not universally accepted. This excerpt from a social science methods text— book published in 1950 illustrates the long-term popularity of the notion that things are getting better and better. The use of atomic energy as an explosive offers most interesting prospects in the civil as in the military field. Atomic explosives may be used for transforming the landscape. They may be used for blasting great holes and trenches in the earth, which can be transformed into lakes and canals. In this way, it may become possible to produce lakes in the midst of deserts, and thus convert some of the worst places in the world into oases and fertile countries. It may also be possible to make the Arctic regions comfortable by providing immense and constant sources of heat. The North Pole might be converted into a holiday resort. (Gee 1950: 339—40) positivism Introduced by August Comte, this phil- osophical system is grounded on the rational proof/ disproof of scientific assertions; assumes a knowable, objective reality. 36 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research Quite aside from the widespread disenchant- ment with nuclear power, contemporary concerns over global warming and the threat of rising sea levels illustrate a growing consciousness that “prog- ress" is often a two-edged sword. Clearly, most of us operate today from a different paradigm. Conflict Paradigm One of Spencer’s contemporaries took a sharply different view of the evolution of capitalism. Karl Marx (1818—1883) suggested that social behav- ior could best be seen as a process of conflict: the attempt to dominate others and to avoid being dominated. Marx focused primarily on the struggle among economic classes. Specifically, he examined the way capitalism produced the oppression of workers by the owners of industry. Marx’s inter- est in this topic did not end with analytical study; he was also ideologically committed to restructur- ing economic relations to end the oppression he observed. The contrast between the views set forth by Spencer and Marx indicates the influence of para- digms on research. These fundamental viewpoints shape the kinds of observations we are likely to make, the sorts of facts we seek to discover, and the conclusions we draw from those facts. Paradigms also help determine which concepts we see as relevant and important. Whereas economic classes were essential to Marx's analysis, for example, Spencer was more interested in the relationship between individuals and society—particularly the amount of freedom individuals had to surrender for society to function. The conflict paradigm proved to be fruit- ful outside the realm of purely economic analy- ses. Georg Sirntnel (18584918) was especially interested in small-scale conflict, in contrast to the class struggle that interested Marx. Simmel noted, for example. that Conflicts among members of a tightly knit group tended to be more intense than conflict paradigm A paradigm that views human behavior as attempts to dominate others or avoid be- ing dominated by others. those among people who did not share feelings of belonging and intimacy. In a more recent application of the conflict paradigm, when Michel Chossudovsky’s (1997) analysis of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank suggested that these two interna- tional organizations were increasing global poverty rather than eradicating it, he directed his attention to the competing interests involved in the process. In theory, the chief interest being served should be the poor people of the world or perhaps the im- poverished, Third World nations. The researcher’s inquiry, however, identified many other interested parties who benefited: the commercial lending in- stitutions who made loans in conjunction with the IMF and World Bank, as well as multinational cor- porations seeking cheap labor and markets for their goods, for example. Chossudovsky concluded that the interests of the banks and corporations tended to take precedence over those of the poor people. Moreover, he found that many policies were weak- ening national economies in the Third World, as well as undermining democratic governments. Although the conflict paradigm often focuses on class, gender, and ethnic struggles. We Could appropriately apply it whenever different groups have competing interests. For example, we could fruitfully apply it to understanding relations among different departments in an organization, fraternity and sorority rush weeks, or student-faculty:- administrative relations, to name just a few. Symbolic in teractionism In his overall focus. Georg Sitnmel differed from both Spencer and Marx. Whereas they were chiefly concerned with macrotheoretical issues—large institutions and whole societies in their evolution through the course of history—Simmel was more interested in how individuals interacted with one another. In other words, his thinking and research took a “micro” turn, thus calling attention to aspects of social reality that are invisible in Marx's or Spencer’s theory. For example, he began by examining dyads (groups of two people) and triads (groups of three). Similarly, he wrote about "the web of group affiliations." Simmel was one of the first European sociolo— gists to influence the development of US. sociology. His focus on the nature of interactions particularly influenced George Herbert Mead (1863—1931), Charles Horton Cooley (1864—1929), and oth- ers who took up the cause and developed it into a powerful paradigm for research. Cooley, for example, introduced the idea of the “primary group,” those intimate associates with whom we share a sense of belonging, such as our family and friends. Cooley also wrote of the “looking—glass self " we form by looking into the reactions of people around us. If everyone treats us as beautiful, for example, we conclude that we are. Notice how fundamentally the concepts and theo- retical focus inspired by this paradigm differ from the society-level concerns of Spencer and Marx. Mead emphasized the importance of our hu- man ability to “take the role of the other,” imagin- ing how others feel and how they might behave in certain circumstances. As we gain an idea of how people in general see things, we develop a sense of what Mead called the “generalized other.” Mead also showed a special interest in the role of communications in human affairs. Most interac- tions, he felt, revolved around the process of indi- viduals reaching common understanding through the use of language and other such systems, hence the term symbolic interactionism. This paradigm can lend insights into the nature of interactions in ordinary social life, but it can also help us understand unusual forms of interaction, as in the following case. Robert Emerson, Kerry Ferris, and Carol Gardner (1998) set out to under- stand the nature of “stalking.” Through interviews with numerous stalking victims, they came to iden- tify different motivations among stalkers, stages in the development of a stalking scenario, how people can recognize if they are being stalked, and what they can do about it. Here’s one way you might apply the symbolic interactionism paradigm to an examination of your Own life. The next time you meet someone new, pay attention to how you get to know each other. To begin, what assumptions do you make about the Other person based merely on appearances, how Some Social Science Paradigms I 37 he or she talks. and the circumstances under which you’ve met. (“What's someone like you doing in a place like this?”) Then watch how your knowl- edge of each other unfolds through the process of interaction. Notice also_any attempts you make to manage the image you are creating in the other ‘person's mind. Ethnomethodology Whereas some social science paradigms emphasize the impact of social structure on human behavior—‘ that is, the effect of norms, values, control agents, and so forth—other paradigms do not. Harold Garfinkel, a contemporary sociologist, claims that people are continually creating social structure through their actions and interactions—that they are, in fact, creating their realities. Thus, when you and your instructor meet to discuss your term paper, even though there are myriad expectations about how you both should act, your conversa- tion will differ somewhat from any of those that have occurred before, and how you each aCt will somewhat modify your expectations in the future. That is, discussing your term paper will impact the interactions each of you have with other professors and students in the future. Given the tentativeness of reality in this View, Garfinkel suggests that people are continuously trying to make sense of the life they experience. In a sense, he suggests that everyone is acting like a social scientist, hence the term erhnomethodot‘ogy, or “methodology of the people." How would you go about learning about peo— ple’s expectations and how they make sense out of their world? one technique ethnomethodologists use is to break the rules. to violate people's expecta- tions. Thus, if you try to talk to me about your term paper but I keep talking about football, this might reveal the expectations you had for my behavior. We might also see how you make sense out of my symbolic interactionism A paradigm that views human behavior as the creation of meaning through social interactions, with those meanings condition- ing subsequent interactions. 38 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research behavior. (“Maybe he’s using football as an analogy for understanding social systems theory”) in another example of ethnomethodology, Johen Heritage and David Greatbatch (1992) examined the role of applause in British political speeches: How did the speakers evoke applause, and what function did it serve (for example, to complete a topic)? Research within the eth— nomethodological paradigm has often focused on communications. There is no end to the opportunities you have for trying out the ethnomethodological paradigm. For instance, the next time you get on an elevator, don’t face front, watching the floor numbers whip by (that’s the norm, or expected behavior). Just stand quietly facing the rear. See how others react to this behavior. Just as important, notice how you feel about it. If you do this experiment a few times, you should begin to develop a feel for the eth- nomethodological paradigm.’r We'll return to ethnomethodology in Chapter 10, when we discuss field research. For now, let's turn to a very different paradigm. Structural Functionalism Structural functionalism, sometimes also known as social systems theory, has grown out of a notion introduced by Comte and Spencer: A social entity, such as an organization or a iivhole society, can be viewed as an organism. Like other organisms, a social system is made up of parts, each of which contributes to the functioning of the whole. By analogy, consider the human body. Each component—such as the heart, lungs. kidneys. skin, and brain—has a particular job to do. The body as a whole cannot survive unless each of these parts does its job, and none of the parts can survive except as a part of the whole body. Or consider an automobile. It is composed of the tires, the steering wheel, the gas tank, the spark plugs, structural functionalism A paradigm that divides social phenomena into parts, each of which serves a function for the operation of the whole. and so forth. Each of the parts serves a function for the whole; taken together, that system can get us across town. None of the individual parts would be very useful to us by itself, however. The View of society as a social system, then, looks for the "functions" served by its various components. Social scientists using the structural functional paradigm might note that the func- tion of the police, for example, is to exercise soda] control—"encouraging people to abide by the norms of society and bringing to justice those who do not. Notice, though, that the researchers could just as reasonably ask what functions criminals serve in society. Within the functionalist paradigm, we might say that criminals serve as job security for the police. In a related observation, Emile Durkheim (1858—1 91 7) suggested that crimes and their punishment provide an opportunity to reaffirm society’s values. By catching and punish- ing thieves, we reaffirm our collective respect for private property. To get a sense of the structural functional para- digm, suppose you were interested in explaining how your college or university works. You might thumb through the institution’s catalog and begin assembling a list of the administrators and support staff (such as the president, deans, registrar, cam— pus security staff, maintenance personnel). Then you might figure out what each of them does and relate their roles and activities to the chief func- tions of your collegé‘or university, such as teaching or research. This way of looking at an institution of higher learning would clearly suggest a different line of inquiry than, say, a conflict paradigm, which might emphasize the clash of interests between- people who have power in the institution and those who don't. People often discuss “functions” in everyday conversation. Typically, however, the alleged func- tions are seldom tested empirically. Some people argue, for example, that welfare, intended to help *I am grateful to my colleague, Bernard McGrane, for this eiiperirnent. Barney also has his students eat dinner with their hands, watch TV without turning it on, and engage in other strangely enlightening behavior (McGrane'l994). the poor, actually harms them in a variety of ways. It is sometimes alleged that welfare creates a devi- ant, violent subculture in society. at odds with the mainstream. From this viewpoint, welfare pro- grams actually result in increased crime rates. LanCe Hannon and James Defronzo (1998) decided to test this last assertion. Working with Some Social Science Paradigms I 39 In a similar way, researchers looking at the so- cial world from a feminist paradigm have called attention to aspects of social life that other para- digms do not reveal. ln'part. feminist theory and research have focused on, gender differences and how they relate lo the rest of social organization. ,These lines of inquiry have drawn attention to the data drawn from 406 urban counties in the United " oppression of women in many societies, which in States, they examined the relationship between welfare payments and crime rates. Contrary to the beliefs of some, their data indicated that higher welfare payments were associated with lower crime rates. In other words, welfare programs have the function of decreasing rather than increasing lawlessness. In applying the functionalist paradigm to ev- eryday life, people sometimes make the mistake of thinking that “functionality,” stability, and integra- tion are necessarily good, or that the functionalist paradigm makes that assumption. However, when social researchers look for the functions served by poverty, racial discrimination, or the oppression of women, they are not justifying them. Just the opposite: They seek to understand the functions such things play in the larger society. as a way of understanding why they persist and how they could be eliminated. Feminist Paradigms When Ralph Linton concluded his anthropologi- cal classic, The Study ofMan (1937: 490), speaking of “a store of knowledge that promises to give man a better life than any he has known,” no one complained that he had left out women. Linton was using the linguistic conventions of his time; he implicitly included women in all his references to men. Or did he? When feminists first began questioning the use of masculine pronouns and nouns whenever gender was ambiguous. their concerns were often viewed as petty, even silly. At most, many felt the issue was one of women having their feelings hurt, their egos bruised. But be honest: When you read Linton's words, what did you picture? An amor- PhOUS. genderless human being, a hermaphrodite at once male and female, or a male persona? turn has shed light on oppression generally. Feminist paradigms not only reveal the treat- ment of women or the experience of oppression but often point to limitations in how other aspects of social life are examined and undersrood. Thus, feminist perspectives are often related to a concern for the environment, for example. As Greta Gard suggests, The way in which women and nature have been conceptualized historically in Western intellectual tradition has resulted in devaluing whatever is associated with women, emotion, animals, nature, and the body, while simulta- neously elevating in value those things associ- ated with men, reason, humans, culture, and the mind. One task of ecofeminism has been to expose these dualisms and the ways in which feminizing nature and nattiralizing or animal- izing women-has served as justification for the domination of women, animals and the earth. (1993: 5; quoted in Rynbrandt and Deegan 2002: 60) Feminist paradigms have also challenged the prevailing notions concerning consensus in society. Most descriptions of the predominant beliefs, val- ues, and norms of a society are written by people representing only portions of society. In the United States, for example, such analyses have typically been written by middle-class white men—mot surprisingly, they have written about the beliefs, values. and norms they themselves share. Though George Herbert Mead spoke of the feminist paradigms Paradigms that (1) view and understand society through the experiences of women andror (2) examine the generally deprived status of women in society. 40 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research some 506a] Sdence Parading I 41 the mid-19705, with fears that the strides toward equality were beginning to bog down, civil rights activists and social scientists began the codification “generalized other” that each of us becomes aware of and can “take the role of,” feminist paradigms question whether such a generalized other even both subjective and objective strategies for . . . . . ‘ l Rational Objecttwty Reconsrdered 3,; l knowing” (Belenky et al. 1986: 15). We began this discussion of paradigms with Comte’s “Constructed knowledge” is particularly inter. assertion that society can be studied rationally and 1|; i l 1 Further, whereas Mead used the example of CXiSIS' of a paradigm based on race awareness and a com- . _ _ . _ . 3 I 1 . . . . objectively. Since hlS tune, the growth of scrence ‘ ) aradi m or Comt “‘ ld h l - mumcm ‘0 ram] Jusm' d h l t 1h 'th the r 1 live decline til ' - ’ . . . . . . , r w1 * -- : learnlng to play baseball to illustrate how we learn F n . k C To: ave a p ace umber This was not the first time soaologists pald an [EC no.0gyh (lg: e i h L a d ; [I i . , Ur 1V ” I _ _ ' . ' I m0 i 1 abOUt thC generaltzed other, Janet Levers research su lea 8 now 6 ge nor-for the Idea that attention to the Status of nonwhites In U.S. Of SUperqmmn ave pur ratlona w more an re " {1i suggests that understanding the experience of boys may lell us little about girls. Girls’ play and games are very different. They are mostly spontaneous, imaginative, and free of structure or rules. Turn-taking activities like jttmprope may be played without setting ex- plicit goals. Girls have far less experience with interpersonal competition. The style of their competition is indirect, rather than face to face, individual rather than team affiliated. Leader- ship roles are either missing or randomly filled. (Lever 1986: 86) Social researchers' growing recognition of the general intellectual differences between men and women led the psychologist Mary Field Belenky and her colleagues to speak of Women's Ways of Knowing (1986). In-depth interviews with 45 women led the researchers to distinguish five perspectives on knowing that should challenge the view of inquiry as obvious and straightforward: Silence: Some women, especially early in life, feel themselves isolated from the world of knowledge, their lives largely determined by external authorities. Received knowledge: From this perspective, women feel themselves capable of taking in and holding knowledge originating with exter- nal authorities. Subjective knowledge: This perspective opens up the possibility of personal, subjective knowl- edge, including intuition. Proceduro! knowledge: Some women feel they have fully learned the ways of gaining knowl- edge through objective procedures. Constructed knowledge: The authors describe this perspective as “a position in which women view all knowledge as contextual, experience themselves as creators of knowledge, and value truth might vary according to its context. The ethnomethodological paradigm, on the other hand, would accommodate these ideas. Feminist standpoint theory is a term often used in reference to the fact that women have knowl- edge about their status and experience that is not available to men. Introduced by Nancy Hartsock (1983), this viewpoint has evolved over time. For example, scholars have come to recognize that there is no single female experience, that different kinds of women (varying by wealth, ethnicity, or age, for example) have very different experiences of life in society, all the while sharing some things in common because of their gender. This sensitiv- ity to variations in the female experience is also a main element in what is referred to as third-wave fiemint'sm, which began in the 19905. To try out feminist paradigms, you might want to explore whether discrimination against women exists at your college or university. Are the top administrative positions held equally by men and women? How about secretarial and clerical posi- tions? Are men‘s and women's sports supported equally? Read through the official history of your school; is it a history that includes men and women equally? (If you attend an all-male or all-female school, of course, some of these questions won't apply.) As we just saw. feminist paradigms reflect both a concern for the unequal treatment of women but also an epistemological recognition that men and women overall perceive and understand society differently. Social theories created solely by men. which has been the norm, run the risk of an unrec- ognized bias. A similar case can be made for theo- ries created almost exclusively by white people. l esting in the context of paradigms. The. positivistic ‘ Critical Race Theory The roots of critical race theory are generally as- sociated with the civil rights movement of the mid- 19505 and race-related legislation of the 19605. By society. Perhaps the best known African American ff sociologist in the history of the discipline was W. E. B. DuBois, who published T he Souls of Black Folk in 1903. Among other things, DuBois pointed out that African Americans lived their lives through a “dual consciousness": as Americans and as black people. By contrast, white Americans seldom reflect on being white. If you are American, white is simply assumed. If you are not white, you are seen and feel like the exception. So imagine the difference between an African American sociologist and a white sociologist creating a theory of social identity. Their theories of identity would likely differ in some fundamental ways, even if they were not limiting their analyses to their own race. Much of the contemporary scholarship in critical race theory has to do with the role of race in politics and government, often undertaken by legal scholars as well as social scientists. Thus, for example, Derrick Bell (1980) critiqued the Su- preme COurt's landmark Brown vs. Board ofEduco- tion decision, which struck down the “separate bttt equal” system of school segregation. He suggested that the Court was motivated by the economic and political interests of the white majority, not by educational equality for African American stu- dents. In his analysis, he introduced the concept of interest convergence, suggesting that laws will only be changed to benefit African Americans if and when those changes are seen to further the in- terests of whites. Richard Delgado (2002) provides an excellent overview of how Bell's reasoning has been pursued by subsequent critical race theory scholars. As a general rule, whenever you find the word aided! in the name of a paradigm or theory, it will likely refer to a nontraditional view, one that may be at odds with the prevailing paradigms of an academic discipline and also at odds with the main- stream structure of society. " at the center of social life. As fundamental as ratio- nality is to most of us, howeVer, some contempo- rary scholars have raised questions about it. For example, positivistic social scientists have sometimes erred in assuming that humans always act rationally. I'm sure your own experience offers ample evidence to the contrary. Yet many mod- ern economic models fundamentally assume that people will make rational choices in the economic sector: They will choose the highest-paying job, pay the lowest price, and so forth. This assumption ignores the power of tradition, loyalty, image, and other factors that compete with reason and calcula- tion in determining human behavior. A more sophisticated positivism would assert that we can rationally understand and predict even nonrationa] behavior. An example is the famous Asch experiment (Asch 1958). In this experiment, a group of subjects is presented with a set of lines on a screen and asked to identify the two lines that are equal in length. Imagine yourself a subject in Such an experi- ment. You are sitting in the front row of a class- room in a group of six subjects. A set of lines is pro- jected on the wall in front of you (see Figure 2-1). The experimenter asks each of you, one at a time, to identify the line to the right (A, B, or C) that matches the length of line X. The correct answer (B) is pretty obvious to you. To your surprise, how- ever, you find that all the other subjects agree on a different answer! The experimenter announces that all but one of the group has gotten the correct answer. Because critical race theory A. paradigm grounded in ma: awareness and an intention to achieve racial justice. interest convergence The thesis that majority group members will only support the interests of minorities when those actions also support the in- terests of the majority group. FIGURE 2—1 The Asch Experiment. Subjects in the Asch experiment have a seemingly easy task: to determine whether A, B, or C is the same length as X. But there's more here than meets the eye. you are the only one who chose B, this amounts to saying that you've gotten it wrong. Then a new set of lines is presented, and you have the same experience. What seems to be the obviously correct answer is said by everyone else to be wrong. As it turns out, of course, you are the only real subject in this experiment—all the others are working with the experimenter. The purpose of the experiment is to see whether you will be swayed by public pressure to go along with the incorrect answer. in his initial experiments, all of which involved young men, Asch found that a little over one-third of his subjects did just. that. Choosing an obviously wrong answer in a simple experiment is an example of nonrational be- havior. But as Asch went on to show, experiment- ers can examine the circumstances that lead more or fewer subjects to go along with the incorrect answer. For example, in subsequent studies, Asch varied the size of one group and the number of “dissenters” who chose the “wrong” (that is, the correct) answer. Thus, it is possible to study nonra- tional behavior rationally and scientifically. More radically, we can question whether social life abides by rational principles at all. In the physi- cal sciences, developments such as chaos theory, fuzzy logic, and complexity have suggested that we may need to rethink fundamentally the orderliness of events in the physical world. Certainly the social world might be no tidier than the world of physics. The contemporary challenge to positivism. however, goes beyond the question of whether people behave rationally. In part, the criticism of positivism challenges the idea that scientists can be as objective as the positivistic ideal assumes. Most scientists would agree that personal feelings cart and do influence the problems scientists choose to study, what they choose to observe, and the con- clusions they draw from their observations. There is an even more radical critique of the ideal of objectivity. As we glimpsed in the discus- sions of feminism and ethnomethodology, some contemporary researchers suggest that subjecrivity might actually be preferable in some situations. Let's take a moment to return to the dialectic of subjectivity and objectivity. To begin, all our experiences are inescapably subjective. There is no way out. We can see only through our own eyes, and anything peculiar to our eyes will shape what we see. We can hear things only the way our particular ears and brain transmit and interpret sound waves. You and l. to some extent, hear and see different realities. And both of us experience quite different physi- cal “realities” than, say, do bats. In what to us is total darkness, a bat “sees” things such as flying insects by emitting a sound we humans can’t hear. The reflection of the bat's sound creates a “sound picture" precise enough for the bat to home in on the moving insect and snatch it up in its teeth. In a similar vein, scientists on the planet Xandu might develop theories of the physical world bilge-d on a sensory apparatus that we humans can't even imagine. Maybe they see X-rays or hear colors. Despite the inescapable subjectivity of our experience, we humans seem to be wired to seek an agreement on what is really real, what is objec- tively so. Objectivity is a conceptual attempt to get beyond our individual views. it is ultimately a mat- ter of communication, as you and i attempt to find a common ground in our subjective experiences. Whenever we succeed in our search, we say we are dealing with objective reality. This is the agreement reality discussed in Chapter 1. To this point, perhaps the most significant studies in the history of social science were con- ducted in the 19305 by a Turkish American social psychologist, Muzafer Sherif (1935), who slyly said he wanted to study “auto-kinetic effects.” To do this, he put small groups in totally darkened rooms, save for a single point of light in the center of the wall in front of the participants. Sherif explained that the light would soon begin to move about, and the subjects were to determine how far it was moving—a difficult task with nothing else visible/5 as a gauge of length or distance. Amazingly, each of the groups agreed on the distance the point of light moved about. Oddly, however, the different groups of subjects arrived at quite different conclusions. Strangest of all—as you may have guessed—the point of light had remained stationary. If you stare at a fixed point of light long enough it will seem to move about (Sherif's "auto-kinetic effect"). Notice, however, that each of the groups agreed on a specific delu- sion. The movement of the light was real to them, but it was a reality created out of nothing: a socially constructed reality. Whereas our subjectivity is individual, then, our search for objectivity is social. This is true in all aspects of life, not just in science. While you and [prefer diligerent foods, we must agree to some extent on what is fit to eat and what is not, or else there could be no restaurants or grocery stores. The same argument could be made regarding every other form of consumption. Without agreement reality, there could be no movies or television, no sports. Social scientists as well have found benefits in the concept of a socially agreed-on objective reality. As people seek to impose order on their experience of life, they find it useful to pursue this goal as a Collective venture. What are the causes and cures of prejudice? Working together, social research- ers have uncovered some answers that hold up to intersubjective scrutiny. Whatever your subjective experience of things, for example, you can discover for yourself that as education increases, prejudice generally tends to decrease. Because each of us can discover this independently, we say that it is objectively true. From the seventeenth century through the middle of the twentieth, however, the belief in an objective reality that was independent of individual Some Social Science Paradigms I 43 perceptions predominated in science. For the most part, it was not simply held as a useful paradigm but held as The Truth. The term positivism has gett- erally represented the belief in a logically ordered, objective reality that we can come to know better and better thrgigh science. This is the view chal— lenged today by postmodernists and others. Some say that the ideal of objectivity conceals as much as it reveals. As we saw earlier, in years past much of what was regarded as objectivity in Western social science was actually an agreement primarily among white, middle-class European men. Equally real experiences common to women, to ethnic minorities, to non-Western cultures, or to the poor were not necessarily represented in that reality. Thus, early anthropologists are now criticized for often making modern, Westernized “sense” out of the beliefs and practices of nonllterate tribes around the world, sometimes by portraying their subjects as superstitious savages. We often call orally transmitted beliefs about the distant past “creation myth,” whereas we speak of our own beliefs as “history.” increasingly today, there is a demand to find the native logic by which various peoples make sense out of life and to understand it on its own terms. Ultimater we’ll never be able to distinguish completely between an objective reality and our subjective experience. We can't know whether our concepts correspond to an objective reality or are simply useful in allowing us to predict and control our environment. 50 desperate is our need to know What is really real, however, that both positivists and postmodernists are sometimes drawn into the belief that their own View is real and true. There is a dual irony in this. On the one hand, the positiv- ist's belief that science precisely mirrors the objec- tive world must ultimately be based on faith; it can- not be proved by “objective” science, because that's precisely what's at issue. And the postmodernists, who say nothing is objectively so and everything is ultimately subjective, do at least feel that that is really the way things are. Postmodernism is often portrayed as a denial of the possibility of social science. Because this book has already expressed sympathy for some 44 I Chapter 2: Famigms Theory, and Social Research postmodern views and concerns, a word of expla- nation may be in order. This textbook makes no assumption about the existence or absence of an objective reality. At the same time, human beings demonstrate an extensive and robust ability to es- tablish agreements as to what's “real.” This appears in regard to rocks and trees, as well as ghosts and gods, and even more elusive ideas such as loyalty and treason. Whether something like “prejudice” really exists, research into its nature can take place, because enough people agree that prejudice does exist, and researchers can use agreed-on tech- niques of inquiry to study it. Another social science paradigm, critical realism, suggests that we define "reality" as that‘ which can be seen to have an effect. Since preju- dice clearly has an observable effect in our lives, it must be judged “real” in terms of this point of view. This paradigm fits interestingly with a Statement attributed to an early U.S. sociologist, W. 1. Thomas: "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences." This book will not require or even encourage you to choose among positivism, postmodernism, or any of the other paradigms discussed in this chapter. In fact, I invite you to look for value in any and all as you seek to understand the world that may or may not exist around you. Similarly, as social researchers, we are not forced to align ourselves entirely with either positivism or postmodernism. Instead, we can treat them as two distinct arrows in our quiver. Each approach compensates for the weaknesses of the other by suggesting complementary perspectives that can produce useful lines of inquiry. For example, the renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has elegantly described the appealing simplicity oi the positivian model but tempers his remarks with a recognition of the way science is practiced. postmodernism A paradigm that questions the assumptions of positivism and theories describing an “objective” reality. critical realism A paradigm that holds things are real insofar as they produce effects. According to this way of thinking, a scientific theory is a mathematical model that describes and codifies the observations we make. A good theory will describe a large range of phenom- ena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions that can be tested. If the predictions agree with the obser- vations, the theory survives that test, though it can never be proved to be correct. On the other hand, if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify the theory. (At least, that is what is supposed to happen. In practice, people often question the accuracy of the observations and the reliabil- ity and moral charaCter of those making the observations.) (2001:31) In summary, a rich variety of theoretical paradigms can be brought to bear on the study of social life. With each of these fundamental frames of reference, useful theories can be constructed. We turn now to some of the issues involved in theory construction, which are of interest and use to all social researchers, from positivists to postmodern- ists—-and all those In between. Elements of Social Theory As we have seen, paradigms are general frame- works or viewpoints: literally “points from which to view.” They provide ways of looking at life and are grounded in sets of assumptions about the nature of reality. Theories, by contrast, are systematic sets of interrelated statements intended to explain some aspect of social life. Thus, theories flesh out and specify paradigms. Whereas a paradigm offers a way of looking, a theory aims at explaining what we see. Recall from Chapter 1 that social scientists engage in both idiographic and nomothetic expla- nations. Idiographic explanations seek to explain a limited phenomenon as completely as possible—- explaining why a particular woman voted as she did, for example—while nomothetic explanations attempt to explain a broad range of phenomena at least partically: identifying a few factors that ac- count for much voting behavior in general. Let's look a little more deliberately now at some of the elements of a theory. A51 mentioned in Chapter 1, science is based on observation. In social research, observation typically refers to seeing, hearing, and (less commonly) touching. A corr- esponding idea is fact. Although for philosophers "fact" is as complex a notion as “reality,” social scientists generally use it to refer to some phenom- enon that has been observed. It is a fact, for ex- ample, that Barack Obama defeated John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Scientists aspire to organize many facts under “rules” called lam. Abraham Kaplan (1964: 9]) defines laws as universal generalizations about classes of facts. The law of gravity is a classic exam— ple: Bodies are attracted to each other in proportion to their masses and in inverse proportion to the distance separating them. Laws must be truly universal, however, not merely accidental patterns found among a specific set of facts. it is a fact, Kaplan points out (1964: 92), that in each of the US. presidential elections from 1920 to 1960, the major candidate with the longest name won. That is not a law, however, as shown by the next three elections. The earlier pattern was a coincidence. Sometimes called principles, laws are important statements about what is so. We speak of them as being “discovered,” granting, of course, that our paradigms affect what we choose to look for and what we see. Laws in and of themselves do not explain anything. They just summarize the way things are. Explanation is a function of theory, as we'll see shortly. There are no social science laws that claim the universal certainty of those of the natural sciences. Social scientists debate among themselves whether such laws will ever be discovered. Perhaps social life essentially does not abide by invariant laws. This does not mean that social life is so chaotic as to defy prediction and explanation. As we saw in Chapter 1, social behavior falls into patterns, and those patterns quite often make perfect sense, although we may have to look below the surface to find the logic. Elements of Social Theory I 45 As I just indicated, laws should not be confused with theories. Whereasra law is an observed regu- larity, a theory is a systematic explanation for obser— vations that relate to a particular aspect of life. For example, someone might offer a theory of juvenile delinquency, prejudice, or political revolution. Theories explain observations by means of concepts. Jonathan Turner (1989: 5) calls concepts the “basic building blocks of theory.” Concepts are abstract elements representing classes of phenom- ena within the field of study. The concepts relevant to a theory of juvenile delinquency, for example, include “juvenile” and "delinquency," for starters. A "peer group”—the people you hang around with and identify with—is another relevant concept. "Social class” and “ethnicity” are undoubtedly rel- evant concepts in a theory of juvenile delinquency. “School performance” might also be relevant. A variable is a special kind of concept. Some of the concepts just mentioned refer to things, and others refer to sets of things. As we saw in Chapter I, each variable comprises a set of at- tributes; thus, delinquency, in the simplest case, is made up of delinquent and not delinquent. A theory of delinquency would aim at explaining why some juveniles are delinquent and others are not. Axioms or postulates are fundamental assertions, taken to be true, on which a theory is grounded. In a theory of juvenile delinquency, we might begin with axioms such as "Everyone desires material comforts” and “The ability to obtain material com- forts legally is greater for the wealthy than for the poor." From these we might proceed to propositions.- specific conclusions, derived from the axiomatic groundwork, about the relationships among con- cepts. From our beginning axioms about juvenile delinquency, for example, we might reasonably formulate the proposition that poor youths are more likely to break the law to gain material com- forts than are rich youths. This proposition, incidentally, accords with Robert Merton‘s classic attempt to account for deviance in society. Merton (1957: 139—57) spoke of the agreed-011 means and ends of a society. In Merton’s model, nondeviants are those who share the societal agreement as to desired ends (such as a new car) and the means prescribed for achieving 46 I Chapter 2: ihradigms, Theory, and Social Research them (such as to buy it). One type of deviant— Merton called this type the “innovator”~agrees on the desired end but does not have access to the prescribed means for achieving it. Innovators find another method, soch as crime, of getting the desired end. From propositions, in turn, we can derive hypotheses. A hypothesis is a specified testable expectation about empirical reality that follows from a more general proposition. Thus, a re- searcher might formulate the hypothesis, "Poor youths have higher delinquency rates than do rich youths.” Research is designed to test hypotheses. In other words, research will support (or fail to sup- port) a theory only indirecdymby testing specific hypotheses that are derived from theories and propositions. Let’s look more clearly at how theory and research come together. Two Logical Systems Revisited In Chapter I, Iintroduced deductive and inductive reasoning, with a promise that we would return to them later. It's later. The Traditional Mode! of Science Most of us haVe a somewhat idealized picture of "the scientific method,” a View gained from science instruction ever since elementary school, especially in the physical sciences. Although this traditional model of science tells only a part of the story, it‘s helpful to understand its logic. hypothesis A specified testable expectation about empirical reality'that follOWs from a more general proposition,- more generally, an expectation about the nature of things derived from a theory. It is a statement of something that ought to be observed in . the real world if the theory is correct. operationalization One step beyond conceptual- ization. Operationalization is the process of develop- ing operational definitions. or specifying the exact operations involved in measuring a variable. There are three main elements in the tradi- tional model of science: theory, operationalization, and observation. At this point we're already well acquainted with the idea of theory. Theory According to the traditional model of science, scientists begin with a thing, from which they derive testable hypotheses. So, for example, as social scientists we might have a theory about the causes of juvenile delinquency. Let's assume that we have arrived at the hypothesis that delinquency is inversely related to social class. That is, as social class goes up, delinquency goes down. Operationalizafion To test any hypothesis, we must specify the mean- ings of all the variables involved in it, in obser- vational terms. In the present case, the variables are son‘ai class and delinquency To give these terms specific meaning, we might define delinquency as “being arrested for a crime,” “being convicted of a crime,” or some other plausible phrase, whereas social class might be specified in terms of family income, for the purposes of this particular study. Once we have defined our variables, we need to Specify how we’ll measure them. (Recall from Chapter I that science, in the classical ideal, de- pends on measurable observations.) Operational- ization literally means specifying the exact opera- tions involved in measuring a variable. There are many ways we can attempt to test our hypothesis, each of which allows for different ways of measur- ing our variables. For simplicity, let’s assume we're planning to conduct a survey of high school students. We might operationalize delinquency in the form of the ques— tion "Have you ever stolen anything?" Those who answer "yes" will be classified as delinquents in our study; those who say “no” will be classified as nondelinquents. Similarly, we might operational- ize social class by asking respondents, "What was your family’s income last year?” and providing them with a set of iamin income categories: under $10,000; $10,000—$24.999; $25,000—$49,999; and $50,000 and above. At this point someone might object that delinquency can mean something more than or djfierent from having stolen something at one time or another, or that social class isn't necessarily the same as family income. Some parents might think body piercing is a sign of delinquency even if their children don't steal, and to some social class might include an element of prestige or community standing as well as how much money a family has. For the researcher testing a hypothesis, however. the meaning of variables is exactly and only what the operational definition specifies. In this respect, scientists are very much like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty tells Alice, "it means just what I choose it to meaneneither more nor less.” “The question is,” Alice replies, "whether you can make words mean so many different things.” To which Humpty Dumpty responds, “The question is, which is to be master—that's all.” Scientists have to be "masters" of their operational definitions for the sake of precision in observation, measurement, and communica— tion. Otherwise, we would never know whether a study that contradicted ours did so only because it used a different set of procedures to measure one of the variables and thus changed the meaning of the hypothesis being tested. Of course, this also means that to evaluate a study's conclusions about juvenile delinquency and social class, or any other variables, we need to know how those variables were operational‘ized. The way we have operationalized the variables in our imaginary study could be open to other problems, however. Perhaps some respondents will lie about having stolen anything, in which cases We’ll misclassify them as nondelinquent. Some respondents will not know their family incomes and will give mistaken answers: others may be embarrassed and lie. We’ll consider issues like these in detail in Part 2. Our operationalized hypothesis now is that the highest incidence of delinquents will be found among respondents who select the lowest family income category (under $10,000); a lower percent- age 0f delinquents will be found in the $10,000— Two Logical Systems Revisited I 47 $24,999 category: still fewer delinquents will be found in the 525,000—349,999 category; and the IOWest percentage of delinquents will be found in the $50,000«and—above category. Now we’re ready for the final step in the traditional model of science—observatftfi. Having developed theoreti~ cal clarity and specific expectations. and having created a strategy for looking, all that remains is to look at the Way things actually are. Observation The final step in the traditional model of science involves actual observation, looking at the world and making measurements of what is seen. Let's suppose our survey produced the follow- ing data: Percentdefinquent Under $10,000 20 510,000—524,999 15 525000449399 10 $50,000 and above 5 w Observations producing such data would confirm our hypothesis. But suppose our findings were as follow: Ferrentdefinquent Under $10,000 15 310,000—524,999 ' 15 325,000—549,999 15 $50,000 and above 15 ___——_——-—i-—- These findings would disconfirm our hypothesis regarding family income and delinquency. Disconfimabflity—the possibility that observations may not support our expectations—is an essential quality of any hypothesis. In other words, if operational definition The concrete and specific definition of something in terms of the operations by which observations are to be categorized. The op- erational definition of “earning an A in this course" might be "Correctly answering at least 90 percent of the final exam questions." c 48 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research there is no chance that our hypothesis will be disconfirmed. it hasn't said anything meaningful. For example, the hypothesis that juvenile delinquents commit more crimes than do non- delinquents cannot possibly be disconfirmed, because criminal behavior is intrinsic to the idea of delinquency. Even if we recognize that some young people commit crimes without being caught and labeled as delinquents, theycouldn‘t threaten our hypothesis, because our actual observations would lead us to conclude they were law-abiding n0ndelinquents. Figure 2-2 provides a schematic diagram of the traditional model of scientific inquiry. In it we see the researcher beginning with an interest in a phenomenon (such as juvenile delinquency). Next comes the development of a theoretical under- standing, in this case that a single concept (such as social class) might explain others. The theoretical considerations result in an expectation about what should be observed if the theory is correct. The notation X = f(Y) is a conventional way of saying. that X (for example, delinquency) is a function of (depends on) Y (for example, social class). At that level, however, X and Ystill have rather general meanings that could give rise to quite different observations and measurements. Operationalization specifies the procedures that will be used to mea» sure the variables. The lowercase x in Figure 2-2, for example, is a precisely measurable indicator of capital X. This operationalization process results in the formation of a testable hypothesis: for example, self-reported theft is a function of family income. Observations aimed at finding out whether this statement accurately describes reality are part of what is typically called hypothesis testing. (See "Hints for Stating Hypotheses” for more on the process of formulating hypotheses.) Deductive and Inductive Reasoning: A Case Illustration As you probably recognized, the traditional model of science just described is a nice example of deductive reasoning: From a general theoretical understanding, the researcher derives (deduces) an expectation and finally a testable hypothesis. This Idea/interest "What causes X?" THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING WWW” r a HYPOTHESIS X: fiY) Theoretical expectation H U Operationalization x= f(y) Testable hypothesis L x; fly) Observation (hypothesis testing) FIGURE 2—2 The Traditional Image of Science. The deductive model of scientific inquiry begins with a sometimes vague or general question, which is subjected to a procas of specification, resulting in hypotheses that can be tested through empirical observations. picture is tidy. but in reality science uses inductive reasoning as well. Let‘s consider a real research ex- ample as a vehicle for comparing the deductive and inductive linkages between theory and research. Years ago, Charles Glock, Benjamin Ringer, and 1 (1967) set out to discover what caused differing levels of church involvement among U.S. EpiSCo- palians. Several theoretical or quasi-theoretical positions suggested possible answers. I‘ll focus on only one here: what we came to call the "Corniort Hypothesis.” In part, we took our lead from the Christian injunction to care for “the halt, the lame, and the blind” and those who are “weary and heavy laden." At the same time, ironically, we noted the Marxist assertion that religion is an "opiate for the masses." Given both, it made sense to expect the following, which was our hypothesis: "Parishioners whose life situations most deprive them of satisfac- tion and fulfillment in the secular society turn to '-'—I- a Riley E. Dunlap DepartmentafSociolagy Oklahoma State University / Ahypothesis is the basic statement that is tested in researchiypi- cally a hypothesis states a relationship between two variables. (Although it is possible to use more than two variables, you should stick to two for now.) Because a hypothesis makes a prediction about the relationship between the two variables, it must be testable so you can determine if the prediction is right or wrong when you examine the results obtained in your study. A hypothesis must be stated in an unam- biguous manner to be cléarly testablelNhat follows are suggestions for developing testable hypotheses. Assume you have an interest in trying to predict some phenomenon such as "attitudes toward women’s liberation,”and that you can measure such attitudes on a continuum ranging from "opposed to women's liberal tion"to "neutral" to “supportive oiwomen‘s liberation."Also assume that, lacking a theory, you’ll rely on "hunches'to come upwlth variablesthar might be related to attitudes toward women's liberation In a sense, you can think of hypothesis construction as a case of filling in the b!anl<:"____ is related to attitudes toward women's liberation.” Your job is to think of a variable that might plausibly be related tonsuch attitudes, and then to word a hypothesis that states a relationship between the two variables (the onethat fills in the"blank" and"attitudes toward women's |iberation").You need to do so in a pre— cise manner so that you can determine clearly whether the hypothesis is supported or not when you examine the results (in this case, most likely the results of a survey). The key is to word the hypothesis carefully so that the prediction it makes is quite clear to you as well as otherslf you use age,note that saying "Age is relatedE to attitudes toward women's liberation"doe5 not say precisely how you thinkthe two are related (in fart,the only way this hypothesis could be falsified is if you fail to find a statistically significant relationship of any type between age and attitudes tow ard women's li'or oration). In this casea couple of steps are necessary. You have two options: 1. “Age is related to attitudes toward women's liberation,with younger adults being more supportive than older adults." (Or, you could state the opposite, if you believed older people are likely to be more supportive.) 2. "Age is negatively related to support for women’s liberation."Note here thatl specify"support"forwomen's liberation (SWL) and then predicta negative relationship—that i5,as age goes up,| predict that SWL will go down. Two Logical Systems Revisited I 49 D Hifits‘jtfiStating_l:lypotheses In this hypothesis, note that both of the variables (age, the __, Independent variameor likely"cause,"and 5W1, the dependent variable or |ikely“efiect”) range from low to highihis feature of the two variables is what allows you to use'hegatively"(or”posttivrly”) to describe the relationship. Notice what happens if you hypothesize a relationship between gender and SWL Because gender is a nominal varigble (as you'll learn in Chapter 5) it does not range from low to high—people are either male or female (the two attributes of the variable gradedionse— quently, you must be careful in stating the hypothesis unambiguously: 1. "Gender is positively (or negatively) related to SWt'is not an adequate hypothesis,because'it doesn’t specify how you expect gender to be related to SWL~—that is, whether you think may or women will be more supportive of women's liberation. 2. It's tempting to say something like"Women are positively related to SWL' but this really doesn’t work, because female is onlyan attribute, not a full variable {gender is the variable}. 3. "Gender is related to SWL,with women being more supportive than men"would be my recommendationflr, you could say, “with men being less supportivethan Women‘ivhich makes the identical predictionltlfcourseyou could also makethe opposite prediction,that men are more supportive than women are,it you wished.) 4. Equally legitimate would be”Women are more likely to support women's liberation than are men.“(l~lote the need for the second"are,"oryou could be construed as hypothesii'rng that women support women's liberation more than they support men—not quite the same idea.) The above examples hypothesized relationships between a “characteristic” (age or gender} and an “orientation” (attitudes towa rd women’s liberation). Because the causal order is pretty clear {obvi- ously age and gender come before attitudes, and are less alterable), we could stage the hypotheses as I’ve clone, and eveiyon'e would assume that we were stating causal hypotheses. finally, you may run across references to the null hypothesis, especially in statisticsSuch a hypothesis predicts no relationship (technically, no statistically significant relationship) between the two variables, and it is always implicit in testing hypotheses. Basically if you have hypothesized a positive (or negative) relationship, you are hoping that the results will allow you to reject the null hypothesis and verify your hypothesized relationship. so I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research the church for comfort and substitute rewards” (Glock, Ringer, and Babble 1967: 107—8). Having framed this general hypothesis, we set about testing it. Were those deprived of satisfaction in the secular society in fact more religious than those who received more satisfaction from the sec- ular society? To answer this. we needed to distin- guish who was deprived. The questionnaire, which was constructed for the purpose of testing the Com- fort Hypothesis, included items that seemed to offer indicators of whether parishioners were relatively deprived or gratified in secular society. To start, we reasoned that men enjoy more status than women do in our generally male-dom- inated society. Though hardly novel, this conclu- sion laid the groundwork for testing the Comfort Hypothesis. If we were correct in our hypothesis. women should appear more religious than men. Once the survey data had been collected and ana- lyzed, our expectation about gender and religion was clearly confirmed. On three separate measures of religious involvement—ritual (such as church attendance), organizational (such as belonging to church organizations). and intellectual (such as reading church publications)-—women were more religious than men. On our overall measure, women scored 50 percent higher than men. in another test of the Comfort Hypothesis, we reasoned that in a youth-oriented society, old peo- ple would be more deprived of secular gratification than the young would. Once again, the data confirmed our expectation. The oldest parishioners were more religious than the middle-aged. who were more religious than young adults. Social class—measured by education and income-—afforded another test of the Comfort Hypothesis. Once again, the test succeeded. Those with low social status were more involved in the church than those with high social status were. null hypothesis In connection with hypothesis testing and tests of statistical significance, that hy- pothesis that soggests there is no relationship among the variables under study. You may conclude that the variables are related after having statistically re- jected the null hypothesis. The hypothesis was even confirmed in a test that went against everyone‘s commonsense expec- tations. Despite church posters showing worship- ful young families and bea ring the slogan "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together,” the Comfort Hypothesis suggested that parishioners who were married and had children—the clear American ideal at that time—would enjoy secular gratification in that regard. As a consequence, they should be less religious than those who lacked one or both family components. Thus, we hypothesized that parishioners who were both single and child- less should be the most religious; those with either spouse or child should be somewhat less religious; and those married with children—representing the ideal pictured on all those posters—should be the least religious of all. That’s exactly what we found. Finally, the Comfort Hypothesis suggested that the various kinds of secular deprivation should be cumulative: Those with all the characteristics associated with deprivation should be the most re- ligious; those with none should he the least. When we combined the four individual measures of deprivation into a composite measure, the theoreti- cal expectation was exactly confirmed. Comparing the two extremes, we found that single, childless, elderly, lower-class female parishioners scored more than three times as high on the measure of church involvement than did young-married, upper-class fathers. Thus was the Comfort Hypoth- esis confirmed. I like this research example because it so clearly illustrates the logic of the deductive model. Begin- ning with general, theoretical expectations about the impact of social deprivation on church involve- ment, one could derive concrete hypotheses link- ing specific measurable variables, such as age and church attendance. The actual empirical data could then be analyzed to determine whether empirical reality supported the deductive expectations. I say this example shows how it was possible to do it that way, but, alas, I've been fibbing. To tell the mob, although we began with an interest in discovering what caused variations in church involvement among Episcopalians, we didn’t actually begin with a Comfort Hypothesis. or any other hypothesis for that matter. (In the interest of further honesty, Clock and Ringer initiated the study. and I joined it years after the data had been collected.) A questionnaire was designed to collect information that might shed some light on why some parishioners participated in the church more/ than others, but the construction of the question- naire was not guided by any precise, deductive theory. Once the data were collected, the task of explaining diflerences in religiosity began with an analysis of variables that have a wide impact on people's lives, including gender, age, soda! class, and family status. Each of these four variables was found to relate strongly to church involvement, in the ways already described. Indeed, they had a cumulative effect, also already described. Rather than being good news, however, this presented a dilemma. Glock recalls discussing his findings with col- leagues over lunch at the Columbia faculty club. Once he had displayed the tables illustrating the impact of each individual variable as well as their powerful composite effect, a colleague asked, “What does it all mean, Charlie?” Glock was at a loss. Why were those variables so strongly related to Church involvement? That question launched a process of reasoning about what the several variables had in common, aside from their impact on religiosity. Eventually he saw that each of the four variables also reflected drfcremr'al status in the secular society. He then had the thought that perhaps the issue of comfort was involved. Thus, the inductive process had moved from concrete observations to a general theoretical explanation. It seems easier to lay out the steps involved in deductive than inductive research. Deductive research begins with a theory, from which we may derive hypotheses—which are then tested through observations. Inductive research begins with obser- vations and proceeds with a search for patterns in what we have observed. In a quantitative study, we can search for correlations or relationships between variables (discussed further in Chapter 16). Thus, once a relationship has been discovered between gender and religiosity, our attention turns to figur— ing out logical reasons why that is so. Two Logical Systems Revisited - 51 Most qualitative research is oriented toward the inductive rather than the deductive approach. However, qualitative research does not, by defini- tion, allow us to use statistical tools to find cor- relations that point toward patterns in need of explanation (see Chapter I4). Although there are computer programs designed for recording and. analyzing qualitative data, the qualitative induc- tive analyst needs a strong reserve of insight and reflection to tease important patterns out of a body of observations. A Graphic Contrast As the preceding case illustration shows, theory and research can usefully be done both inductively and deductively. Figure 2-3 shows a graphic com- parison of the two approaches as applied to an in- quiry into study habits and performance on exams. In both cases, we are interested in the relationship beIWeen the number of hours spent studying for an exam and the grade earned on that exam. Using the deductive method, we would begin by exam- inng the matter logically. Doing well on an exam reflects a student’s ability to recall and manipu- late information. Both of these abilities should be increased by exposure to the information before the exam. In this fashion. we would arrive at a hy- pothesis suggesting a positive relationship between the number of hours spent studying and the grade earned on the exam. We say "positive" because we expect grades to increase as the hours of studying increase. If increased hours produced decreased grades, that would be called a negative, or inverse, relationship. The hypothesis is represented by the line in part 1(a) of Figure 2-3. Our next step would be to make observations relevant to testing our hypothesis. The shaded area in part 1(b) of the figure represents perhaps hundreds of observations of different students, specifically, how many hours they studied and what grades they received. Finally, in part l(c), we compare the hypothesis and the observations. Be- cause observations in the real world seldom if ever match our expectations perfectly, we must decide whether the match is close enough to consider lll' . it i ll f " I'll l l ll|:' 52 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research a. Hypothesis 100 Grades 0 10 20 30 40 Hours studying b. Observations 100 50 Grades o 10 20 30 4o Hours studying c. Accept or reject hypothesis? 100 50 Grades Hours studying FIGURE 2-3 3. Observations 100 50 G rades Hours studying 13. Finding a pattern 100 50 Grades Hours studying c. Tentative conclusion 100 50 Grades O 10 20 30 40 Hours studying Deductive and inductive Methods. Both deduction and induction are legitimate and valuable approaches to understanding. Deduc- tion begins with an expected pattern that is tested against observations, whereas induction begins with observations and seeks to find a pattern within them. the hypothesis confirmed. Put differently, can we conclude that the hypothesis describes the general pattern that exists, granting some variations in real life? Sometimes, answering this question neces- sitates methods of statistical analysis, which will be discussed in Part 4. Now suppose we used the inductive method to address the same research question. In this case, we would begin with a set of observations, as in part 2(a) of Figure 2-3. Curious about the relationship between hours spent studying and grades earned, we might simply arrange to collect relevant data. Then we’d 100k for a pattern that best represented or summarized our observations. In part itb) oi the figure, the pattern is shown as a curved line run— ning through the center of our observations. The pattern found among the points in this case suggests that with l. to 15 hours of studying, each additional hour generally produces a higher grade on the exam. With 15 to about 25 hours, however, more study seems to lowor the grade slightly. Studying more than 25 hours, on the other hand, results in a return to the initial pattern: More hours produce higher grades. Using the inductive/r" method, then, we end up with a tentative conclu— sion about the pattern of the relationship between the two variables. The conclusion is tentative because the observations we have made cannot be taken as a test of the pattern—those observations are the source of the pattern we've created. As I discussed in Chapter 1, in actual practice, theory and research interact through a never-end- ing alternation of deduction and induction. A good example is the classic work of Emile Durkheim on suicide ([1897] 1951). When Durkheim pored over table after table of official statistics on suicide rates in different areas, he was struck by the fact that Protestant countries consistently had higher suicide rates than Catholic ones did. Why should that be the case? His initial observations led him to create inductively a theory of religion, social integration, anomie, and suicide. His theoretical explanations in turn led deductively to further hypotheses and further observations. In summary, the scientific norm of logical reasoning provides a two-way bridge between theory and research. Scientific inquiry in practice typically involves alternating between deduction and induction. Both methods involve an interplay of logic and observation. And both are routes to the construction of social theories. Although both inductive and deductive meth- ods are valid in scientific inquiry, individuals may feel more comfortable with one approach than the other. Consider this exchange in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “A Scandal in Bohemia,” as Sherlock Holmes answers Dr. Watson’s inquiry (Doyle [1891] 1892: 13): “What do you imagine that it means?” "I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise befOre one has data. lnsensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Deductive Theory Construction I 53 Some social scientists would more or less agree with this inductive position (see especially the discussion of grounded theory in Chapter 10). whereas others would take a more deductive stance. Most, however, concede the legitimacy of both approaches] ’ / With this understanding of the deductive and inductive links between theory and research in hand, let’s now delve a little more deeply into how theories are constructed using either of these two different approaches. Deductive Theory Construction To see what’s involved in deductive theory con- struction and hypothesis testing, imagine that you’re going to construct a deductive theory. How would you go about it? Getting Started The first step in deductive theory construction is to pick a topic that‘interests you. The topic can be very broad, such as "What is the structure of society?” or it can be narr0wer, as in “Why do people support or oppose the idea of a woman's right to an abor- tion?" Whatever the topic, it should be something you're interested in u‘hderstanding and explaining. Once you've picked your topic, the next step is to undertake an inventory of what's already known or thought about it. in part, this means writing down your own observations and ideas. Beyond that, it means learning what other scholars have said about it. You can talk to other people, and you’ll want to read the scholarly literature on the topic. Appendix A provides guidelines focusing the library—you’ll liker spend a lot of time there. Your preliminary research will probably un- cover consistent patterns discovered by prior schol- ars. For example, religious and political variables will stand out as important determinants of atti- tudes about abortion. Findings such as these will be very useful to you in creating your own theory. In this process, don't overlook the value of introspection. Whenever we can look at our own personal processes—including reactions, tears, and prejudices—we may gain important insights into 54 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Researdi human behavior in general. I don't mean to say that everyone thinks like you or me, but introspec— tion can provide a useful source of insights that can‘ inform our inquiries. Constructing Your Theory Now that you've reviewed previous work on the topic, you're ready to begin constructing your theory. Although theory construction is not a lock- step affair, the process generally involves something like the following steps. 1. Specify the topic. 2. Specify the range of phenomena your theory addresses. Will your theory apply to all of human social life, will it apply only to us. citizens, only to young people, or what? Identify and Specify your major concepts and variables. Find out what is known (propositions) about the relationships among those variables. Reason logically from those propOsitions t0 the specific topic you're examining. We've already discussed items (1) through (3), so let's focus now on (4) and (5). As you identify the relevant concepts and discover what‘s already been learned about them, you can begin to create a propositional structure that explains the topic under study. Let’s look now at an example of how these building blocks fit together in deductive theory construction and empirical research. An Example of Deductive Theory: Distributive Justice A topic of interest to scholars is the concept of distributive justice, people‘s perceptions of whether they are being treated fairly by life, whether they are getting "their share.” Guillermina Jasso describes the theory of distributive justice more formally, as follows: The theory provides a mathematical description of'the process whereby individuals, reflecting on their holdings of the goods they value (such as beauty, intelligence, or wealth), compare themselves to others, experiencing a funda- mental instantaneo'us magnitude of the justice evaluation (J ). which captures their sense of being fairly or unfairly treated in the distribu— tions of natural and social goods. (Jessa 1988: 11) Notice that Jasso has assigned a symbolic representation for her key variable: J will stand for distributivejustice. She does this to support her intention of stating her theory in mathemati- cal formulas. Though theories are often eirpressed mathematically, we’ll not delve too deeply into that pracrice here. Jasso indicates that there are three kinds of postulates in her theory. "The first makes explicit the fundamental axiom which represents the substantive point of departure for the theory." She elaborates as follows: “The theory begins with the received Axiom of Comparison, which formalizes the long-held view that a wide class of phenomena, including happiness, self-esteem, and the sense of distributive justiCe. may be understood as the prod- uct of a comparison process” (Jasso 1988: 11). Thus, your sense of whether you 're receiving a "fair" share of the good things of life comes from comparing yourself with others. if this seems obvi- (ms to you, that’s not a shortcoming of the axiom. Remember, axioms are the taken-for-granted beginnings of theory. Jasso continues to do the groundwork for her theory. First, she indicates that our sense of distrib- utive justice is a function of “Actual Holdings (A)" and "Comparison Holdings (C)" of some good. Let’s consider money, for example. My sense of justice in this regard is a function of how much I actually have, compared with how much others have. By specifying the two components of the comparison, Jasso can use them as variables in her theory. Next, Jasso offers a "measurement rule” that further specifies how the two variables. A and C, will be conceptualized. This step is needed because some of the goods to be examined are concrete and commonly measured (such as money). whereas others are less tangible (such as respect). The former kind, she says, will be measured conven- tionally, whereas the latter will be measured “by the individuals relative rank . . . within a specially selected comparison group.” The theory will pro- vide a formula for making that measurement (lasso 1988: 13). lasso continues in this fashion to introduce ad- ditional elements, weaving them into mathematical formulas to be used in deriving predictiOns about the workings of distributive justice in a variety of/ social settings. Here is just a sampling of where her theorizing takes her (1988'. 14—15). 0 Other things [being] the same, a person will prefer to steal from a fellow group member rather than from an outsider. The preference to steal from a fellow group member is more pronounced in poor groups than in rich groups. In the case of theft, informants arise only in cross—gmup theft, irt which case they are mem- bers of the thief '5 group. Persons who arrive a week late at summer camp or for freshman year of college are more likely to become friends of persons who play games of chance than of persons who play games of skill. A society becomes more vulnerable to deficit spending as its wealth increases. Societies in which population growth is wel- comed must be societies in which the set of valued goods includes at least one quantity- good. such as wealth. Jasso's theory leads to many other propositions, but this sampling should previde a good sense of where deductive theorizing can take you. To get a feeling for how she reasons her way to these propositions, let's look briefly at the logic involved in two of the propositions that relate to theft within and outside one‘s group. 0 Other things [being] the same, a person will prefer to steal from a fellow group member rather than from an outsider. Beginning with the assumption that thieves Want to maximize their relative wealth, ask yourself whether that goal wriuld be best served by stealing from those you compare your5elf with or from Outsiders. In each case, stealing will increase your Deductive Theory (custodian I 55 Actual Holdings, but what about your Comparison Holdings? - A moment’s thought should suggest that steal- ing from people in your comparison group will lower their holdings, further increasing your rela- -: tive wealth. To_simplify, imagine there are only two people in your comparison group: you and 1. Suppose we each have $100. If you steal $50 from someone outside our group, you will have in- creased your relative wealth by 50 percent com- pared with me: $150 versus 5100. But if you steal $50 from me, you will have increased your relative wealth 200 percent: $150 to my $50. Your goal is best served by stealing from within the comparison group. I In the case of theft, informants arise only in cross-group theft, in which case they are mem- bers of the thief's group. Can you see why it would make sense for in— formants (l) to arise only in the case of cross-group theft and (2) to come from the thief 's comparison group? This proposition again depends on the fundamental assumption that everyone wants to increase his or her relative standing. Suppose you and I are in the same comparison group. but this time the group contains additional people. If you steal from someone else within our comparison group, my relative standing in the group does not change. Although your wealth has increased, the average wealth in the group remains the same (be- cause someone else's wealth has decreased by the same amount). 50 my relative standing remains the same. i have no incentive to inform on you. If you steal from someone outside our com- pa rison group. however, your nefarious income I; increases the total wealth in our group. Now my own wealth relative to that total is diminished. '. " Because my relative wealth has suffered, I'm more . l 1' likely to inform on you in order to bring an end i to your stealing. Hence, informants arise only in ll cross-group theft. ‘l'l n This last deduction also begins to explain it why these informants come from the thief 's own comparison group. We’ve just seen how your theft decreased my relative standing. How about mem- bers of the other group {other than the individual you Stole from)? Each of them actually profits from l l 56 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research F‘s-r I" ,Dpjrttirra—mrrtg—gfilhmtfiais As we have seen, the deductive method of research typically focuses on the testing of a hypothesis. Let’s take a minute to look at how to create a hypothesis for testing. Hypotheses state an expected causal relationship between two (or more) variables. let’s suppose you're interested in stodent political orientationsand your review of the literature and your own reasoning suggest to you that college major will play some part in détermining students'political views. Alreadywe have two variablesrcaiiege major and political orientation. Moreovetpaiiricai orientation is the dependent variable——you believe it depends on something else, on the indepen- dent variable,which in this case is college major. Now we need to specify the attributes comprising each of these variables. For simplicity‘s sake, let‘s assume political orientation includes only liberal or conservative. And to simplify the matterof major, let's sup- pose your research interests focus on the presumed differences between business students and those in the social sciences. Even with these simplifications, you would heed to specify more concretely how you would recognize a liberal are conservative when the theft, because you have reduced the total with which they compare themselves. Hence, they have no reason to inform on you. Thus, the theory of distributive justice predicts that informants arise from the thief’s own comparison group. This brief peek into Jasso's derivations should give you some sense of the enterprise of deduc- tive theory. Of course, the theory guarantees none of the given predictions. The role of research is to test each of them to determine whether what makes sense (logic) actually occurs in practice (observation). See “How to Do It: Framing a Hypothesis” for a look at creating hypotheses for deductive purposes. inductive Theory Construction As we have seen, quite often social scientists begin constructing a theory through the inductive method by first observing aspects of social life and you came across them in your studylhis process of specification will be discussed at length in Chapter 5. For now. let's assume you will ask student-subjects whether they consider themselves liberals or conserva- tives,letting each student report on what the terms mean to them. (As well see laier, this simple dichotomy is unlikely to work in practiceas some students would want to identify themselves as independents or something else.) identifying students'rnajors isn't as straightforward as you might think. For example, what disciplines compose the social sciences in your study? Also, must students be declared majors or simply be planning to major in one of the relevant fields? Oncethese issues have been settled, you are ready to state your hypothesis. For example, it might be the following: 'Students majoring in the social sciences will be more likely to identiiythemselves as liberalsthan are those majoring in business." ‘rln addition to this basic expectationyou may wish to specifylmore likely”in terms of how much more likely. Chapter 16 will provide some options in this regard. . .. _c_. then seeking to discover patterns that may point to relatively universal principles. Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss (1967) coined the term grounded theory in reference to this method. Field research—the direct observation of events in progress—is frequently used to develop theories through observation. In a long and rich tradition, anthropologists have used this method to good advantage. Among modern social scientists, no one has been more adept at seeing the patterns of human behavior through observation than Erving Goffrnan: A game Such as chess generates a habitable universe for those who can follow it, a plane of being, a cast of characters with a seemingly un- limited number of different situations and acts through which to realize their natures and des- tinies. th much of this is reducible to a small set of interdependent rules and practices. If the meaningfulness of everyday activity is similarly dependent on a closed, finite set of rules, then explication of them would give one a powerful means of analyzing social life. (1974: 5) in a variety of research efforts, Goffman uncov- ered the rules of such diverse behaviors as living in a mental institution (1961) and managing the “spoiled identity” of being disfigured (1963). In each case, Goffman observed the phenomenon in depth and teased out the rules governing behavior. Goffman's research pr0vides an excellent example of qualitative field research as a source of grounded theory. Our earlier discussion of the Comfort Hypoth- esis and church involvement shows that qualitative field research is hot the only method of observa- tion appropriate to the development of inductive theory. Here’s another detailed example to illustrate further the construction of inductive theory using quantitative methods. An Example of Inductive Theory: Why Do People Smoke Marijuana? During the 19605 and 19705, marijuana use on US. college campuses was a subject of consider- able discussion in the popular press. Some people were troubled by marijuana's popularity: others welcomed it. What interests us here is why some students smoked marijuana and others didn‘t. A survey of students at the University of Hawaii by David Takeuchi (1974) provided the data to answer that question. At the time of the study. a huge number of explanations were being offered for drug use. People who opposed drug use, for example, often suggested that marijuana smokers were academic failures trying to avoid the rigors of college life. Th05e in favor of marijuana, on the other hand, of- ten spoke of the search for new values: Marijuana smokers, they said, were people who had seen through the hypocrisy of middle—class values. Takeuchi's analysis of the data gathered from University of Hawaii students. however, did not Support any of the explanations being offered. Inductive Theory Construction I 57 Those who reported smoking marijuana had es- sentially the same academic records as those who didn’t smoke it, and both groups were equally in— volved in traditional “school spirit” activities. Both groups seemed to feel equally well integrated into campus life. 4" There were other differences between the groups, however: 1. Women were less likely than men to smoke marijuana. 2. Asian students (a large proportion of the stu- dent body) were less llkely to smoke marijuana than non-Asians were. 3. Students living at home were less likely to smoke marijuana than those living in apart- ments were. As in the case of religiosity, the three variables independently affected the likelihood of a student's smoking marijuana. About 10 percent of the Asian women living at home had smoked marijuana, in contrast to about 80 percent of the non-Asian men living in apartments. And, as in the religiosity study, the researchers discovered a powerful pat- tern of drug use before they had an explanation for that pattern. In this instance, the explanation took a peculiar turn. Instead of explaining why some Students smoked marijuana, the researchers explained why some didn’t. Assuming that all students had some motivation for trying drugs, the researchers suggested that students differed in the degree of “social constraints” preventing them from follow- ing through on that motivation. US. society is, on the whole, more permis- sive with men than with women when it comes to deviant behavior. Consider, for example, a group of men getting drunk and boisterous. We tend to dismiss such behavior with references to “camara- derie" and “having a good time," whereas a group of women behaving similarly would probably be re- garded with disapproval. We have an idiom, “Boys will be boys," but no comparable idiom for girls. The researchers reasoned, therefore, that women would have more to lose by smoking marijuana than men would. In other words, being female pro- vided a constraint against smoking marijuana. 58 I Chapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research Students living at home had obvious con- straints against smoking marijuana, compared with students living on their own. Quite aside from dif- ferences in opportunity, those living at home were seen as being more dependent on their parents— hence more vulnerable to additional punishment for breaking the law. Finally, the Asian subculture in Hawaii has tra- ditionally placed a higher premium on obedience to the law than other subcultures have, so Asian stu- dents would have more to lose if they were caught violating the law by smoking marijuana. Overall, then, a “social constraints” theory was offered as the explanation for observed differences in the likelihood of smoking marijuana. The more constraints a student had, the less likely he or she would be to smoke marijuana. It bears repeating that the researchers had no thoughts about such a theory when their research began. The theory came from an examination of the data. The Links between Theory and Research Throughout this chapter, we have seen various aspects of the links between theory and research in social science inquiry. In the deductive model, research is used to test theories. In the inductive model, theories are developed from the analysis of research data. This final section looks more closely into the ways theory and research are related in actual social science inquiry. Whereas we have discussed two idealized logi- cal models for linking theory and research, social science inquiries have developed a great many variations on these themes. Sometimes theoreti- cal issues are introduced merely as a background for empirical analyses. Other studies cite selected empirical data to bolster theoretical arguments. In neither case do theory and research really interact forthe purpose of developing new explanations. Some studies make no use of theory at all, aim- ing Specifically, for example, at an ethnographic description of a particular social situation, such as an anthropological account of food and dress in a particular society. As you read social research reports, however, you'll often find that the authors are conscious of the implications of their research for social theories and vice versa. Here are a few examples to illus— trate this point. when W. Lawrence Neuman (1998) set out to examine the problem of monopolies (the “trust problem") in U.S. history, he saw the relevance of theories about how social movements trans- form society (“state transformation”). He became convinced, however, that existing theories were inadequate for the task before him: State transformation theory links social move- ments to state policy formation processes by focussing on the role of cultural meaning in organized political struggles. Despite a resem- blance among concepts and concerns, construc- tionist ideas found in the social problems, social movements, and symbolic politics literatures have not been incorporated into the theory. In this paper, I draw on these three literatures to enhance state transformation theory. (Newman 1998: 31' 5) Having thus modified State transformation theory, Neutnan had a theoretical tool that could guide his inquiry and analysis into the political maneuver- ings related to monopolies beginning in the 1880s and continuing until World War 1. Thus, theory served as a resource for research and at the same time was modified by it. In a somewhat similar study, Alemseghed Kebede and J. David Knottnerus (1998) set out to investigate the rise of Rastafarianism in the Carib- bean. HoWever, they felt that recent theories on social movements had become too positivistic in focusing on the mobilization of resources. Resource mobilization theory, they felt, downplays the motivation, perceptions, and behavior of movement participants . . . and concentrates instead on the whys and hows of mobilization. Typically theoretical and research problems include: How do emerging movement organiza- tions seek to mobilize and routinize the flow of resources and how does the existing political apparatus affect the organization of resources? (i998: 500) To study Rastafarianism more appropriately, the researchers felt the need to include several concepts from contemporary social psychology. In particular: a ‘ they sought models to use in dealing with problems of meaning and collective thought. Frederika Schmitt and Patricia Martin (1999) were particularly interested in discovering what made for successful rape crisis centers and how they dealt with the organizational and political environments within which they operated. The researchers found theoretical constructs appropri- ate to their inquiry: This case study of unobtrusive mobilizing by Southern California Rape Crisis Center uses archival, observational, and interview data to explore how a feminist organization worked to change police, schools, prosecutor, and some state and national organizations from 1974 to 1994. Mansbridge’s concept of street theory and Katzenstein’s concepts of unobtrusive mobilization and discursive politics guide the analysis. (1999:364) In summary, there is no simple recipe for concluding social science research. It is far more open-ended than the traditional view of science suggests. Ultimately, Science depends on two cat- egories of activity: logic and observation. As you'll see throughout this book, they can be fit together in many patterns. Research Ethics and Theory In Chapter 1, I introduced the subject of research ethics and said we would return to that topic throughout the book. At this point, what ethical issues do you suppose theory engenders? In this chapter, we have seen how the para- digms and theories that guide research inevitany impact what is observed and how it is interpreted. Main Points I 59 Choosing a particular paradigm or theory does not guarantee a particular research conclusion, but it will affect what you look for and what you ignore. Whether you choose a functionalist. or a conflict paradigm to organize your research on police—community‘relations will made a big difference. This is a difficult issue to resolve in practice. Choosing a theoretical orientation for the purpose of encouraging a particular conclusion would be re- garded as unethical as a general matter, but when research is linked to an intention to bring about social change, the researcher will likely choose a theoretical orientation appropriate to that inten- tion. Let's say you're concerned about the treat- ment of homeless people by the police in your community. You might organize your research in terms of interactionist or conflict paradigms and theories that would reveal any instances of mis- treatment that may occur. Two factors counter the potential problem of bias from theoretical orientation. First, as we‘ll see in the remainder of the book, social science re- search techniques—the various methods of obser- vation and analysis—place a damper on our simply seeing what we expect. Even if you expect to find the police mistreating the homeless and use theo- ries and methods that will reveal such mistreat- ment, you will not observe what isn’t there if you apply those theories and methods appropriately. Second, the collective nature of social research offers further protection. As indicated in Chapter 1, peer review in which researchers evaluate each other’s efforts will point to instances of shoddy and/or biased research, Moreover, with several re- searchers studying the same phenomenon, perhaps using different paradigms, theories, and meth- ods, the risk of biased research findings is further reduced. =MMN POINTS: Introduction 0 Theories function in three ways in research: (I) helping to avoid flukes, (2) making sense of observed patterns, and (3) shaping and directing research efforts. 60 I Giapter 2: Paradigms, Theory, and Social Research Some Social Science Paradigms 0 Social scientists use a variety of paradigms to organize how they understand and inquire into social life. 0 A distinction between types of theOries that cuts across various paradigms is macrotheory (theories about large-scale features of society) versus mi- crotheory (theories about smaller units or features of society). 0 The positivistic paradigm assumes that we can scientifically discover the rules governing social life. 0 The Social Darwinist paradigm sees a progressive evolution in social life. 0 The conflict paradigm focuses on the attempt of individuals and groups to dominate others and to avoid being dominated o The symbolic interaction paradigm examines how shared meanings and social patterns develop in the course of social interactions. 0 Ethnomethodology focuses on the ways people make sense out of social life in the process of liv- ing it, as though each were a researcher engaged in an inquiry. o The structural functionalist (or social systems) para~ digrn seeks to discover what functions the many elements of society perform for the whole system. a Feminist paradigms, in addition to drawing atten- tion to the oppression of women in most Societies, highlight h0w previous images of social reality have often come from and reinforced the experi- ences of men. 0 Like feminist paradigms, critical race theory both examines the disadvantaged position of a social group (African Americans) and offers a different vantage point from which to view and understand society. 0 Some contemporary theorists and researchers have challenged the long-standing belief in an objective reality that abides by rational rules. They point out that it is possible to agree on an “intersubjective' reality, a view that characterizes postmodernism. Elements of Social Theory 0 The elements of social theory include observa— tions, facts, and laws (which relate to the reality being observed), as well as concepts, variables, axioms or postulates, propositions, and hypothe- ses (which are logical building blocks of the theory itself). Two Logical Systems Revisited o In the traditional image of science, scientists pro- ceed from theory to operationalization to observa— tion. But this image does not accurately depict how scientific research is actually done. a Social scientific theory and research are linked through the two logical methods of deduction (the derivation of expectations and hypotheses from theories) and induction (the development of generalizations from specific observations). 0 In practice, science is a process involving an alter- nation of deduction and induction. Ded uctive Theory Construction 0 Guillermina Jasso's theory of distributive justice illustrates how formal reasoning can lead to a vari- ety of theoretical expectations that can be tested by observation. Inductive Theory Construction 0 David Takeuchi's study of factors influencing marijuana smoking among University of Hawaii students illustrates how collecting observations can lead to generalizations and an explanatory theory. The Links between Theory and Research 0 In practice, there are many possible links between theory and research and many ways of going about social inquiry. Research Ethics and Theory 0 Researchers should not use paradigm and theory selection as a means of achieving desired reSea rch results. 0 The collective nature of social research offers pro- tection against biased research findings. E-KEYTERMSfl The following terms are defined in context in the chapter and at the bottom of the page where the term is introduced, as well as in the comprehensive glossary at the back of the book. conflict paradigm interest convergence critical race theory macmtheory critical realism microtheory feminist paradigms null hypothesis hypothesis operational definition operationalization postmodernism structural functionalism symbolic interactionism paradigm positivism ngorosms soclitantsntnggjgggggym mmwwxm :mj’efifl. Web As this chapter has indicated, social research can be pursued within numerous theoretical paradigms— each suggesting a somewhat different way to approach the research question. In this portion of your proposal, you should identify the pa‘radigm(s) that will shape the design of your research. We have also seen that paradigms provide frame- works within which causal theories may be developed, Perhaps your research project will explore or test an existing theory. Or more ambitiously, you may propose a‘theory or hypothesis for testing. This is the section of the proposal in which to describe this aspect of your project. Not all research projects are formally organized around the creation and/or testing of theories and hypotheses. However, your research will involve theoretical concepts, which should be described in this section of the proposal. As we'll see more fully in Chapter 17, this portion of your proposal will reflect the literature on previous theory and research that has shaped yOur own thinking and research plans. , REVIEWr-QllESTIONS-ANDEKERCISESfi 1. Consider the possible relationship between educa- tion and prejudice that was mentioned in Chapter 1. Describe how you might examine that relation- ship through (a) deductive and (b) inductive methods. 2. Review the relationships between theory and re- search discussed in this chapter. Select a research article from an academicjournal and classify the relationship between theory and research you find there. 3. Using one of the many search engines (such as Google, Excite, HotBot, Ask Jeeves, LookSmart, Lycos, Netscape, WebCrawler, or Yahoo), find in— formation on the web concerning at least three of the following paradigms: functionalism, symbolic interactionism, conflict theory, ethnomethodol- ogy, feminist paradigms, critical race paradigms, rational choice paradigm. Give the web locations and report on thetheorists discussed in connec- tion with the discussions you found. Online Study Resources I 61 4. Using InfoTrac College Edition (Article A67051613) or the library, locate Judith A. Howard (2000), “Social Psychology of Identi- ties,” Annual Review of Sociology 26:367—93. What paradigm does she find most useful for the study of social identitiesZExplain why she feels that it is the appropriate p’aradigm. Do you agree? Why or why not? srss utensil: See the booklet that accompanies your text for ex— ercises using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). There are exercises offered for ea ch chapter, and you’ll also find a detailed primer on using SPSS. Online Study Resources If your book came with an access code card, visit wwwcengagecomllogin to register. To purchase access, please visit wwvvtichapterscom. 1. Before you do your final review of the chapter, take the CengageNOW pretest to help identify the areas on which you should concentrate. You’ll find information on this online tool, as well as instructions on how to access all of its great re- sources, in the front of the book. 2. As you review, take advantage of the CengageNOW personalized study plan. based on your quiz results. Use this study plan with its interactive ex- ercises and other resources to master the material. 3. When you're finished with your review, take the posttest to confirm that you're ready to move on to the next chapter. WEBSITE FOR THE PRACTICE OFSOCMI RESEARCH 12TH EDITION Go to your book's website at www.cengage.c0ml sociology/babbie for tools to aid you in studying for your exams. You'll find Tutorial Quizzes with feedback, Internet Exercises, Flash Cards, Glossaries, and Essay Quizzes, as well as Infonc College Edition search terms, suggestions for additional reading, Web Links, and primers for using data-analysis software such as SPSS. ...
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Textbook Babbie ch. 2 - 30 I Chapter I : Human Inquiry and...

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