Gender clusteringmales are more likely to sit with

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Gender clustering—males are more likely to sit with males, and females to sit with females. Class distinction—upper-class students are more likely to be found socializing in the coffee bar than first- or second-year students. What theories might explain these observations? You might think of several. For your gender- clustering observation, you might theorize that Students have a greater comfort level with same-sex than with opposite-sex conversations. Male students have more classes in common with each other than they do with female students, and vice versa. Male and female students have already formed separate social groups by virtue of being in separate campus housing units. For your class-distinction observation, you might theorize that Upper-class students are more likely to have jobs, grants, and fellowships, and can afford to socialize and drink handcrafted coffees. Upper-class students are more likely to live off campus, and meeting on campus is the only way to get group projects done. Upper-class students are more stressed as graduation approaches and feel a greater need to “unwind” by socializing with friends. Having generated several such theories, you could then design a study that would help you decide which theory offers the best explanation of the phenomenon.
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Deduction By contrast, deduction moves from a theory to defining the observations you will make to test the theory. For example, you might have some reason to theorize that women are more likely than men to discuss grades and academic performance. You would then design a study to capture the observations that would test this idea. In this case, your research might involve recording the conversations of both men and women and counting for each group the number of times words such as grade , grade point average , or assignment occur. If you could then show that the frequency of these words is greater in women’s conversations than in men’s, your theory would be supported—except for two big “ifs.” First, if you want to make a general statement about women discussing their academic performance more frequently than men, you will want to be confident that your statement is true for all female students, not just the small group of communication majors you have observed. Second, you will want to know that this pattern you observed is true at all times, not just for the one discussion you happened to observe, perhaps as final examinations were approaching. This is where appropriate sampling ( Chapter 8 ) can help us. Deduction is in a sense more efficient than induction in that it leads to a specific observation that will test your hypothesis —the statement about the relationships you expect to find. Having done so, you can then move on to another test. With induction, you have a further step: finding a way to decide which of the many possible theories you induced from your observations are correct.
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