ISS_225_Lec_2_Scientific_Method

7 draw conclusions you have observed thought about

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7. Draw Conclusions You have observed, thought about, researched, collected information, and analyzed a problem. What does it mean? Was your hypothesis correct or not? What other conclusions could you draw about your area of study? This step of the social science method is where you draw it together. New issues and questions for future research often arise. IV. Social Science Theory The scientific method strives to develop a systematic body of theory. Theories are explanations of facts or events We often use theory casually to explain events and experiences in our daily lives. We may have a theory about why our boss has been so nice to us lately or why we did so poorly on our last test. In this way, we are trying to explain the nature of social reality. Our theories about things around us are commonsense explanations based on educated guesses and personal 5
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ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Scientific Method experience. Social science theory is more precise explanation that is frequently tested by conducting research. A. What is social science theory? THEORY: A set of logical explanations about patterns of human social life (an explanation of facts or events). A theory is a statement or set of statements pertaining to the relationships among variables. Often, the expectation involves the notion of causation. Theory is a first attempt to explain a particular phenomenon. A statement that does not seek to explain or predict anything is not a theory. Theory is an elaborate explanation of the relationship between two or more observable attributes of individuals or groups. Theories predict and explain social phenomenon by relating the subject of interest (e.g. riots) to some other phenomenon (e.g. crowding). Often, but not always, theories can be stated in causal terms (e.g. broken homes cause juvenile delinquency). The goal of social science theory is to establish a link between what is observed (the data) and our conceptual understanding of why certain phenomena are related to each other in a particular way. B. Normative and Empirical Theory Normative Approaches: Emphasize what ought to happen, what should be Often include value judgments about optimal standards (norms) Closely connected with political philosophy Are the basis or starting point for most questions in empirical social science Empirical Approaches: Seek to discover, describe, and explain facts and factual relationships Tries to remain value-free, eliminate biases Use concepts, models, and “the scientific method” to uncover such relationships. Normative approach would ask questions like: Is inequality acceptable? How much inequality is acceptable? What is too much inequality? Should all people be considered equal?
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