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1 Corbis/photolibrary Social Inquiry and the Workplace Chapter Contents 1.1 Elements of Inquiry Used to Study the Workplace 1.2 Methodology Used to...

Compare the differences among the three major theoretical perspectives in sociology (structural-functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism). With which theory and theorist do you find that you share similar views with and why? (3 paragraphs minimum)

1.1 Elements of Inquiry Used to Study the Workplace 1.2 Methodology Used to Study the Workplace 1.3 The Impact of Paradigms and Trends 1.4 The Major Sociological Perspec±ves 1.5 The Paradigm ShiF to Capitalism 1.6 The Progressive Era 1.7 The Great Depression and the New Deal 1.8 Major ²actors That Have Shaped the 21st-Century Workplace Case Study: The BP Oil Spill: Workplace Crisis Aboard the Deepwater Horizon Corbis/photolibrary Chapter Contents
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CHAPTER 1 Prologue Prologue In order to solve a Rubik’s Cube, one must sort through the myriad possible color com- binations presented at each turn. One way to complete the puzzle is to first turn the cube over and analyze it from all sides, then contemplate how each move will affect the next, and, ultimately, decide whether the chain of interactions will solve the puzzle. Solving the Rubik’s Cube requires the same analytic methods sociologists use when viewing social problems and the workplace—considering a variety of angles and combinations of fac- tors. Indeed, sociologists who study the interactions between contemporary society and work are, in many ways, solving a human puzzle. 1.1 Elements of Inquiry Used to Study the Workplace T o understand and propose solutions to social problems in the workplace, sociologists must first conduct social research. Social research helps to identify and explain trends , or ten- dencies, to analyze behavior and relationships, and to identify particular social issues concerns or problems that affect both individuals and society as a whole. These issues are often controversial in that they are related to moral, ethical, racial, religious, political, and economic conditions. Sociologists must also identify and select the appropriate methodology for social investigations. The methodology used is determined by the type of research question asked. The overall investigation, called social inquiry, requires a great deal of testing and analysis to answer the research question posed. Typically, social inquiry is defined as either basic or applied research. The purpose of basic research is to expand the body of knowledge about a particular social issue, such as unemployment rates during the recession of 2008. Applied research has a somewhat different purpose: to improve the procedures and practices of conducting a study. It can also be used to determine the best way to solve the problems associated with a particular social issue. For example, applied research could be used to determine which interventions may shorten a period of unemployment. Regardless of the methodology used to conduct a study, certain steps must be taken to ensure the legitimacy of the work. First a sociologist must pose a research question. Next, the size and conditions of the research sample must be outlined to provide for legitimate discovery. Another important step is to establish gatekeepers, people who evaluate the methodology and review the data collected to ensure that the evidence gathered is representa- tive and unbiased. For example, a major goal of social inquiry is to generalize to a broad group of people. Thus a study to identify a trend in the rate at which people return to work after a period of unemployment would require a large sampling of unemployed participants. If the sample were too small, it would have a major influence on the results because findings that might be true for a small group of participants would be difficult to generalize to a broader group of people. In this example, one of the responsibilities of gatekeepers would be to ensure that the sample size was appropriate. iStockphoto/Thinkstock Unemployment is an example of a social issue.
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Compare the differences among the three major theoretical perspectives in sociology
(structural-functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism). With which
theory and theorist...

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