SOC 281 Chapter 1

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overgeneralization
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-occurs when we unjustifiably conclude that what is true for some cases is true for all cases -ex. just because you had a boring high school chemistry teacher doesn’t mean all chemistry teachers are boring
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selective or inaccurate observation
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-choosing to look only at things that are in line with our preferences or beliefs -ex. if we dislike an individual it is easy to see their faults -observations can also simply be inaccurate
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illogical reasoning
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-the premature jumping to conclusions or arguing on the basis of invalid assumptions -may assume that people without social ties just aren’t friendly but that isn’t always the case
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resistance to change
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-the reluctance to change our ideas in like of new information -ex. make statements to conform to our own needs rather than to the observable facts -ex. difficult to admit we are wrong once we’ve chosen a stance
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science
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relies on logical and systematic methods to answer questions, and it does so in a way that allows others to inspect and evaluate its methods
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social science
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applies scientific methods to understanding the social world
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to avoid overgeneralization
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use systematic procedures for selecting cases to study that fairly represent the population we are interested in.
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to avoid illogical reasoning
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use explicit criteria for identifying causes and for deciding whether these criteria have been met
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to avoid selective observation
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use systematic procedures to measure and sample social phenomena
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to avoid resistance to change
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use evidence that can be examined and critiqued by others, so that we are less like to base conclusions on ego, tradition, or deference to authority
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four most important goals of social research
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description, exploration, explanation, and evaluation
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four common errors in everyday reasoning
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overgeneralization, illogical reasoning, selective or inaccurate observation, and resistance to change
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descriptive research
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-research in which social phenomena are defined and described -simply describes some situation – ex of descriptive questions: How many people are in this class, how many are male, how many have red hair, what is the strike about, etc.
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exploratory research
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-seeks to find out how people get along in the setting under question, what meanings they give to their actions, and what issues concern them -research that explores relatively unknown aspects of social phenomena -Exploratory research is just that it explores something we don’t know a lot about and tends to inform future research
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explanatory research
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-research that seeks to identify causes and effects of social phenomena and how to predict how one phenomenon will vary in response to variation in some other phenomenon -Explanatory research might ask for example: why are there more women than men in this class? What causes difference between students in grades, etc.?
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evaluation research
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-research that describes or identifies the impact of social policies and programs -far less common in sociology -This kind of research seeks to determine if a particular program or intervention \”works\”. Ex: does a certain teaching style or exercise improve learning, does this Head Start actually give poor children a head start, etc.
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validity
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the state that exists when statements or conclusions about empirical reality are correct
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3 types of validity
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measurement validity, generalizability, and casual validity
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measurement validity
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exists when an indicator measures what we think it measures
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generalizability
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exists when a conclusion holds true for the population, group, setting, or event that we say it does, given the conditions that we specify
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2 kinds of generalizability
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sample and cross population
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sample generalizability
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exists when a conclusion based on a subset of a larger population holds true for the entire population.
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cross-population generalizability (external validity)
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exists when findings about one group, population, or setting holds true for another group, population, or setting
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casual validity (internal validity)
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-exists when a conclusion that A leads to, or results in, B is correct -the truthfulness of an assertion that A causes B
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sampling
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is the process of selecting cases from the population for inclusion in the sample
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sampling bias
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the difference between the characteristics of the sample and the characteristics of the population from which it is drawn
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reasons we can’t study every element of the population
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-most efficient to sample than target a whole population -not all units in the population can be easily and readily identified -sometimes \”measuring\” or \”testing\” something destroys it
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two types of sampling and the main difference between them
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-probability and non probability -main difference is in how representative the sample is of the population
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probability sampling
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gives precise statistical descriptions of large populations
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non probability sampling
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focuses on volunteers or easily available elements
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in order to make a valid casual claim 3 criteria must be satisfied
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-Empirical Association -Temporal Ordering -Non-spuriousness

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