sociology chapter 2 self notes

what is the fundamental difference between theories and methods?
theories make hypothetical claims and methods produce data that will support, dip rove or modify those clams.

quantitative research
research that translate the social world into numbers that can be treated mathematically this type of research often tries to din cause and effect relationships

qualitative research
research that works with nonnumerical data such as texts field notes interview transcripts photographs and tape recordings this type of research more often tries to understand how people make sense of their world. qualitative researchers find patterns in their data by using interpretive rather than statistical analysis

scientific method
a procedure for acquiring knowledge that emphasizes collecting concrete data through observation and experiment

what are the steps of the scientific method
1. the researcher identifies a problem or asks a general question
2. does a literate interview to become through familiar with all other research done previously on a given topic. This will prevent a researcher from duplicating work that as already been done and may also provide the background upon which to conduct new research
3. forma hypothesis which is then followed by an operational definition
4. conduct experiment
5. collect data
6. analyze data (evaluate inaccuracy or accuracy of hypothesis in predicting outcome)
7. share findings with world

what is the major limitation of the scientific method?
it can’t always distinguish between correlation and causation

literature review
a thorough search through previously published studies relevant to a particular topic

hypothesis
a theoretical statement expelling the relationship between two or more phenomena

variable
one of two or more phenomena that a researcher believes are related and hopes to prove are related through research

operational definition
a clear and precise definition of a variable that facilitates its measurement

correlation
a relationship between variables in which they change together and may or mat not be causal

causation
a relationship between variables in which a change in one directly produces change in the other

intervening variable
a third variable sometimes overlooked that explains the relationship between two other variables

spurious correlation
the appearance of causation produced by an intervening variable

paradigm shift
the term used to describe a change in basic assumptions of particular scientific discipline

different research methods?
ethnography- written record
interviews
survey
existing sources
experiments

ethnographic methods
ethnography means “writing (graphs) cultures (ethos)
-ethnographers record observations of particular activities and they try and understand what they mean to that group

ethnography and what is involved
a naturalistic method based on studying people in their environment in order to understand the meanings they attribute to their activities also the written work thats results fro the study
-participant observation
-rapport
-access
-fieldnotes
-thick description
-reflexivity
-grounded theory
-replicability
-representativeness
-bias
ethnographic researches must mind how their gender and other qualities affect directly the access they are able to have with whom they are researching
-should always be overt however there are times when researchers are covert

participant observation
a methodology associated with ethnography whereby the researcher both observes and becomes a member in a social setting

what do ethnographers look for?
patterns and processes that are revealed in their fieldnotes. they use and indicative approach

advantages of ethnography
1. offers a means of studying groups who are often overlooked
2. challenge our taken for granted notions
3. reshape stereotypes

disadvantages of ethnography
1. lack of replicability
2. degree of representatives
3. be wary of bias

Interview Method
-interview
-respondent
-target population
-sample
-informed consent
-closed ended question
-open ended question
-leading questions
-double barreled questions

interview
face to face information seeking conversations sometimes defined as conversation with a purpose

respondent
someone from whom a researcher solicits information

target populatoin
the entire group about which a researcher would like to be able to generalize

sample
the past of the population that will actually be studied

informed consent
a safeguard through which the researcher makes sure that a respondents are freely participating and understand the nature of the research

closed ended questions
a question asked of a respondent thats imposes a limit on the possible responses

open ended questions
a question asked of a respondent that allows the answer to take whatever form the respondent chooses

leading questions
questions that predisposes a respondent to answer in a certain way

double barreled questions
questions that attempt to get a multiple issues at once and so tend to review incomplete or confusing answers

once the interview is done what happens?
they are usually transcribed so that researchers can analyze them in textual form

advantages of interview
1. allow respondents to speak their own words
2. help researchers dispel preconceptions

disadvantages of interviews
1. respondents are not always forthcoming or truthful
2. can the conclusions be applied to larger groups (representativeness)

survey method
earliest people to use survey was Karl Marx
-tends to be macro and quantitative in nature
-survey
-likert scale
-negative questions
-representative sample
-probability sampling
-simple random sample
-weighting
-response rate
-validity
-reliability
-confidentiality

survey
a research method based on questionnaires that are administered to a sample of respondents selected from a target population

likert scale
a way of organizing categories on a survey question so that the respondent can choose an answer along a continuum

negative questions
survey questions that ask respondents what they don’t think instead of what they do

representative sample
a sample taken so that findings from members of the sample group can be generalized to the whole population

probability sampling
any sampling scheme in which any given unit has the same probability of being chosen

simple random sample
a particular type of probability sample in which every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected

weighting
techniques for manipulating the sampling procedure so that the sample more closely resembles the larger population

how is a survey considered valid?
there must be a sufficiently high response rate

advantages of surveys
1. best methods to use for gathering original data on a population that is too large to study by other means
2. relatively quick and economical and can provide a vast amount of data
3. strong on reliability
4.less concern about interviewer or observer bias entering into research

disadvantages of surveys
1. lacks qualitative data
2. weak on validity
3. problems with sampling process since individuals especially online tend to self select in participation
4. support point of view rather than for pure science

response rate
the number of percentage of surveys completed by respondents and returned to researchers

reliability
the consistency of a question or measurement tool the degree to which the same questions will produce similar answers

confidentiality
the assurance that no one other than the researcher will know the identity of thee respondent

validity
the accuracy of a question or measurement tool the degree to which a researcher is measuring what he thinks he is measuring

pilot study
a small study carried out to test the feasibility of a larger one

existing sources explained
nearly all sociologists use this
-content analysis

existing sources 2
materials that have been produced for some other reason but that can be used as data for social research

comparative and historical methods
methods that use existing sources to study relationships among elements of society in various regions and time periods

content analysis
a method in which researchers identify and study specific variables such as words in a text image or media message

advantages of existing sources
-able to work with information they could not possibly obtain for themselves (census bureaus)
-learn about different social worlds in different time periods
-use same data to replicate projects that have been conducted before, which is a good way to test findings

disadvantages of existing sources
-often seek to answer questions that the original authors did not have in mind
-does not illuminate how such messages are interpreted

experimental methods explained
-experiments
-control
-experimental group
-control group
-independent variable
-dependent variable

experiments
formal tests of specific variables and effects performed in a controlled setting where all aspects of the situation can be controlled

control
in an experiment the process of regulating all factors except for the independent variable

experimental group
the part of the test that receives the experiments treatment

control group
the past of the test that is allowed to continue without intervention so that it can be compared with the experimental group

independent variable
factor that is predicted to cause change

dependent variable
factor that is changed or not by the independent variable

analyzing the data (experimental)
tends to be quantitative rather than qualitative because the main goal of an experiment is to isolate a variable and explore the degree to which this variable affects a particular social situation

advantages of experiments
1. give sociologists a way to manipulate and control the social environment they seek to understand
2. a theorists can construct a model of the social situation she is interested in and watch as it unfolds before her
3. they have replicability

disadvantages of experiments
1. only pertains to certain situations that are able to be controlled
2. not generally effective for describing more complex processes and interactions

issues in sociological research
nonacademic use
values objectivity reactivity importance of ethics in research

nonacademic uses of research methods
market research is the most common form of this
-helps business places
-improves work environment
-used to promote coworker solidarity

value free sociology
invented by max weber: an ideal whereby researchers identify facts without allowing their own personal beliefs or biases to interfere

basic research
the search for knowledge without any agenda or desire to use that knowledge to effect change

whats the big question between basic research and a sociologists wanting to change the world?
David Matza believes that the motive to change the world is exactly what inhibits a researchers ability to create sound findings which would directly effect the foundations of sociology, this is linked to his idea that sociologists should soley be motivated in partaking in the basic research of sociology whereby the knowledge base as a whole grows in accordance to individual researchers findings

applied research
research designed to gather knowledge that can be used to create some sort of change

what is the big concern with sociology?
applied research vs basic research

values
personally held values and believe will inevitably infiltrate the research that sociologists conduct, therefore creating invalid findings, or rather un sound findings

objectivity
impartiality the ability ti allow the facts to speak for themselves must be achieved in order to grasp the absolute truths of life, otherwise by our subjective human nature we hold ourself to extremely limited understandings of all externals

reactivity
the tendency of people and events to react to the process of being studied

hawthorne effect
a specific example of reactivity in which the desired effect is the result not of the independent variable but of the research itself

research ethics
must treat subjects as humans (respect inherent dignity)

deception
the extent to which the participants in a research project are unaware of the project or its goals

code of ethics
ethical guidelines for researchers to consult as they design a project

institutional review board
a groups of scholars within a university who meet regularly to review and approve the research proposal of their colleagues and make recommendations for how to protect human subjects