Essential human sciences in 2 lessons (with extension if required)
AOK 3 HUMAN SCIENCES Essential Learning Summary (2 lessons with optional extension)
Lesson 1 - Key Questions• What are ‘Human Sciences’?• Why are they important?• Why are they ‘Sciences’?• How do they differ from ‘Natural Sciences’?• How do Human Scientists investigate the world?
What are ‘Human Sciences’ and why are they important? Research this then watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcEfzHB08What insights did your research give you inrelation to this clip?
Why are they ‘Sciences’ and how do they differ from ‘Natural Sciences’?What similarities and differences can youfind out about;•Systems of enquiry?•Research methodologies?•Subject matter?
How do Human Scientists investigate the world?3 main approaches to research;1) Positivist – Scientific method (can be studied in the same way as the Natural Sciences) – Quantitative (counting and measuring) – Objective – Reproduceable experiments – Seeking ‘truth’, ‘laws’, ‘models’ & ‘prediction’
2) Interpretivist• The process of interpretation• Human Sciences are more complex than Natural Sciences• Qualitative (interviews, photographs…)• Subjective• The importance of ‘context’• Seeking ‘insight’ and ‘understanding’
3) Critical Theory• Looking for underlying patterns / themes• Human Sciences can only be understood if we look for underlying meaning• Structuralism• The importance of politics• Seeking ‘explanation’ through studying events as part of a wider process and pattern
Task1. Match each of the following 3 paragraphs with the correct Human Science approach.3. Briefly explain your decision.
Hong Kong (1)Since the colonial power left Hong Kong in1997 it has been able to overcome the postcolonial challenges it faced and develop amore equal and productive economy andsociety. Its success is due to the enterpriseand attitudes of the local people. Furtherdevelopment is threatened by its lack ofdemocracy and Chinese interference but theliberal society allows the community toflourish. Hong Kong is a great place to live.
Hong Kong (2)In recent years the GDP of Hong Konghas grown rapidly (on average by x % perannum ) and been based on growth in thefinancial sector (Hang Seng rose from y toz between 1997 and 2008) and trade. Asa result, average incomes have risen by p% and the standard of living is now q%higher. Homeless numbers have droppedby r% in the last 10 years. Hong Kong is agreat place to live.
Hong Kong (3)The Chief Executive’s report shows ushow much progress has been made inrecent years in both the economy andsociety. He argues that the careful, lighttouch approach of his Government isworking very well. We interviewed 10Hong Kongers who told us that they werehappy and that their lives had improved inrecent years. Hong Kong is a great placeto live.
Follow-up taskFor one of the following issues, attempt towrite a paragraph from each philosophicalstandpoint;•The growth of cities•The recent financial crash•The situation in Palestine
HomeworkInvestigate the Stanford Prison Experimenthttp://www.prisonexp.org/slide-2.htmConsider the reasons that these ordinarypeople behaved in this way. How could thefindings be used to benefit society?
Lesson 2 – Key Questions• Why/when are the theories ‘convincing’?• Why/when are the theories ‘less convincing’?• Why might a Natural Scientist be deeply critical of Human Science/Scientists?• What dilemmas are presented through pursuing qualitative and quantitative approaches in research?
Why / when are the theories convincing / less convincing?• Focus on 1 or 2 specific theories in this context.• What about the nature of ‘being convinced’ itself?• Does this serve to undermine the value of Human Sciences for some people?• What do you think about this and why?
Why might a Natural Scientist be deeply criticalof Human Science/Scientists?There is often a perceived battle for acceptancebetween the Natural and Human Sciences!Caltech Professor of Theoretical Physics, RichardFeynman was an internationally renowned NobelPrize winner who ‘championed’ Natural Scienceand was deeply critical of Human Sciences /Scientists.
His opinions about Social Scienceshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaO69CF5mbSummarise some reasons for his opinions. Why might Feynman be biased?
Quantitative vs QualitativeQuantitative = of or pertaining to thedescribing or measuring of quantity.Qualitative = pertaining to or concernedwith quality or qualities.Why does this tend to put Social Sciences ‘inconflict’ with Natural Sciences?
Problems with Qualitative research methods Question Questioner Interviewee designFor each of the ‘characters’ involved in qualitative research, list as manypossible sources of error or bias as you can - you can do the first few as agroup
Are you a racist?https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/Study?tid=-1What do the findings suggest about you?How might this affect society?Does it matter?
TaskIn groups of 3 or 4 design an experiment totest;People’s responses to being instructed toinflict pain on others(You will need to present your ideas to theclass)
Questions to consider.....• How can you be sure that your research is fair’?• What data could your experiment produce?• In what ways is this type of experiment different to a Natural Science experiment?
The Milgram Experiment • Subjects were “employed” to help out at a psychology experiment. • As “Teacher” (T) they were instructed to administer electric shocks to a Learner (L) on the command of the Experimenter (E) • Shocks increased up to 450 volts (more than enough to kill a person) and the shocks were labelled – T knew what they were doing was dangerous and painful – a recording of shouting and distress, eventually leading to silence was heard from the other side of the wall. How would you react? How do you know?
Results• Is this what you would expect?• 26 out of the 40 subjects were willing to deliver a fatal shock• REMEMBER that each shock was met with different feedback from the Learner
How would you react to these sounds? Learner responses: 200V - blood-curdling screams 300 - refuses to answer, mumbles something about a heart condition +330 - silence Where would you stop?
So what?• How would the findings of your experiment be useful?• In many States in the U.S. the death penalty is used as the ultimate punishment. How might these findings inform your opinions of the death sentence?
Extension MaterialIf different methods of study producecontrasting results, how can we decidewhich is correct?In what ways is the Stanford Experimentan example of positivist method?Justify whether the complexity of studyingHuman Sciences make them a ‘richer’ areafor research or just a ‘harder’ one ?
Use evidence from discussions and yourwider understanding to explain why it isimportant to study the Human Sciences.What are the Human Sciences able tocontribute to knowledge?What are the main difficulties with this AOK?
“Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animalsuspended in webs of significance he himself hasspun, I take culture to be those webs, and theanalysis of it to be, therefore, not an experimentalscience in search of laws but an interpretive one insearch of meaning” Clifford Geertz8. Put Geertz’s quotation into your own words.9. Do you agree? Explain.
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