Sociology 101  Chapter Two
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Sociology 101 Chapter Two






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  • Three ways to “do” sociology. Scientific sociology: applying science to the study of society (Durkheim’s study of suicide). Interpretive sociology: applying meaning to the study of society (Max Weber) Critical sociology: focusing on the need for change within society (Karl Marx)

Sociology 101  Chapter Two Sociology 101 Chapter Two Presentation Transcript

  • Forms of Truth
    • Belief or faith
    • Expert testimony
    • Simple agreement
    • Science
      • Logical system that bases knowledge on direct systematic observation
  • Common Sense Versus Scientific Evidence
    • “ Poor people are far more likely than rich people to break the law.”
    • “ The United States is a middle-class society in which most people are more or less equal.”
    • Most poor people don’t want to work.”
    • “ Differences in the behavior of females and males are just ‘human nature.’ ”
    • “ People change as they grow old, losing many interests as they focus on their health.”
    • “ Most people marry because they are in love.”
  • 3 Frameworks for Sociological Investigation
    • Scientific sociology
      • The study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior
      • Empirical evidence – information we can verify with our senses
    • Interpretive sociology
      • The study of society that focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world
    • Critical sociology
      • The study of society that focuses on the need for change
  • Scientific Sociology Terminology
    • Objectivity
      • A state of personal neutrality in conducting research
    • Value-free research
      • Weber says sociologists should strive to be dispassionate and detached
    • Replication
      • Repetition of research by other investigators
      • Helps limit distortion caused by personal values
  • Limitations of Scientific Sociology
    • Human behavior is too complex to predict precisely any individual’s actions
    • The mere presence of the researcher may affect the behavior being studied
    • Social patterns change
    • Sociologists are part of the world they study making value-free research difficult
  • Interpretive Sociology
    • Applying meaning to the study of social behavior
    • Don’t just understand what people do but also why they do it
    • Max Weber
    • - Go beyond observation to include interpretation
    • - Verstehen – German word for “understanding”
  • Critical Sociology
    • The study of society that focuses on the need for social change
    • Removal of objectivity of scientific research
    • Founded by Karl Marx
    • Asks “should society exist in its present form” vs “how does society work?”
    • “ Sociology not just to research the social world but to change it in the direction of democracy and social justice”.
    • Political activism
  • Sociological Research Methods a Systematic Plan for Conducting Research
    • Research Method – a systematic plan for doing research
    • Four Commonly Used Methods
    • Experiment – a research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions
    • Hypothesis – an unverified statement of a relationship between variables (an educated guess)
    • Placebo – a treatment that seems to be the same but has no effect on the experiment
    • Hawthorne effect – a change in a subject's behavior caused by the awareness of being studied
  • Stanford Prison Experiment
    • Illustration of an experiment
    • Copy this URL into your browser to get a short video explaining the prison experiment in more detail.
    • A very interesting website which looks at the “Your Turn” question regarding the application of Zimbardo’s findings to help explain what occurred at Abu Ghraib
  • Survey Research A Research Method in Which Subjects Respond to a Series of Statements or Questions in a Questionnaire or Interview
    • Population
      • The people who are the focus of the research
    • Sample
      • The part of the population that represents the whole
    • Random Sample
      • Drawing a sample from a population so that every element of the population has an equal chance of being selected
  • Questionnaire A Series of Written Questions a Researcher Presents to Subjects
    • Closed-ended
      • A series of fixed responses; easy to analyze but narrows range of responses
    • Open-ended
      • Free response; broadens range of responses but harder to analyze
  • Other Research Methods
    • Interviews
      • A series of questions a researcher administers in person to respondents
    • Participant observation
      • A research method in which investigators systematically observe people while joining in their routine activities
    • Secondary analysis
      • A research method in which a researcher uses data collected by others