Chapter 2 Social Research

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Chapter 2 Social Research

  1. 1. Theory and Research Chapter 2
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An explanation about how and why something is as it is </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Concepts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>W ords or signs that refer to phenomena that share common characteristics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For example, concepts which may interest sociologists are social and economic class and self-esteem. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>Conceptualization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>T he process of clarifying what we mean by a concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High-crime late adolescent years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Begins at about 17 years of age </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Birth cohort </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People born in a given calendar year </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction <ul><li>Operational definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Concise definition of the concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is “child abuse”? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Could be only substantiated cases with child protective services. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is a “problem drinker”? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Could be one who drinks ___ drinks in ___ amount of time. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Introduction <ul><li>Variable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A characteristic that can vary from one unit of analysis to another or for one unit of analysis over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A concept that varies </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Introduction <ul><li>Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A testable statement about how two or more variables are expected to relate to one another </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A hypothesis is simply a formal version of a hunch or speculation that usually is based on a theory. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Introduction <ul><li>Dependent variable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A variable that is affected or influenced by another variable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What you are trying to predict or explain. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Introduction <ul><li>Independent variable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A variable that affects or influences another variable </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Quiz - Question 1 <ul><li>Assume the following statement: </li></ul><ul><li>In our research, we are looking at how gender (male or female) affects the amount of money individuals leave for tips at restaurants. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the independent variable? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the dependent variable? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Quiz - Question 2 <ul><li>In our research, we are looking at how gender (male or female) affects the amount of money individuals leave for tips at restaurants. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the independent variable categories? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Quiz – Question 3 <ul><li>In our research, we are looking at how gender (male or female) affects the amount of money individuals leave for tips at restaurants. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is a possible hypothesis that could be generated? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Introduction <ul><li>Social Science and Causality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A word of caution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Just because two variables are associated with each other does not necessarily mean that the change in one variable will create a change in the other variable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Establishing causality is difficult </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Typical data gathering techniques make it difficult to determine “cause” and “effect” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Introduction <ul><li>Antecedent variable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A variable that comes before both the independent variable and dependent variable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May explain the association between the independent variables and the dependent variable </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Introduction <ul><li>Causality Example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Firefighters will tell you of the association between the number of firefighters at a fire and the damage done at the fire, that the more firefighters at a fire, the more damage occurs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is the independent variable? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is the dependent variable? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you think of an antecedent variable that explains why fires that draw more firefighters are more likely to do more damage than fires that draw fewer firefighters? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Introduction <ul><li>Spurious – non-causal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>W hen an antecedent variable provides such an explanation as in the fire fighter example, the original association between the independent variable and the dependent variable is said to be spurious , or non-causal. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Introduction <ul><li>Establishing causality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Empirical association </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Temporal precedence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elimination of alternative explanations </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Introduction <ul><li>Intervening variable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A variable that comes between an independent and a dependent variable </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Introduction <ul><li>Extraneous variable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A variable that has an effect on the dependent variable in addition to the effect of the independent variable </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An explanation about how and why something is </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It allows you to go beyond the known facts, suggesting what you might expect in the future, and allowing you to organize the facts you already have. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Focal research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excerpt from “Moving on: Continuity and change after retirement” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adler and Clark’s description of “role theory” comes at the beginning of their article, before they present their own research. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Measurement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The process of devising strategies for classifying subjects by categories to represent variable concepts. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example from Adler and Clark focal research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Classified units of analysis (people around retirement age) by categories (those who engaged in volunteer work and those that didn’t) to represent variable concepts (volunteering). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Deductive reasoning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasoning that moves from more general to less general statements. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adler and Clark focal research </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. The Relationship between Theory and Research
  25. 25. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Empirical generalization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A statement that summarizes a set of individual observations </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Focal research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excerpt from “Unmasking racism: Halloween costuming and engagement of the racial order” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mueller, Dirks and Picca’s theory of what might be called the functions of cross-racial costuming by white students during Halloween comes at the end of their article, after the presentation of their findings. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 27. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Inductive reasoning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasoning that moves from less general to more general statements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mueller, Dirks and Picca’s focal research </li></ul></ul></ul>
  28. 28. The Relationship between Theory and Research <ul><li>Grounded theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory derived from data in the course of a study </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. The Relationship between Theory and Research
  30. 30. The Relationship between Theory and Research
  31. 31. Summary <ul><li>Relationships existing between research and theory </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethical assumptions and implications should be considered throughout the whole research process. </li></ul></ul>

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