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

    1. 1. SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION A LOGICAL SYSTEM THAT DERIVES KNOWLEDGE FROM DIRECT, SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION
    2. 2. Forms of Truth <ul><li>Belief or faith </li></ul><ul><li>Expert testimony </li></ul><ul><li>Simple agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Science </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Logical system that bases knowledge on direct systematic observation </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Common Sense Versus Scientific Evidence <ul><li>“ Poor people are far more likely than rich people to break the law.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The United States is a middle-class society in which most people are more or less equal.” </li></ul><ul><li>Most poor people don’t want to work.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Differences in the behavior of females and males are just ‘human nature.’ ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ People change as they grow old, losing many interests as they focus on their health.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Most people marry because they are in love.” </li></ul>
    4. 4. 3 Frameworks for Sociological Investigation <ul><li>Scientific sociology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empirical evidence – information we can verify with our senses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interpretive sociology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of society that focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Critical sociology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of society that focuses on the need for change </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Scientific Sociology Terminology <ul><li>Objectivity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A state of personal neutrality in conducting research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Value-free research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weber says sociologists should strive to be dispassionate and detached </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Replication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Repetition of research by other investigators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps limit distortion caused by personal values </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Limitations of Scientific Sociology <ul><li>Human behavior is too complex to predict precisely any individual’s actions </li></ul><ul><li>The mere presence of the researcher may affect the behavior being studied </li></ul><ul><li>Social patterns change </li></ul><ul><li>Sociologists are part of the world they study making value-free research difficult </li></ul>
    7. 7. Interpretive Sociology <ul><li>Applying meaning to the study of social behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just understand what people do but also why they do it </li></ul><ul><li>Max Weber </li></ul><ul><li>- Go beyond observation to include interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>- Verstehen – German word for “understanding” </li></ul>
    8. 8. Critical Sociology <ul><li>The study of society that focuses on the need for social change </li></ul><ul><li>Removal of objectivity of scientific research </li></ul><ul><li>Founded by Karl Marx </li></ul><ul><li>Asks “should society exist in its present form” vs “how does society work?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Sociology not just to research the social world but to change it in the direction of democracy and social justice”. </li></ul><ul><li>Political activism </li></ul>
    9. 9. Sociological Research Methods a Systematic Plan for Conducting Research <ul><li>Research Method – a systematic plan for doing research </li></ul><ul><li>Four Commonly Used Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Experiment – a research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis – an unverified statement of a relationship between variables (an educated guess) </li></ul><ul><li>Placebo – a treatment that seems to be the same but has no effect on the experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Hawthorne effect – a change in a subject's behavior caused by the awareness of being studied </li></ul>
    10. 10. Stanford Prison Experiment <ul><li>Illustration of an experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Copy this URL into your browser to get a short video explaining the prison experiment in more detail. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxGEmfNl-xM </li></ul><ul><li>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 http://www.prisonexp.org/links.htm#iraq </li></ul>
    11. 11. Survey Research A Research Method in Which Subjects Respond to a Series of Statements or Questions in a Questionnaire or Interview <ul><li>Population </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The people who are the focus of the research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sample </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The part of the population that represents the whole </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Random Sample </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawing a sample from a population so that every element of the population has an equal chance of being selected </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Questionnaire A Series of Written Questions a Researcher Presents to Subjects <ul><li>Closed-ended </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A series of fixed responses; easy to analyze but narrows range of responses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open-ended </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free response; broadens range of responses but harder to analyze </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Other Research Methods <ul><li>Interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A series of questions a researcher administers in person to respondents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participant observation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A research method in which investigators systematically observe people while joining in their routine activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Secondary analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A research method in which a researcher uses data collected by others </li></ul></ul>

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