Chapter 2, Doing Sociological Research - PowerPoint - PowerPoint

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					Practice of Social Research

   The Research Process
   The Tools of Sociological Research
   Paradigms and Theoretical Assumptions
   Is Sociology Value-free?
The Research Process

   Sociology is empirical and uses the scientific
   Sociological studies may be quantitative and
    statistically sophisticated or qualitatively
Steps in Sociological Research

   Developing a Research Question (Air Jordan
   Creating a Research Design
   Gathering Data
   Analyzing the Data
   Reaching Conclusions and Reporting Results
Sources of Research Questions

   Past research
   Casual observation of human behavior
   Social policy
   Sociological theory
Tools of Sociological Research

   Survey Research
   Participant Observation/Interviewing
   Controlled Experiments
   Content Analysis
   Comparative and Historical Research
   Evaluation Research
Prediction and Probability

   Sociology analyzes, explains, and predicts
    human social behavior in terms of trends and
   Researchers can predict patterns of behavior
    but they cannot predict specific incidents of
Theoretical Paradigms

   Paradigm = A perspective; a way of looking at
    the world; a set of theoretical assumptions
    about the way the world operates
   Four main paradigms in sociology
    –   Early Positivism and Evolutionary Paradigm
    –   Structural Functionalist Paradigm
    –   Conflict Paradigm
    –   Symbolic Interactionist Paradigm
                 Macro vs. Micro

   Macro sociology is the study of large social structures
    and patterns within a society; e.g., how do economic
    trends influence crime rates in a society? How does
    religion affect the suicide rate?
   Micro sociology is the study of individual behavior as
    it occurs in a social context. Also the study of
    interaction between individuals; e.g., under what
    conditions do people help each other? When do they
    take advantage of each other?
      Early Positivism/Evolutionary
      Theory – How have societies
      progressed through history?

   Auguste Comte (coined term “Sociologie” in 1822)
   “Positive philosophy” held that history involved
    progression toward enlightenment and that through
    objective, scientific method we could solve society’s
   Social Darwinism – Spencer (1820-1903) applied
    Darwin’s evolutionary theory to whole societies,
    arguing we are getting “better and better” through a
    social process akin to “survival of the fittest”
Structural Functionalist Paradigm –
    What makes society work?
   Society is a relatively stable but complex system of
    parts (an organism like the human body)
   Each part (social institution) serves a “function” and
    contributes to the well-being of the whole system
   Social systems respond to the environment; change
    occurs slowly; change in one part of the system affects
    the others, sometimes requiring changes in the whole
    system to occur
   Dysfunctions in the system occur and require reform –
    usually minor “tweaks” to help system run better
     Conflict Paradigm – How do power
    relations manifest in a given society?
       How does social change occur?
   Society is a site of conflict where individuals and
    groups try to dominate each other and avoid being
   Power relations in one sphere affect other spheres of
    social life
   Feminist Theory – gender is an important source of
    conflict and inequality; men have more power to make
    the rules than women
   Social conflict is necessary to create a more equal
    society – revolution (political) or reform (many social
    movements) seek more widespread, equal access to
Symbolic Interactionist Paradigm –
  How do we make sense of the
          social world?
   Social world is key source of individual understanding,
    as are “primary groups” such as family, friendship
    groups, etc.
   Human mind capable of “role-taking,” reflection, critical
    thought, and change
   Symbols and language allow people to communicate
    and understand each other
   Role = set of expected behaviors (student, teacher,
    sister, dog-owner)
   Role theory – who would we be without roles?
   Exchange Theory – people are rational; act according
    to calculations of costs and benefits
    Can/Should Sociology Be Value-
   Should theories assume that individuals and social life
    are always rational?
   Can scientists ever be completely “objective?” Are
    scientists hiding/ perpetuating their own biases when
    they consider themselves neutral, objective observers?
   Is there any objective reality, or “Truth” in the world?
    Or does every individual/group/nation/etc. have their
    own “Truth?”
   Should research attempt to solve social problems
    and/or criticize the status quo?

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