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									      Chapter 1

The Sociological Perspective
     Research Methods
           Chapter Outline
 Putting Social Life into Perspective
 Comparing Sociology with Other Social
 The Development of Sociological Thinking
 Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives
            Chapter Outline
 Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives
 The Sociological Research Process
 Research Methods
 Ethical Issues in Sociological Research
         Putting Social Life Into
   Sociology is the systematic study of
  human society and social interaction.
 Sociologists study societies and social
  interactions to develop theories about :
     How behavior is shaped by group life
     How group life is affected by individuals
 A large social grouping that shares the
  same geographical territory and is subject
  to the same political authority and
  dominant cultural expectations.
 We are all affected by global
  interdependence, a relationship in which
  the lives of all people are intertwined and
  any nation’s problems are part of a larger
  global problem.
        Why Study Sociology
 Helps us gain a better understanding of
  ourselves and our social world.
 Helps us see how behavior is shaped by
  the groups to which we belong and our
 Promotes understanding and tolerance by
  helping us look beyond personal
  experiences and gain insight into the
  larger world order.
Fields That Use Social Science
    The Sociological Imagination
 The ability to see the relationship
  between individual experiences and the
  larger society.
 Distinguishes between personal troubles
  and social issues.
   As a Personal Trouble:
     Many   people consider suicide to be the
      result of personal problems.
   As a Public Issue:
     Sociologist Emile Durkheim related suicide to
      the issue of cohesiveness in society instead of
      viewing it as an isolated act that could be
      understood by studying individual
      personalities or inherited tendencies.
    Suicide Rates by Race and Sex
   Rates indicate the number of deaths by suicide
    for every 100,000 people in each category for
      Importance of a Global
      Sociological Imagination
 The future of our nation is intertwined
  with the future of other nations on
  economic, political, environmental, and
  humanitarian levels.
 Understanding diversity and developing
  tolerance for people who are different
  from us is important for our personal,
  social, and economic well-being.
         High-income Countries
   These are nations with highly
    industrialized economies; technologically
    advanced industrial, administrative, and
    service occupations; and high levels of
    national and personal income.
     Examples:   United States, Canada
   They generally have a have a high
    standard of living and a lower death rate
    due to advances in nutrition and medical
        Middle-income countries
   Sometimes referred to as developing
    countries, these are nations with
    industrializing economies, particularly in
    urban areas, and moderate levels of
    national and personal income.
     Examples:  Nations of Eastern Europe and
      many Latin American countries, where nations
      such as Brazil and Mexico are industrializing
          Low-income Countries
   Low-income countries are primarily
    agrarian nations with little industrialization
    and low levels of national and personal
     Examples:   Many of the nations of Africa and
      Asia, particularly India and the People’s
      Republic of China.
        Race, Ethnicity and Class
   Race is a term used to specify groups of people
  distinguished by physical characteristics.
    Most sociologists consider race a social
     construction used to justify inequalities.
 Ethnicity refers to cultural identity and is based
  on factors such as language or country of origin.
 Class is based on wealth, power, prestige, or
  other valued resources.
              Sex and Gender
   Sex refers to the biological and anatomical
  differences between females and males.
 Gender refers to the meanings, beliefs,
  and practices associated with sex
  differences, referred to as femininity and
 The process by which societies are transformed
  from dependence on agriculture and handmade
  products to dependence on manufacturing
 First occurred during the Industrial Revolution in
  Britain between 1760 and 1850.
 Resulted in massive economic, technological,
  and social changes.
 People were forced to leave rural communities
  to seek employment in the emerging cities.
 The process by which an increasing proportion
  of a population lives in cities rather than rural
 The factory system led to a rapid increase in the
  number of cities and the size of populations.
 People from diverse backgrounds began working
  in the same factory and living in the same
 This led to the development of new social
  problems: inadequate housing, crowding,
  unsanitary conditions, poverty, pollution, and
             August Comte
 Considered the “founder of sociology.”
 Comte’s philosophy became known as
  positivism— a belief that the world can
  best be understood through scientific
 Comte believed objective, bias-free
  knowledge was attainable only through
  the use of science rather than religion.
         Two Dimensions Of Comte’s
1.   Methodological
         The application of scientific knowledge to
          physical and social phenomena.
2.   Social and political
         The use of such knowledge to predict the
          likely results of different policies so the best
          one could be chosen.
              Harriet Martineau
   Believed society would improve when:
     women   and men were treated equally
     enlightened reform occurred
     cooperation existed among all social classes
             Herbert Spencer
 Contributed an evolutionary perspective
  on social order and social change.
 Social Darwinism
     The belief that the human beings best
     adapted to their environment survive and
     prosper, whereas those poorly adapted die
               Emile Durkheim
 Believed the limits of human potential are
  socially based.
 One of his most important contributions
  was the concept of social facts.
     Socialfacts are patterned ways of acting,
     thinking, and feeling that exist outside any
     one individual but exert social control over
     each person.
               Karl Marx
 Viewed history as a clash between
  conflicting ideas and forces.
 Believed class conflict produced social
  change and a better society.
 Combined ideas from philosophy, history,
  and social science into a new theory.
              Max Weber
 Believed sociological research should
  exclude personal values and economic
 Provided insights on rationalization,
  bureaucracy and religion.
             Georg Simmel
 Theorized about society as a web of
  patterned interactions among people.
 Analyzed how social interactions vary
  depending on the size of the social group.
 Developed formal sociology, an approach
  that focuses attention on the universal
  recurring social forms that underlie the
  varying content of social interaction.
              Jane Adams
 Founded Hull House, one of the most
  famous settlement houses, in Chicago.
 One of the authors of a methodology text
  used by sociologists for the next forty
 Awarded Nobel Prize for assistance to the
            W. E. B. Du Bois
 One of the first to note the identity conflict
  of being both a black and an American.
 Pointed out that people in the U.S.
  espouse values of democracy, freedom,
  and equality while they accept racism and
  group discrimination.
         Theoretical Perspectives
 Theoretical perspectives are based on
  ideas about how social life is organized.
 The major perspectives in U.S. sociology
     Functionalist
     Conflict
     symbolicinteractionist
     postmodernist perspectives
Major Theoretical Perspectives

  Theory               View of Society

                Composed of interrelated parts that
Functionalist   work together to maintain stability.

                Society is characterized by social
  Conflict      inequality; social life is a struggle
                for scarce resources.
Major Theoretical Perspectives
  Theory                View of Society
  Symbolic       Behavior is learned in interaction with
Interactionist   other people.

                 Postindustrialization, consumerism,
                 and global communications bring into
Postmodernist    question assumptions about social life
                 and the nature of reality.
The Sociological Research Process
 Research is the process of systematically
  collecting information for the purpose of
  testing an existing theory or generating a
  new one.
 The relationship between theory and
  research has been referred to as a
  continuous cycle.
Theory and Research Cycle
              Definition of Theory
Theory; As et of logically interrelated
  statement That attempts to describe
  explain, and predict social events.
Hypothesis; a statement of the
between two or more variables.
Variable; any concept with measurable
  traits that can change from on person,
  time, situation, or society to another.
              Types of variable
1. Independent Variable; is the variable
   assumed to be the cause of the relationship
   between variables.
2. Dependent Variable; the variable assumed
   to be caused by the independent variable.
3. Validity; the extent to which a study or
   research instrument accurately measures what
   it is supposed to measure
4. Reliability; research instrument yields
     Conventional Research Model
1.   Select and define the research problem.
2.   Review previous research.
3.   Formulate the hypothesis.
4.   Develop the research design.
5.   Collect and analyze the data.
6.   Draw conclusions and report the findings.
Hypothesized Relationships
Between Variables: Causal
Hypothesized Relationships
Between Variables: Inverse
Hypothesized Relationships Between
     Variables: Multiple-cause
     Qualitative Research Method
1.   Researcher begins with a general
     approach rather than a highly detailed
2.   Researcher has to decide when the
     literature review and theory application
     should take place.
     Qualitative Research Method
3.   The study presents a detailed view of the
4.   Access to people or other resources that
     can provide necessary data is crucial.
5.   Appropriate research method(s) are
     important for acquiring useful qualitative
         Research Methods:
          Survey Research
 Describes a population without
  interviewing each individual.
 Standardized questions force respondents
  into categories.
 Relies on self-reported information, and
  some people may not be truthful.
          Research Methods:
        Analysis of Existing Data
   Materials studied may include:
     books, diaries, poems, and graffiti
     movies, television shows, advertisements,
      greeting cards
     music, art, and even garbage
          Research Methods:
            Field Research
 Study of social life in its natural setting.
 Observing and interviewing people where
  they live, work, and play.
 Generates observations that are best
  described verbally rather than numerically.
     Approaches to Field Research
   Participant observation
     Collecting  observations while part of the
      activities of the group being studied.
   Ethnography
     Detailed study of the life and activities of a
      group of people over a period of years.
    Research Methods: Experiments
 Study the impact of certain variables on
  subjects’ attitudes or behavior.
 Designed to create “real-life” situations.
 Used to demonstrate a cause-and-effect
  relationship between variables.
 Experimental group
 Control group
           ASA Code of Ethics
1.   Disclose research findings in full and
     include all possible interpretations of the
2.   Safeguard the participants’ right to
     privacy and dignity while protecting
     them from harm.
           ASA Code of Ethics
3.   Protect confidential information provided
     by participants.
4.   Acknowledge research collaboration and
     disclose all financial support.

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