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15 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Definition of science?
Trying to systematically observe, directly or indirectly, empirical reality.
Differences between social science and natural science
1. 'Reactive problem' - molecules don't blush
2. More alternative explanations
3. more opportunity for selective perception and bias
4. few true laws
Reactive problem
'molecules don't blush
influences how we ask questions
even anonymous polling gets false responses
most statistics are too low
Law of reciprocity
we respond accordingly to whatever people do for us - good for good and bad for bad
Three observables: who and what?
Abraham Kaplan
directly observable: things we can directly observe
indirectly observable: asking someone what their race is over the phone
Construct: theoretical - can't be observed at all, either directly or indirectly (like intelligence, conservatism, etc.)
Four (4) tasks of social science
(Interpretation: what do the facts mean?)
Exploration: pilot studies, getting a general idea about something, initial look
Explanation: has to do with cause and effect - the other two point us here - it all has to do with probability: what is 'most likely' to occur
Is sociological explanation deterministic?
Social science is not like natural science - we can't predict with 100% accuracy what will or will not happen
People are predictable, but not perfectly so
Cause and effect don't always work because people have free agency
Most effects in social science have more than one cause
The causal arrows may go both ways in many cases as well
i.e. church attendance and divorce rate/suicide rate
Ideographic vs. Nomothetic
Ideographic: tries to find all causes for an effect
Nomothetic: tries to find the most important for an effect
Does social research deal with individuals or aggregates?
Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning
Inductive: starts with empirical observations and develops a theory - used in criminology to construct criminal profiles
Deductive: theory constructed by abstract reasoning - fact gathering used to determine whether or not the theory is true
Theory vs. hypothesis
Theory: complex - involves lots of concepts and propositions
Hypothesis: specific prediction usually only consisting of 2 variables
Three parts of a theory
concepts: theories can be very different depending on how these are defined (i.e. Weber and Marx on stratification) - definitons are never perfect, but you must define them as clearly as possible
Propositions: general statements regarding relationships between concepts - related to each other by systems
Systems: relationships between propositions and concepts on a general level
Theories exist within them
Theories within a paradigm may conflict
i.e. social behaviorism, social factism, etc.
different paradigms are related with different kinds of research
Micro vs. Macro
Micro: focuses on interaction between individuals and small groups - directly observable - experiments, field research, interviews, etc.
Macro: functioning of larger entities, like economies, governments, counties, etc. - not directly observable - uses historical trends and ecological data