Chapter Outline • Looking for Reality • The Foundation of Social Science • Some Dialectics of Social Research • Quick Quiz
Looking for Reality • Knowledge from Agreement Reality • Assertions must be both logical and empirical. • Epistemology – The science of knowing. • Methodology – A subfield of epistemology.
Ordinary Human Inquiry • Humans want to predict the future. Why? • We recognize that the future is caused in part by the present. • Cause and effect patterns are probabilistic in nature. • Prediction versus Understanding • Tradition • Authority
Errors in Inquiry and Some Solutions • Inaccurate Observations • Measurement devices offer accuracy. • Overgeneralizations • Large and representative samples are a safeguard against overgeneralization. • Replication – Repeating a research study to test and either confirm or question the findings of an earlier study.
Selective Observations • Avoid looking for “deviant” cases. • Illogical Reasoning • “Gambler’s fallacy”
What’s Really Real? • The Premodern View – Things are as they seem. • The Modern View – Acknowledgement of human subjectivity. • The Postmodern View – There is no objective reality.
The Foundations of Social Science • The foundations of social science are logic and observation.
Theory, Not Philosophy or Belief • Social theory has to do with what is, not with what should be. • Theory – A systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of life. • Social science can help us know what is and why.
Social Regularities • Exceptions? • Social regularities represent probabilistic patterns.
Aggregates, Not Individuals • The collective actions and situations of many individuals. • Focus of social science is to explain why aggregated patterns of behavior are regular even when individuals change over time.
Concepts and Variables • Variables – Logical groupings of attributes. • Attributes – Characteristics or qualities that describe an object.
Independent Variable – A variable with values that are not problematical in an analysis but are taken as simply given. • Dependent Variable – A variable assumed to depend on or be caused by another.
The Purposes of Social Research • Mapping out a topic that may warrant further study later (exploratory) • Describing the state of social affairs (descriptive) • Providing reasons for phenomena, in terms of causal relationships (explanatory)
Some Dialectics of Social Research • Idiographic and Nomothetic Explanation • Idiographic – An approach to explanation in which we seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition of event. • Nomothetic – An approach to explanation in which we seek to identify a few causal factors that generally impact a class of conditions of event.
Inductive and Deductive Theory • Induction – The logical model in which general principles are developed from specific observations. • Deduction – The logical model in which specific expectations of hypotheses are developed on the basis of general principles.
Qualitative and Quantitative Data • Qualitative Data – non-numerical data • Quantitative Data – numerical data
Pure and Applied Research • Pure Research – Gaining “knowledge for knowledge’s sake.” • Applied Research – Putting research into practice.
The Research Proposal • Introduction (Chapter 1) • Review of the Literature (Chapters 2, 15, Appendix A) • Specify the Problem/Question/Topic (Chapters 5, 6, 12) • Research Design (Chapter 4) • Data Collection (Chapters 4, 8, 9, 10, 11) • Selection of Subjects (Chapter 7) • Ethical Issues (Chapter 3) • Data Analysis (Chapters 13) • Bibliography (Chapter 17, Appendix A)
1. The two foundations of science are: • tradition and observation. • observation and logic. • logic and theory. • theory and observation. • logic and generalization.
Answer: B. The two foundations of science are observation and logic.
2. Science… • deals with what should be and not with what is. • can settle debates on value. • is exclusively descriptive. • has to do with disproving philosophical beliefs. • has to do with how things are and why.
Answer: E. Science has to do with how things are and why.
3. When social scientists study variables, they focus on • attributes. • groups. • people. • characteristics. • relationships.
Answer: E. When social scientists study variables, they focus on relationships.
4. _____ is the science of knowing. • Intelligence • Exam taking • Epistemology • Methodology • Relationships
Answer: C. Epistemology is the science of knowing.
5. Which of the following are true of tradition and authority? • They both assist human inquiry. • They both hinder human inquiry. • Both of the above are true. • Neither of the above are true.
Answer: C. Tradition and authority both assist and hinder human inquiry.
6. _____ explanations seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition of event. • Idiographic • Latent • Manifest • Nomothetic
Answer: A. Idiographic explanations seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or event.