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Quiz 1. Building Reality. The Construction of Knowledge. Quote: Collins and Makowsky. “Sociology is like rebuilding a boat, plank by plank, while floating on it in the middle of the ocean.”. “The Medium is the Message”. Using Social Science Methods to Become Better Consumers of Information.

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Building reality

Building Reality

The Construction of Knowledge


Quote collins and makowsky
Quote: Collins and Makowsky

“Sociology is like rebuilding a boat, plank by plank, while floating on it in the middle of the ocean.”


The medium is the message
“The Medium is the Message”

Using Social Science Methods to Become Better Consumers of Information



Problems with bpa
Problems with BPA

  • Associated with:

    • Heart Disease

    • Diabetes

    • Uterine Fibroids

    • Breast Cancer

    • Prostate Cancer

    • Premature Onset of Puberty


…But…

  • FDA, American Chemical Society, and others have affirmed the safety of BPA.

  • What would you choose for your baby?


Example
Example

“Does your candidate run the risk of losing your vote by running negative advertisements?”

Results: 10% Yes

90% No

GARBAGE!


Problems with samples
Problems with Samples

  • Population: the actual group, organization, or category of people of interest to the researcher

  • Sample: subgroup chosen from the larger population; the actual group studied

  • If the sample selected approximates the qualities of the larger population, i.e. if the sample is representative, then and only then can any generalizations be made about the population.


Example1

?

Example

  • 70% support the death penalty

  • 55% support the death penalty if LWOP is an option

  • 55% support the death penalty if abolition of the death penalty would not increase the homicide rate

  • 62% support LWOP+R over the death penalty if it is an option


Previous class survey results
Previous Class Survey Results

In general, what do you think about the death penalty?

In general, what punishment for capital crimes do you think is best?

  • I support the death penalty

    • 25% 48%

  • I am opposed to the death penalty

    • 27% 52%

  • I am undecided about the death penalty

    • 47%

  • The death penalty

    • 16% 21%

  • Life sentence with no chance of parole, plus restitution

    • 51% 64%

  • Life sentence without parole

    • 12% 15%

  • Undecided

    • 21%


Issues of validity and reliability
Issues of Validity and Reliability

  • Validity: Accurateness, i.e., is the measure/instrument used actually measuring what the researchers want it to measure?

  • Reliability: Repeatability, i.e., if another researcher repeated the study with the same method and a different representative sample from the same population, would they get the same results?


The problem of averages
The Problem of Averages

  • What information are we seeking when we ask for the average ?


The standard normal distribution
The Standard Normal Distribution

= Mean, Median, and Mode


Mode

Median

Mean

Number of Individuals

Income


An illustration
An Illustration

  • Averages (means) are highly sensitive to extreme values.

    • Example:

$40,000

$50,000

$80,000

$30,000

$20,000


Calculating measures of central tendency
Calculating Measures of Central Tendency

  • Mean:

    • =($20,000 + $30,000 + $40,000 + $50,000 + $80,000) / 5

    • = $44,000

  • Median

    • $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $80,000

  • But…if only one person gets their dream job…


$500,000

$50,000

  • Mean:

    • =($20,000 + $30,000 + $40,000 + $500,000+ $80,000) / 5

    • = $134,000

  • Median

    • $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $80,000 $500,000


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