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  1. Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective and Research Process

  2. Objectives (slide 1 of 2) 1.1 The Sociological Perspective • Define sociology. • Explain the features of the sociological imagination. • Illustrate key societal issues. 1.2 The Historical Origins of Sociology • Identify early sociologists, the factors that influenced them, and their contributions to sociology. 1.3 Sociological Theory—Current Theoretical Perspectives • Compare and contrast the theoretical perspectives that dominate sociology, identify the sociologists associated with those perspectives, and describe their key insights.

  3. Objectives (slide 2 of 2) 1.4 The Science of Sociology • Identify the standards of scientific knowledge. • Explain the key steps in the research process. 1.5 Sociological Research • Describe the research methods commonly used in sociological studies. • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each research method. 1.6 Ethics in Sociological Research Methods • Describe the three fundamental issues that distinguish sociology from the natural sciences. • Examine ethical issues in the study of human subjects.

  4. The Sociological Perspective • Sociology:The scientific study of social life • Sociological imagination:The capacity for individuals to understand the relationship between their individual lives and the broad social forces that influence them

  5. Major and Enduring Social Issues • Social structure • Social control • Social inequality • The social construction of reality • Scientific knowledge • Social change

  6. Social Culture • Social structure:Enduring, relatively stable patterns of social behavior • Culture:A combination of ideas, behaviors, and material objects that members of a society have created and adopted for carrying out necessary tasks of daily life and that are passed on from one generation to the next

  7. Social Control • Social control:Efforts by society to regulate people’s behavior and thoughts • Social stratification:Patternsof inequality in a society • Globalization:Increasing interdependence throughout the world

  8. The Historical Origins of Sociology • Industrial Revolution:Marked by a dramatic change in the nature of production in which machines replaced tools, steam and other energy sources replaced human or animal power, and skilled workers were replaced with mostly unskilled workers • Positivism: An approach to sociology that assumes that the methods of the natural sciences, such as physics, can be applied successfully to the study of social life and that the scientific principles learned can be applied to solving social problems

  9. Karl Marx • Bourgeoisie (capitalists):Those owning the means of production, including land, raw materials, forests, factories, and machines • Means of production:The technologies and resources required for producing goods or services in an economy, such as factories, raw materials, and machines • Proletariat (workers):People who sell their labor to capitalists for wages • Surplus value:The difference between what manufacturers are paid for goods or services and what they pay workers to produce them

  10. Emile Durkheim • Social facts:Regular patterns of behavior characterizing a society that exist independent of individuals and are beyond the control of individuals

  11. Max Weber • Verstehen: The subjective understanding of individual participants anchored in a context of shared cultural ideas • Protestant work ethic:A disciplined work ethic, rational approach to life, and an emphasis on this world • Rationalization of society:The transition from a society dominated by tradition to one dominated by reason and rationally calculable scientific criteria • Bureaucracy:An organization based on rationality, having a clear division of labor, written rules and regulations, impersonality, hierarchical lines of authority, and selection and promotion based on competence

  12. George Herbert Mead • “I”:The self as subject who makes decisions and takes actions based on his or her desires • “Me”:The self as object as the person is regarded by others • Take the role of the other:To understand how others view the situation and what it means from their perspective • Generalized other:The collective attitudes of the entire community regarding how they are expected to behave

  13. Diversity in Sociology • Harriet Martineau • Provided an insightful examination of the family customs, religion, politics, and race and gender relations in the United States during the late-1800s • Jane Addams • Studied class differences and the assimilation of immigrants into society • William Edward Burghardt Dubois • Analyzed race relations in Philadelphia

  14. Structural-Functional Theory • Function:The consequence or effect of a social structure for the society as a whole • Manifest functions:The obvious and usually intended consequences of actions • Latent functions:Theless obvious and often unintended consequences of actions • Dysfunctions:The negative consequences of a social structure. • Emergent properties:Important characteristics that cannot be reduced to some simple combination of characteristics of individuals or other components • Agency:The capacity for people to act to change their own lives and to influence others

  15. Conflict and Feminist Theory Conflict Theory Feminist Theory Argues traditional sociological research ignores gender, takes the male point of reference, and takes traditional gender roles for granted Standpoint theory argues that women, because of their subordinate position in society, are more aware of the inequalities of gender and the consequences of gender for various aspects of one’s life. • Power:The ability to influence others even in the face of resistance • Power elite:Leaders of dominant institutions, including the military, corporations, and political institutions

  16. Symbolic Interactionism • Symbols: The words, gestures, and objects that communicate meaning between people • Definition of the situation:A statement or action that explicitly or implicitly suggests the meaning the actor would like others to attribute to his or her actions • Thomas theorem: “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” • Negotiated order: Ashared meaning for the situation agreed upon by all participants • Social construction of reality: We as individuals do not directly experience reality but are influenced in our perception of it by social interaction and meanings other people attribute to that reality • Looking-glass self: Peoplemold themselves in response to how other people perceive them, and the individual’s responses serve to reinforce the perspectives of other people • Self-fulfilling prophecy: A prediction that leads, directly or indirectly, to becoming true

  17. Multiple Theories • Macro-level studies:Studies that focus on social structures that influence individuals, such as groups, organizations, cultures, or even societies • Micro-level studies:Research focusing on individuals, thoughts, actions, and individual behaviors • Meso-level studies:Studies that either focus on intermediate-level structures, such as the family or small organizations, or may try to bridge the micro and macro levels to show how one influences the other

  18. The Standards of Scientific Knowledge • Scientific knowledge should be transferable. It is transferable if the results are likely to apply in other settings and circumstances.

  19. Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed-Methods Research • Qualitative research: Research emphasizing verbal descriptions and avoiding counting items or the use of mathematics • Quantitative research:Emphasizes numerical descriptions of data, counting, and the use of mathematics and statistics to describe and analyze data • Mixed-methods research: Research that combines both qualitative and quantitative research in the same study

  20. The Research Process • Data:Empirically obtained information • Peer-reviewed scientific journal:A journal in which other researchers who know the area examine an article before it is published to make sure that it meets the standards of science

  21. Measurement (slide 1 of 2) • Concept:An abstract idea or theoretical construct usually represented by a word or brief phrase summarizing some meaningful aspect of the real world • Operational definition:A description of procedures used to measure a concept in sufficient detail so that someone else could perform the same procedure and get a similar result • Variable:A measurable trait or characteristic that can vary and that is used to measure a concept • Reliability:The extent to which a measure or scale produces consistent results for different times, different people, and different research methods • Validity:The extent to which a measure or scale measures what we think it measures

  22. Measurement (slide 2 of 2) Questions asked of respondents tend to be answered with greater reliability and validity when they: • Ask things respondents could reasonably be expected to know • Ask things respondents want to tell you correctly • Ask things that are neither too difficult to answer nor consume too much time

  23. Sampling (slide 1 of 2) • Population: Everyone of interest for a study • Sample:A subset of members of the population rather than the entire population • Biased:Results that are systematically different from those of the population in a specific direction

  24. Sampling (slide 2 of 2) • Probability sampling:Procedures for which each case in the population has some known probability of being included in the sample and all segments of the population are represented in the sample • Theoretical sampling:A procedure that selects new cases different from already sampled ones to provide a basis for comparison

  25. Statistical Analysis (slide 1 of 2) • Empirical generalizations:Summary statements about the data that highlight important findings • Statistics:Mathematical measures summarizing important characteristics found in data

  26. Statistical Analysis (slide 2 of 2) • Descriptive statistics • Reading tables • Measures of association • Separating cause and association

  27. Tests of Significance Tests of significance: • Statistical procedures used to determine whether observed results could have occurred by chance • Compute a summary statistic for a group of cases and compare that statistic to the range of possible values that might have occurred due to chance

  28. Social Surveys • Respondent:Someone who answers questions in a social survey • Response rates:The proportion of people asked to participate in the study who actually did so • Interviews:Surveys in which the researcher interacts in person with the respondent, asking him or her questions • Questionnaires:Surveys in which the respondent completes a form mailed to her or perhaps accessed on the Internet • Closed-ended questions:Questions that require respondents to select from a list of available responses • Open-ended questions: Questions that permit people to use their own words to answer

  29. Experiments • Independent variable:A variable expected to cause changes in a second variable • Dependent variable:A variable thought to be influenced by an independent variable • Subjects: People participating in the study • Random assignment:Assigning people at random to different conditions to avoid bias and to make sure the conditions are comparable • Experimental group:A group exposed to a treatment • Control group:A group not exposed to the treatment • Laboratory experiment:An experiment conducted in a controlled setting

  30. Field Work (Participant Observation) • Field experiment:A study conducted in a natural setting, such as a classroom, where the researcher cannot control everything that happens • Participant observation or field work:Research in which the researcher participates in and is directly involved in the lives of those he or she is studying

  31. Categories of Observers • Complete participant:Someone who participates in the setting fully and engages in unobtrusive research • Unobtrusive research: Research in which those studied are not aware they are being studied • Participant as observer:Research in which the researcher has a nonresearch reason for participating in the setting and decides to conduct research • Observer as participant: Research in which the observer has only minimal participation in the setting and is not a natural or normal participant • Complete observer:Does not take part in the interaction at all and hence is less likely to cause the people studied to modify their actions

  32. Ethnography • Ethnography:A typically detailed descriptive account summarizing and interpreting a culture or a collection of people studied

  33. Access to Research • Participant observation can create suspicion or mistrust among subjects. • Researchers will sometimes use key informants. • Case study: A study done in a single setting over a number of months or years

  34. Secondary Analysis • Secondary analysis:Theanalysis of data for purposes other than the primary reason the information was originally collected • Content analysis:A commonly used procedure for studying text by identifying specific characteristics of the text, such as the frequency of occurrence of specific key words or phrases • Historical-comparative research:A study examining the ways in which social life changes across cultures and over time

  35. Ethics in Sociological Research • Reactivity:The extent to which humans beings studied “react” or respond to the research process or the researcher by changing their behavior, either unintentionally or intentionally • Hawthorne effect:Theunintended effects on behavior produced when people are aware they are being studied

  36. Ethical Issues in the Study of Human Subjects Title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46 The American Sociological Association Code Based on five principles: 1. Professional. competence 2. Integrity 3. Professional and scientific responsibility 4. Respect for people’s rights 5. Social responsibility Requires that human subjects be protected in research, including: • Risks should be minimized and outweighed by potential benefits. • Subject privacy should be guaranteed by confidentiality or anonymity. • Subjects should be selected to share risks fairly. • Subjects should be informed fully about risks before agreeing to participate.