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Sociology Your Compass for a New World B R I E F E D I T I O N. Robert J. Brym University of Toronto John Lie University of California at Berkeley. Chapter 1. A Sociological Compass. Chapter Outline. Introduction The Sociological Perspective Sociological Theory and Theorists

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sociology your compass for a new world b r i e f e d i t i o n

SociologyYour Compass for a New WorldB R I E F E D I T I O N

Robert J. Brym

University of Toronto

John Lie

University of California at Berkeley

chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Sociological Compass

chapter outline
Chapter Outline
  • Introduction
  • The Sociological Perspective
  • Sociological Theory and Theorists
  • Conducting Research
  • The Main Methods of Sociological Research
  • A Sociological Compass
the sociological explanation of suicide
The Sociological Explanation of Suicide
  • Émile Durkheim showed that suicide rates, are strongly influenced by social forces.
  • Durkheim argued that suicide rates vary because of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different groups.
durkheim s theory and suicide rates today
Durkheim’s Theory and Suicide Rates Today
  • Suicide is most common among the divorced and widowed.
  • Men, typically less involved in family life, are about four times more likely to commit suicide.
  • Areas of the U.S. with high rates of church membership have low suicide rates.
durkheim altruistic suicide
Durkheim: Altruistic suicide
  • Occurs when norms tightly govern behavior, so individual actions are often in the group interest.
    • Example: When soldiers knowingly give up their lives to protect members of their unit.
durkheim egoistic suicide
Durkheim: Egoistic Suicide
  • Results from a lack of integration of the individual into society because of weak social ties to others.
    • Example: The rate of egoistic suicide is likely to be high among people who lack friends and are unmarried.
durkheim anomic suicide
Durkheim: Anomic Suicide
  • Occurs when norms governing behavior are vaguely defined.
    • Example: When people live in a society lacking a widely shared code of morality, the rate of anomic suicide is likely to be high.
levels of social structure
Levels of Social Structure
  • Microstructures are patterns of intimate social relations.
  • Macrostructures are patterns of social relations outside your circle of intimates and acquaintances.
  • Global structures are international organizations, worldwide travel and communication, and economic relations between countries.
origins of the sociological imagination
Origins of the Sociological Imagination

Three revolutions pushed people to think about society in a new way:

  • Scientific Revolution suggested that a science of society is possible.
  • Democratic Revolution suggested people can intervene to improve society.
  • Industrial Revolution presented social thinkers with social problems in need of a solution.
polling question
Polling Question
  • Which sociological perspective do you feel explains the most to you about our society?
      • Structural-functional
      • Conflict
      • Symbolic interactionist
      • Feminist
polling question17
Polling Question
  • Which sociological perspective do you think is generally the weakest in explaining things in our society?
      • Structural-functional
      • Conflict
      • Symbolic interactionist
      • Feminist
the research cycle19
The Research Cycle
  • Formulate a research question.
  • Review the existing research literature.
  • Select a research method.
  • Collect data.
  • Analyze the data.
  • Publicize the results.
ethical considerations
Ethical Considerations
  • Researchers must respect their subjects’ rights to:
    • Safety
    • Privacy
    • Confidentiality
    • Informed consent
field research
Field Research
  • Based on the observation of people in their natural settings.
  • Field researchers go where people meet:
    • Italian-American slums
    • Intensive care unit of a major hospital
    • Audience of a daytime TV talk show
participant observation
Participant Observation
  • Sociologists take part in the activities of the people they are studying.
  • Allows researchers understand beliefs, values, and motives.
  • Requires that sociologists observe their subjects from an outsider’s point of view.
  • Tension exists between the goals of subjectivity and objectivity.
participant observation methodological problems
Participant Observation: Methodological Problems
  • To accept the findings of participant-observers:
      • We must be confident the findings extend beyond the case examined.
      • We must be confident the interpretations are accurate.
      • We must be confident another researcher would interpret things the same way.
experiments
Experiments
  • A carefully controlled artificial situation that allows researchers to isolate hypothesized causes and measure effects.
experiments25
Experiments
  • Use randomization to create two similar groups.
  • The hypothesized cause is introduced to only one of the groups.
  • The groups are compared before and after one of the groups has been exposed to the hypothesized cause.
steps in experiments
Steps in Experiments
  • Selection of subjects.
  • Random assignment of subjects to experimental and control groups.
  • Measurement of dependent variable in experimental and control groups.
steps in experiments27
Steps in Experiments
  • Introduction of independent variable to experimental group.
  • Remeasurement of dependent variable in experimental and control.
  • Assessment of experimental effect.
field experiments
Field Experiments
  • Retain benefits of experimental design while overcoming validity problems.
  • Either:
    • Introduce the independent variable themselves.
    • Observe what happens when the independent variable is introduced in the normal course of social life.
surveys
Surveys
  • Three main ways of conducting a survey:
    • self-administered questionnaire
    • face-to-face interviews
    • telephone interviews
threats to validity of surveys
Threats to Validity of Surveys
  • Exclusion of part of the population from the sampling frame.
  • Refusal of some people to participate in the survey.
  • Unwillingness of some respondents to answer some questions frankly.
  • Asking leading or confusing questions or questions that refer to multiple, unimportant, or noncurrent events.
analysis of existing documents advantages
Analysis of Existing Documents: Advantages
  • Can save the researcher time and money because they are available in libraries or on the web.
  • Usually cover entire populations and are collected using rigorous methods.
  • Does not require live subjects.
  • The researcher’s presence does not influence the subjects’ behavior.
polling question32
Polling Question
  • If you possessed the money, skill, and other necessary resources, in which one area would you like to conduct research?
    • Racial profiling
    • The cause(s) of sexual orientation
    • Sexual assault and abuse
    • The effects of divorce on children
slide39
1. Durkheim explained variations in the suicide rate by focusing on:

a. personal troubles

b. microstructures

c. power

  • social solidarity
  • mesostructures
answer d
Answer: d
  • Durkheim explained variations in the suicide rate by focusing on social solidarity.
slide41
2. According to Durkheim, the more a group's members share beliefs and values, and the more frequently and intensely they interact, the more social solidarity there is in a group.
  • True
  • False
answer true
Answer: True
  • According to Durkheim, the more a group's members share beliefs and values, and the more frequently and intensely they interact, the more social solidarity there is in a group.
slide43
3. Sociologists call stable patterns of social relations:
  • microstructures
  • mesostructures
  • macrostructures
  • global structures
  • social structures
answer e
Answer:e
  • Sociologists call stable patterns of social relations social structures.
slide45
4. The main question of   _________________   theory is, how do the institutions of society contribute to social stability and instability?
answer functionalist
Answer: functionalist
  • The main question of functionalist theory is, how do the institutions of society contribute to social stability and instability.
slide47
5. Which of the following is usually the first step in the research cycle?
  • selecting a research method
  • reviewing the literature
  • formulating a research question
  • collecting data
  • none of these choices
answer c
Answer: c
  • Formulating a research question is usually the first step in the research cycle.