Chapter 13: Reading in the Social Sciences Academic Reading, Fifth Edition by Kathleen T. McWhorter
Learning Objectives: • To learn why social sciences are “sciences” • To discover specialized reading techniques for the social sciences • To learn what common thought patterns to anticipate • To adapt your study techniques for social science courses
The Scientific ApproachAll social sciences use the scientific method, which is a systematic way of drawing conclusions about events or observations. • Five steps in the “scientific approach” • 1. Problem or Research Question. • 2. Observations. • 3. Formulation of Hypothesis/ • 4. Research Design. • 5. Data Analysis.
Characteristics of Social Sciences • 1. The emphasis is on facts. • 2. Many new terms are introduced. • 3. Graphics are important. • 4. Research references are stressed. • 5. Theories and their creators are emphasized.
Specialized Reading Techniques • 1. Identify Key Terms • Terms that describe general behavior and organizational patterns • Names of stages and processes • Laws, principles, theories, and models • Names of important researchers and theorists • 2. Understand Theories
Specialized Reading Techniques • 3. Read Research Reports • Determine who conducted the research. • Identify its purpose. • Find out how the research was done. • Understand the research results. • Find out what theory the results support. • Discover the implications and applications of the research. • 4. Read to Make Comparisons
Specialized Reading Techniques • 5. Read to Make Practical Applications • Example: “Project the key political issues that will be involved in the next presidential election.” • 6. Focus on Large Ideas
Thought Patterns in the Social Sciences • Comparison and contrast • Cause and Effect • Listing • Definition See Table 13-5 for examples of thought patterns.
Adapting Your Study Techniques • Schedule 2-3 hour blocks of time per week for reading, review, and study. • Recognize that understanding is not the same as learning and recall. • Use the SQ3R system to learn material. • Review frequently.
Adapting Your Study Techniques • Make connections between topics and chapters. • Use the study guide if there is one. • Keep a log of total hours studied per week to maintain motivation.
Summary Questions: • What are six specialized reading techniques for the social sciences? • What are the four thought patterns that predominate in the social sciences? • What are some tips for adapting your study techniques to the social sciences?
Read the article on sociology and complete the activities following the selection. • “Crowd Behavior” by J. Ross Eshleman, Barbara J. Cashion, and Laurence A. Basirico