Chapter Outline • Some Social Science Paradigms • Two Logical Systems Revisited • Deductive Theory Construction • Inductive Theory Construction • The Links between Theory and Research • The Importance of Theory in the “Real World” • Research Ethics and Theory • Quick Quiz
Paradigms – A model or frames of reference through which to observe and understand. • “Patterns happen.” • Logical explanations are what theories seek to provide. • Theories prevent our being taken in by flukes. • Theories makes sense of observed patterns. • Theories shape and direct research efforts.
Some Social Science Paradigms • When we recognize that we are operating within a paradigm, two benefits accrue. • We can better understand seemingly bizarre views and actions of others who are operating under different paradigms. • We can profit from stepping outside of our paradigm.
Paradigms play a fundamental role in science. • Paradigms are neither true nor false.
Macrotheory – A theory aimed at understanding the “big picture” of institutions, whole societies, and the interactions among societies. • Examples: class struggles, international relations, and interrelations between social institutions • Microtheory – A theory aimed at understanding social life on the intimate level of individuals and their interactions. • Examples: dating behavior, jury deliberations, student-faculty interactions
Mesotheory – Referencing an intermediate level between macro and micro: studying organizations, communities, and social categories.
Early Positivism • Comte: society is a phenomenon that can be studied scientifically. • “Positive Philosophy” • Theological Stage • Metaphysical Stage • Positivist Stage
Conflict Paradigm • Marx: social behavior is best explained as the process of conflict – the attempt to dominate others and to avoid being dominated. • Simmel: focused on small-scale conflict. • Chossudovsky (1997): international and global competition.
Symbolic Interactionism • Simmel: interested in how individuals interacted with one another, a micro approach. • Mead: “taking the role of the other” • Cooley: “looking-glass self,” primary groups
Ethnomethodology • Garfinkel: people are continually creating social structure through their actions and interactions, creating their realities. • Ethnomethology – methodology of the people.
Structural Functionalism (Social Systems Theory) • A social entity can be viewed as an organism. A social system is made up of parts, each of which contributes to the functioning of the whole.
Feminist Paradigms • Feminists call attention to aspects of social life that other paradigms do not reveal. • Concerned with the treatment of women and the experience of oppression.
Women’s Ways of Knowing • Silence • Received Knowledge • Subjective Knowledge • Procedural Knowledge • Constructed Knowledge
Feminist Standpoint Theory – Women have knowledge about their status and experience that is not available to men.
Critical Race Theory • W.E.B. DuBois: roots in the civil rights movement • African Americans lived their lives through a “dual consciousness”: as Americans and as Black people. • Bell (1980) • Interest Convergence – Majority group members will only support the interests of minorities when those actions also support the interests of the majority group.
Rational Objectivity • Comte: society can be studied rationally and objectively.
Asch Experiment (1958) • A group of subjects is present with a set of lines on a screen and asked to identify the two lines that are equal in length. • Others in the group identify A or C as the correct answer, while you know that B is the correct answer.
Two Logical Systems, Revisited • The Traditional Model of Science • Theory • Operationalization – Developing operational definitions, or specifying the exact operations involved in measuring a variable. • Operational Definition – The concrete and specific definition of something in terms of the operations by which observations are to be categorized. • Observation – Specifying the exact operations involved in measuring a variable.
Deductive and Inductive Reasoning • Deductive = Traditional Model of Science • A Case Illustration (Glock, Ringer, and Babbie, 1967) • Comfort Hypothesis
Deductive Theory Construction • Specify the topic. • Specify the range of phenomena your theory addresses. • Identify and specify your major concepts and variables. • Find out what is known about the relationships among those variables. • Reason logically from those propositions to the specific topic you are examining.
Inductive Theory Construction • Observing aspects of social life and seeking to discover patterns that may point to relatively universal principles. • Grounded Theory • Field Research
The Links Between Theory and Research • Deductive Model – research is used to test theories. • Inductive Model – theories are developed from analysis of data.
The Importance of Theory in the “Real World” • “Just as pure sociology aims to answer the questions What, Why, and How, so applied sociology aims to answer the question What for. The former deals with facts, causes, and principles; the latter with the object, end, or purpose.” (Lester Ward, 1906)
1. The three main elements of the traditional model of science are • theory, operationalization, and observation. • operationalization, hypothesis testing, and theory. • observation, experimentation, and operationalization. • theory, observation, and hypothesis testing. • experimentation, hypothesis testing, and theory.
Answer: A. The three main elements of the traditional mode of science are theory, operationalization, and observation.
2. The paradigm that accounts for the impact of economic conditions on family structures is • symbolic interactionism. • structural functionalism. • positivism. • conflict. • exchange.
ANSWER: B. The paradigm that accounts for the impact of economic conditions on family structures is structural functionalism.
3. Which of the following is not a step in deductive theory construction? • Specify the topic. • Identify the major concepts and variables. • Identify propositions about the relationships among those variables. • Reason logically from those propositions to the specific topic one is examining.
ANSWER: B. The following is not a step in deductive theory construction: identify the major concepts and variables.