Sociology Class Notes 2/2/2009 Today?s Concepts Macro and Micro Sociology Functionalist Paradigm Conflict Paradigm Symbolic Interaction Paradigm Empirical Questions Inconvenient Fact Quantitative/Qualitative Triangulation Hawthorne Effect Ethical Concerns Data Collection Methods Surveys, Observation, Unobstrusive Paradigms Paradigm is a framework, a way to view the world, an approach All paradigms can be useful and are equally valid; they each have a different approach There are other paradigms in sociology Levels of Analysis Macrosociology- studying society by focusing on relationships between social structures and institutions Microsociology- studying society by focusing on the nature of people?s interactions Schwalbe: Ways of Knowing Logical deduction Relying on what others tell us Personal experience and observation What are the problems with the ways of knowing? Doing Research Sociology is concerned with human beings. But the emphasis is on studying what goes on between individuals, not with individuals. Sociology is a scientific (systematic) endeavor. Sociology has an empirical basis. That is we measure what is observable Schwalbe Systematic research is the best way to provide valid and reliable knowledge: Standard widely accepted means controls for bias Goes beyond personal experience and casual observation- looks beyond what is obvious We can check each other Research Questions Schwalbe?s larger point is that we should be mindful of where our own knowledge comes from by asking questions However, we should be mindful of the kinds of questions research can examine Sociological Methods Method is always chosen according to what questions or issues you wish to study Often a research study utilizes more than one method: called triangulation Ex. Surveys Interviews Field Research Traditions Quantitative: Methods that focus on creating and interpreting numerical data to understand an issue Qualitative: Methods that take into account meanings attached to behaviors or to gain a full understanding of a particular behavior Surveys Used when you want information from large numbers of people Also useful for obtaining info on attitudes of people Drawbacks: not a good way to measure people?s actual behavior Experiments Used to explore casual relationships among relationships Drawback: Rarely are relationships as simple as one variable causing another Hawthorne Effect Changes that occur in people?s behavior because they know are involved as research subjects Observation Complete participant- actually participates Participant observer- participate then observe Complete observer- just watches Drawback: Only relatively small groups of people can be observed at once: Hawthorne Effect Unobtrusive Research Secondary data- data already found Ex: Census Artifacts Ex: Digging through garbage Content Analysis- frequency Historical Methods Drawback: Can only study what is there Ethics What is the risk that my research might harm someone? Risk or no risk, the researcher must obtain: Informed consent from anyone who participates University Institutional Review Board (IRB) Ethical Considerations Research should cause no harm to subjects Participation should be voluntary, must obtain informed consent Researchers should fully disclose identity Confidentiality must be maintained for participants Benefits must outweigh the risks Paradigm Level of Society View of Society Functionalist Durkheim Spencer Tends to operate at macro level All parts of society are related to each other, when one part changes so does the other There is a great deal of consensus about values and norms Conflict Marx DuBois Tends to operate at macro level Conflicting values and goals Competition for scarce resources People in power do everything to keep control Symbolic Interaction Tonnies Weber Tends to operate at micro level How people construct meaning about the world We learn from each other how to evaluate the world and where our place is in the world
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