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Socy 210 Essay Research Paper Chapter 2

Socy 210 Essay, Research Paper

Chapter 2 Paradigms, Theory and Research

+ Logical explanations are what theories seek to provide.

+ Theories function in 3 ways : 1 – prevents our being taken by flukes (if we know why it is happening we can anticipate whether it will work in the future)

2 – theories make sense of observed patters in ways that suggest other possibilities. (if we can understand reasons; we can take effective action)

3 theories can shape and direct research efforts, pointing toward likely discoveries through empirical observation (theory directs researchers where to observe interesting patters in social life)

+ Paradigms the fundamental models or frames of referance we use to organize our observations and reasoning.

x a point of view among many we must regognize that our views and feelings are the result of paradigms we have been socialized into.

x 2 benefits of recognizing we are working within paradigms 1) we are better able to understand views and actions of others operating from a different paradigm. & 2) we can see new ways of seeing and explaining things. **** We cannot do these things as long as we mistake our paradigm for reality.

x Thomas Kuhn (1970) – Paradigms play roles in natural science as well . Major scientific paradigms include Copernicus s view of the earth moving around the sun (instead of the reverse), Darwin s theory of evolution, Newtonian mechanics, and Einstein s relativity. Which scientific theories make sense depends on which paradigm scientists are maintaining.

x Social scientist develop paradigms of understanding social behaviour. Each makes certain assumptions about the nature of social reality. Ultimately, paradigms cannot be true of false (only more or less useful)

+ Macrotheory and Microtheory –

x Macrotheory : the struggle among economic classes, international relations, interrelations between major institutions in society i.e. government, religion & family – deals with large aggregate entities of society or even whole societies.

x Microtheory : more intimate view, deals with issues at the level of individuals or small groups. Studies often come close to the realm of psychology.

Early Positivism

x Auguste Comte identified society as a phenomenon that can be studied scientifically. Society simply was.

x Comte replaced religious belief with scientific objectivity.

x Comte developed his positive philosophy which suggests three stages of history – theological stage: up until 1300s (mainly religious)

x Metaphysical stage: the next 500 years, replaced god with ideas of nature and natural law . Finally his next stage (Positivism) would use knowledge to replace religion and metaphysics. Based observations on five senses. Comte felt society could be studied and understood locially and rationally.

x The positivistic paradigm assumes we can scientifically discover the rules governing social life.

Conflict Paradigm

x Karl MARX suggest that social behaviour could best been seen as the process of conflict: the attempt to dominate others and avoid being dominated.

x Focused mainly on the struggle between economic classes.

The way capitalism produced the oppression of workers. He was also committed to restructuring economic relations and to end this oppression.

x Marx chiefly addressed macrotheoretical issues (large institutions and whole societies)

x Georg SIMMEL studied small-scale conflict, conflicts amongst members of small groups

x Often focuses on class, gender, and ethnic struggles (wherever different groups have competing interests).

Symbolic Interactionism

x Simmel – was more interested in the ways individuals interacted with one another (micro) began by examining dyads & triads he wrote about the web of group affiliation

x Simmel (European) influenced U.S. developments in George H. Mead and Charles H. Cooley who developed it into a powerful paradigm of research.

x This paradigm lends insights into the nature of interactions in ordinary social life it can also help us understand unusual forms of interaction.

x Examines how shared meanings and social patterns are developed in the course of social interactions.


x Harold Garfinkel takes the point of view that people are continually creating social structure through their actions and interactions (creating their own realities)

x People continually trying to make sense of the life they experience, Garfinkel suggests that everyone is acting like a social scientist: hence the term ethnomethodology methodology of the people.

x Making sense of other behaviours

x Research within the ethnometho. Paradigm often focuses on communication.

x Focuses on the ways people make sense out of life in the process of living it, as though each were a researcher engaged in an inquiry.

Structural Functionalism

x Sometimes know as social systems theory . Breaks things way down.

x A social entity (organization or a whole society) can be viewed as parts, each contributing to the function of the whole the human body for an anology (heart, lungs, brain, etc.)

x The view of society as a social system looks at the functions served by various components.

x Police serve to protect society, criminals create job security for police each function serves the system.

x When social researchers look for the functions served by poverty, discrimination, or oppression of women, they are not justifying these things. Rather they seek to understand the roles such things play in the larger society as a way a understanding why they persist and how the could be eliminated.

Feminist Paradigms

x Feminist (of both genders) began question the use of masculine nouns and pronouns whenever gender was ambiguous.

x Now focused on gender differences and how they relate to the rest of society.

x In addition to drawing attention to the oppression of women in most societies, highlight how previous images of social reality have often come from and reinforced to experiences of men.

Two Logical Systems Revisited – Deductive and inductive theory

+ The traditional Model of Science

x 3 main elements theory, operationalization, and observation

x uses deductive logic.

x THEORY scientist start with a theory from which they derive a hypothesis that they can test

x OPERATIONALIZATION to test any hypothesis the meanings of all the variables must be specified.

x Literally means the operations involved in measuring a variable.

x Operational definition (def.) the concrete and specific definition of something in terms of the operations by which observations are to be categorized. Pg 446

x OBSERVATION looking at the world and making measurements of what is seen

x Having developed theoretical clarity and expectations and having created a strategy for looking, all that remains is to look at the way things actually appear.

x Disconfirmability — is an essential quality in any hypothesis. If there is no chance your hypothesis will be disconfirmed, it hasn t said anything meaningful.

+ Deduction and Induction Compared

x Induction starts from observed data and develops a generalization which explains the relationships between the objects observed; Deduction starts from some general law and applies it to a particular instance.

x 2 case illustrations pg 38-44

+ Deductive Theory Construction

x List to organize your theory 1. specify your topic

2. specify the range of phenomena your theory addresses. (who/what will