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Chapter 2: Sociological Inquiry

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-Auguste Comte: developed the concept of sociology based on the methods used in the physical sciences. 

-Scientific Method: Process a sociologist uses to develop and test theories. 

     >Define question/problem 

      Review literature

      Develop hypothesis 

      Chose research design and method

     Collect Data

      Analyze data

      Develop Conclusions

      Report results



-American Sociological Association: National organization for sociologist dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. 

– Peer Review: Research is evaluated by a group of experts in the specific subject area. 

-Hypothesis: An educated guess about a relationship between two or more situations/events. 

-Independent Variable: Factor that causes a change in another variable. 

-Dependent Variable: Factor that is changed by another variable. 

-Validity: Extent that the study measures what it claims to measure. 

-Operational definition: A clear, concise, and observable measure of the variable. 

-Reliability: Extent to which a study yield the same result in repeated studies. 

-Quantitative research design: Data collection that focuses on exploring correlations by using systematic, numerical, and other objective measures to generalize across groups of people. 

-Qualitative research design: Data collection using interviews, fieldwork, observation, photos, text, and other subject measures. 

-Representative sample: Subset of the population whose characteristics accurately reflect those of the larger population from which it is drawn. 

-Institutional Review Board: Committee that reviews research proposals to protect the rights and welfare of human participants in research. 

-Informed consent : Signed statement by participants indicating full knowledge of the risks and procedures involved and the ability to withdraw at any moment. 

-Anonymity: conceal identities of participants. 

-Confidentiality: guarding who has the right of access to the data.



-Secondary Analysis: Existing data and study can be conducted quickly, but data may not fit research question. 

-Surveys: Cost-effective but inflexible design and potential low response rate. 

-Experiments: Control over design and stronger reliability, but inability to generalize data. 

-Longitudinal Studies: Provides broad and detailed data, but expensive and requires multi-year commitment. 

-Secondary Analysis: use of data previously collected for other purposes.

-Survey: series of questions used to extract specific information from respondents. 

-Experiment: use of two or more groups in which one group is exposed to a factor being examined. 

-Experimental Group: The study subjects exposed to the independent variable. 

-Control Group: study subjects not exposed to the independent variable.

-Longitudinal Design: Repeated observation of the same subjects over a duration of time. May require years to complete.



-In-depth Interview:  Ability to explore different angles/level, but focuses on individuals and transcribing field notes.. time consuming. 

-Participant Observation: Unrestricting access to observe social behavior, but difficult to document details and can be unethical. 

-Focus Groups: Ease of implementation and quick results, but groupthink can occur and moderators can skew results. 

-Content Analysis: Does not involve human subject and cost-effective, but researchers must \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”read between the lines.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\”

-In-depth Interview: A one-on-one open-ended method that probes for deeper meaning and understanding of the responses of the interviewee. 

-Participation Observation: A method in which the researcher takes part in the social phenomenon being studies. 

-Ethnography: A descriptive account of social life and culture in a particular social system derived from the researcher being embedded over time within a group.

-Focus Group: Small group interview or guided discussion using a moderator to gain insight into the participants opinions on specific topics. 

-Groupthink: The tendency of group member to yield to the desire for consensus rather than expressing individual or alternative ideas. 

-Content Analysis: A systematic method of assigning codes to text, video, music, and other media to analyze and infer patterns. 



-Sustainability: The idea that current and future generations should have equal or greater access to social, economic, and environmental resources. 

-General Social Survey: A national survey on contemporary American society to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes. 



-Snowball Sampling: People in the group being studied introduce the researcher to other people to study. 



-Time Diary Method: Subject track their actions at various points in time over several days. 

-Hawthorne effect: Tendency of people to change their answers when they know they are being watched. 

-Objectivity: Effort to eliminate bias from the research. 

Functionalist Theory: The school and criminal justice systems are examples of large-scale social structures that a sociologist might research from a functionalist perspective to see how they contribute to maintaining society’s stability.

Conflict Theory: Social inequality in socioeconomic status or race and ethnicity may play a role in boys’ differing crime rates. A sociologist who uses the conflict perspective would research this topic from the standpoint of competition and change.

Symbolic Interaction: Family and friends are often very involved in our everyday social lives and, as such, are an example of micro-level analysis. Therefore, symbolic interaction would consider the boys’ face-to-face interactions.



-Case Study: An in-depth analysis over a significant period. 



-Verstehen: An empathetic (ability to share and understand emotions) approach to understanding human behavior. 



-Anna Julia Cooper: African American author, born into slavery, wrote A Voice from the South and is seen as the first example of black feminism. 

-Beatrice Potter Webb: English sociologist, eleven books with her husband, an instrumental in the british welfare system\’s social reform. 

-Sophonisba Breckinridge: Born into the Kentucky elite, first woman admitted to the Kentucky bar association. Also worked in the Chicago Hull-House project, went to cofound the University of Chicago\’s School of Social Service Administration.

-Marianne Webb: Authored nine sociology and social analysis books and was the first woman elected to the German parliament. Also published ten of her late husband\’s works and biography.