College–Level Sociology Curriculum For Introduction to Sociology

07/04/2009 · What are some examples of a sociological hypothesis

What is Sociology and Criminology

Students will learn that sociologists collect their data through a number of research methods. One of the most common is the social survey, in which a sample of people respond to a questionnaire that is administered on paper, in a personal interview, by telephone, or over the internet. Sociologists may also engage in a participant observation, in which they become part of a group they seek to understand. Some sociologists, like psychologists, conduct experiments, while others rely principally on historical or archival data to test their hypotheses. The choice of data collection methods depends upon the kind of data that are needed to test a hypothesis. Some hypotheses may be tested through multiple methods. Students will learn how sociologists tabulate their data using statistical methods, some of which are highly sophisticated. It is common to report measures of central tendency for each variable, for example, the mean or median values. It is also common to report a measure of the spread from the mean, such as the standard deviation or interquartile range. Measures of association indicate whether and/or how closely two variables are related to each other. A measure of association such as chi-square can show if the relationship of two variables might have happened by chance or if it is a significant relationship; it is also possible to calculate the strength of an association through the use of a correlation coefficient. When sociologists measure one variable taking into account the effect of a second variable, they are said to “control” for the second variable, and multivariate statistics are sophisticated means to control simultaneously for the effects of many independent variables.

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In developing explanations, students will learn how sociologists are careful to distinguish the types of variables they are investigating. In general, a dependent variable is the variable being studied. An independent variable is a variable believed to vary with the dependent variable; the independent variable is often relatively fixed (such as one’s gender), or it occurred earlier than the dependent variable (such as childhood experience). In the example in the preceding paragraph, the dependent variable is juvenile delinquency rate, and the independent variables are family income and the occupational prestige of workers in the family. Notice, however, that high parental income may be associated with a low juvenile delinquency rate, but it does not necessarily cause a low juvenile delinquency rate. Instead, the relationship may be mediated in various ways. For example, wealthier parents may be able to provide more activities for their teens, or they may be able to hire better lawyers if their teens do get into trouble. Drawing on theoretical foundations, students will learn that to assess a causal relationship between variables, it is necessary 1) to establish the time order of the variables (with the independent variable coming before the dependent variable), 2) to establish that the variables are correlated, and 3) to rule out any competing hypotheses. Suppose, for example, that a researcher finds that ice cream consumption is inversely related to juvenile delinquency rates. This finding does not prove that ice cream prevents juvenile delinquency. Instead, this hypothesis may be misspecified because the wrong independent variable has been named. Perhaps parents with higher income can buy more ice cream, so that higher income co-varies positively with more ice cream and also co-varies negatively with the juvenile delinquency rate.

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Students of sociology will learn how to assess the adequacy of research reported in newspapers, websites, and other places. In general, it is important to be able to tell how the research was done, whether competing hypotheses were adequately examined, and whether the appropriate variables were controlled. Studies that contain little information about how the data were collected and analyzed – in particular, studies that cannot be done again by another researcher – are suspect.

These are questions that sociological research can ..


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What is scientific thinking? At this point, it is customary to discussquestions, observations, data, hypotheses, testing, and theories, which are the formalparts of the scientific method, but these are NOT the most important components of thescientific method. The scientific method is practiced within a context of scientificthinking, and scientific (and critical) thinking is based on three things: using empiricalevidence (empiricism), practicing logical reasonsing (rationalism), and possessing askeptical attitude (skepticism) about presumed knowledge that leads to self-questioning,holding tentative conclusions, and being undogmatic (willingness to change one's beliefs).These three ideas or principles are universal throughout science; without them, therewould be no scientific or critical thinking. Let's examine each in turn.

2 Responses to Social Surveys – Advantages and Disadvantages.

Learners will connect the use and construction of theory with the application of diverse research methods to answer sociological questions. Over the years, philosophers, religious leaders, journalists, and many others have speculated about human society. Students will learn how sociology differs from these other enterprises because sociology applies relevant theories and scientific methods to the study of society. The methods are not pre-determined; they depend upon the question being asked. Sometimes the endeavor is exploratory; sometimes it is to test a specific theoretical proposition; it is always systematic. Students will learn how the theory-method process develops and uses a strategy that requires stating a clear question or hypothesis, developing data to address the question or test the hypothesis, and then judging whether the question is answered or the hypothesis is supported. They will learn further that a scientific approach requires that the methods be stated clearly so that other sociologists might repeat the study to confirm the results.

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B. Collective Behavior and Social Movements
Materials for this topic include a discussion of emergent forms of social behavior, that is, collective behavior and the mobilization of social groups through social movements. Questions the section addresses include: What are theories of collective behavior? What are some types of collective behavior? What are social movements? Under what conditions may social movements form?