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Exam 1 - Sociology
terms for first exam
24
Sociology
09/29/2008

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Term
Social Facts
Definition
patterned ways of acting, thinking, and feeling that exist outside any one individual but that exert social control over each person.
Term
anomie
Definition
a condition in which social control becomes ineffective as a result of the loss of shared values and of a sense of purpose in society
Term
Auguste Comte
Definition
referred to as the "father of sociology;" took his background in studying physics and mathematics and applied it to studying social physics. Associated with Positive philosophy (positivism). Stressed that the methods of the natural sciences should be applied to the objective study of society.
Term
positivism
Definition
a belief that the world can best be understood through scientific inquiry. (2 dimensions: methodological (application of scientific knowledge to both physical and social phenomena) and social/political (use of such knowledge to predict the likely results of different policies so that the best one could be chosen))
Term
social Darwinism
Definition
the belief that those species of animals, including human beings, best adapted to their environment survive and prosper, whereas those poorly adapted die out.
Term
functionalist perspectives
Definition
perspectives based on the assumption that society is a stable, orderly system
(Macrolevel - Society is composed of interrelated parts that work together to maintain stability within society. This stability is threatened by dysfuntional acts and institutions.)
Term
Conflict perspectives
Definition
perspective that groups in society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources. (Macroleve - Society is characerized by social inequality; social life is a struggle for scarce resources. Social arrangements benefit some groups at the expense of others.)
Term
Macro (macrolevel analysis)
Definition
examines whole societies, large-scale social structures, and social systems (rather than individual lives)- Conflict and Functionalist perspectives have been criticized for focusing primarily on this...
Term
Micro (microlevel analysis)
Definition
Interactionist approaches are based on this and focus on small groups rather than large-scale social structures.
Term
symbolic interactionist perspectives
Definition
According to this perspective, society is the sum of the interactions of individuals and groups. Origins of this perspective can be traced back to the Chicago School. (Microlevel - Society is the sum of the interactions of people and groups. Behaviour is learned in interaction w/other people; how people define a situation becomes the foundation for how they behave.)
Term
Postmodern perspectives
Definition
According to this perspective, existing theories have been unsuccessful in explaining social life in contemporary societies that are characterized by postindustrialization, consumerism, and global communications.
Term
quantitative research
Definition
the goal is scientific objectivity, and the focus is on data that can be measured numerically.
Term
qualitative research
Definition
interpretive descriptions (words) rather than statistics (numbers) are used to analyze underlying meanings and patterns of social relationships.
Term
hypothesis
Definition
statement of the expected relationship between two or more variables.
Term
independent variable
Definition
presumed to be the cause of the relationship
Term
dependent variable
Definition
assumed to be caused by the independent variable (this variable depends on...)
Term
variable
Definition
any concept with measurable traits or characteristics that can change or vary from one person, time, situation, or society to another.
Term
validity
Definition
the extent to which a study of research instrument accurately measures what it is supposed to measure
Term
reliability
Definition
the extent to which a study or research instrument yields consistent results when applied to different individuals at one time or to the same individuals over time.
Term
Analysis
Definition
the process through which data are organized so that comparisons can be made and conclusions drawn.
Term
Research methods
Definition
specific strategies or techniques for systematically conducting research
Term
survey
Definition
a poll in which the researcher gathers facts or attempts to determine the relationships among facts
Term
questionnaire
Definition
printed research instrument containing a series of items to which subjects repond
Term
interview
Definition
data-collection encounter in which an interviewer asks the respondent questions and records the answers