Allyn & Bacon 2003 Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, 5e This multimedia product and its contents are protected.
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Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Chapter 3: Theory and Research What is theory? How is theory similar to ideology? How is theory different from ideology? What are the parts of theory? How do facts differ from theory? What are the major theories in social science? How does theory relate to research? What is the role of diversity in theory?
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 What is Theory? Theory is a system of interconnected abstractions or ideas that condense and organize knowledge about the social world. Theories should be parsimonious (simple), internally consistent, and have clear criteria for their refutation.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 How is theory similar to ideology? Both theory and ideology contain basic assumptions. Both explain matters as well as how, and/or why things change. They both offer a system of concepts. Both tell what circumstance causes what effect. Both of them provide an interconnected system of ideas.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 How is theory different from ideology? Ideologies are absolute while theories are conditional. Ideologies have all the answers, but theories are incomplete. Ideologies are fixed, closed, and finished; theories are growing, open, and able to expand. Ideologies avoid tests while theories welcome tests.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 What are the parts of theory? Concepts are ideas expressed as symbols or in words having two parts: a word or term and a definition of that word or term. Concepts vary from concrete to abstract. Concepts cluster together, forming a web of meaning for a theory, such as Weber’s theory of bureaucracy.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Parts of Theory continued… Some concepts form classifications, helping to organize complex relationships. One form of classification is a typology or taxonomy in which two or more concepts are combined.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Merton’s Modes of Individual Adaptation (see table 3.1 in the text) Response to Societal Goals Response to Institutional Means AcceptRejectSubstitute New Accept ConformityRitualism Reject InnovationRetreatism Substitute New Revolution
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Theory continued… Theories specify how concepts are related to one another and why these relationships exist. Sometimes theories specify a causal relationship, telling us why and how one thing or event causes another, i.e. increases in the size of organizations leads to increases in centralization.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Theories can be categorized by: The direction of reasoning that can be either deductive or inductive. The level of reality explained, whether it is micro (small), meso (mid level), or macro (very large). Whether the focus is formal or substantive.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 FORMS OF EXPLANATION 1. Prediction vs. Explanation 2. Causal Explanation 3. Structural Explanation 4. Interpretive Explanation
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Forms of Explanation, Continued 2. Causal Explanations, continued Three elements of causality: The cause precedes the effect in time. There is an empirical relationship or pattern (association) Rival explanations have been ruled out, and no longer apply.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Forms of Explanation, Continued 2. Causal Explanations, continued See figure 3.4, page 59
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Forms of Explanation, continued 3. Structural – used with functional and pattern theories, a researcher applies a set of interconnected assumptions and concepts. Functional theorists use structural explanation to account for an event by locating it within a larger, ongoing, balanced social system. 4. Interpretive – used to foster understanding by discovering the meaning of an event of practice by placing it within a social context.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Major Theoretical Frameworks in Sociology MACRO –Structural Functionalism – society is a system of interdependent parts in equilibrium and the parts fulfill different needs and functions. Consensus holds society together. –Conflict Theory – society consists of groups with opposing interests and attempts to gain power are ever present. Those in power spread myths or use the authority of the state or even violence to maintain control.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Major Theoretical Frameworks continued… MICRO –Symbolic Interactionism – people transmit and receive symbolic communication when they interact and create perceptions for themselves and others. –Exchange Theory – human interactions are similar to economic ones, people give and receive resources to maximize their rewards and avoid pain.
Copyright @ Allyn & Bacon 2003 Theory and Research Theory frames how we look and think about a topic. Theory provides background assumptions. Theory is open to revision by new data. Theory suggests ways to connect a single study to a broad class of explanations.