The Nature of Social Research
•Social scientists attempt to explain and predict human behavior –Social scientists uses scientific methods to study the social world: human behaviors & interactions –Variables: characteristics that differ or vary from one individual to another or from one point in time to another •Ex. Age, social class, and attitude or unemployment, crime rate and population –Constants: characteristics that do not vary
•Ex. The gender of the person who gave birth to you is female. Thus, in any group of individuals, gender of mother is the constants ‘female’ and does not change –Unit of observation- what are we measuring?
•Measuring the individual & comparing individuals
–Aggregates – how measures vary across entire collections of people –Hypotheses- usually a statement about the relationship between two or more variables •Independent variable- presumed cause; causing a change in the other •Dependent variable- presumed effect; being influence, affected or changed •Ex. Education vs. income; the better the education(independent variable) the greater the income (dependent variable) Why Test Hypotheses?
•Common sense vs. social science research
–Common sense: observation are generally based on narrow, often biased preconceptions & personal experiences; can be misled by assumptions & stereotypes –Social science research: scientific collection & analysis of data; based on empirical data because we are collecting data and doing research •Ex. Mass Murderers
•Popular thinking (medial portrayals)- mass murders are insane, individuals who go berserk or running crazily, expression their anger & showing aggression; total strangers to their victims; wrong place, wrong time such as shopping mall, trains, fast food restaurant •FBI reports: according to reports; mass murderers are not crazy, plan their attacks & murders; targets spouse & all their children, or bosses and their...