Chapter 2

  1. Social Research Question
    A question about the social world that is answered through the collection and analysis of firsthand, verifiable, empirical data.
  2. Theory
    A logically interrelated set of propositions about empirical reality.
  3. Rational Choice Theory
    A social theory that explains individual action with the principle that actors choose actions that maximize their gains from taking that action.
  4. Conflict Theory
    Identifies conflict between social groups as the primary force in society. Understanding the bases and consequences of the conflict is key to understanding social processes.
  5. Symbolic Interaction Theory
    Focuses on the symbolic nature of social interaction -- how social interaction conveys meaning and promotes socialization.
  6. Research Circle
    A diagram of the elements of the research process, including theories, hypotheses, data collection, and data analysis.
  7. Deductive Research
    The type of research in which a specific expectation is decuded from a general premise and is then tested.
  8. Hypothesis
    A tentative statement about empirical reality, involving a relationship between two or more variables.

    Example: The higher the poverty rate in a community, the higher the percentage of community residents who are homeless.
  9. Variable
    A characteristic or property that can vary (take on different values or attributes).

    Example: The degree of honesty in verbal statements.
  10. Independent Variable
    A variable that is hypothesized to cause, or lead to, variation in another variable.

    Example: Poverty rate.
  11. Dependent Variable
    A variable that is hypothesized to vary depending on, or under the influence of, another variable.

    Example: Percentage of community residents who are homeless.
  12. Direction of Association
    A pattern in a relationship between two variables -- the values of variables tend to change consistently in relation to change on the other variable. The direction of association can be either positive or negative.
  13. Empirical Generalization
    A statement that describes patterns found in data.
  14. Replications
    Repetitions of a study using the same research methods to answer the same research question.
  15. Inductive Research
    The type of research in which general conclusions are drawn from specific data.
  16. Serendipitous or Anomalous Findings
    Unexpected patterns in data, which stimulate new ideas or theoretical approaches. Also known as anomalous findings.
  17. Validity
    The state that exists when statements or conclusions about empirical reality are correct.
  18. Measurement Validity
    Exists when a measure measures what we think it measures.
  19. Generalizability
    Exists when a conclusion holds true for the population, group, setting, or event that we say it does, given the conditions that we specify.
  20. Casual Validity (Internal Validity)
    Exists when a conclusion that A leads to or results in B is correct.
  21. Authenticity
    When the understanding of a social process or social setting is one that reflects fairly the various perspectives of participants in that setting.
  22. Sample Generalizability
    Exists when a conclusion based on a sample, or subset, of a larger population holds true for that population.
  23. Cross-Population Generalizability (External Validity)
    Exists when findings about one group, population, or setting hold true for other groups, populations, or settings.
  24. Institutional Review Board (IRB)
    A group of organizational and community representatives required by federal law to review the ethical issues in all proposed research that is federally funded, involves human subjects, or has any potential for harm to subjects.
Card Set
Chapter 2
Investigating the Social World - Ch. 2 Key Terms