How We Know What We Know Direct Experience and Observation What happens when it is challenged? How do we observe?

Download How We Know What We Know Direct Experience and Observation What happens when it is challenged? How do we observe?

Post on 03-Jan-2016




1 download

Embed Size (px)


  • How We Know What We KnowDirect Experience and ObservationWhat happens when it is challenged?How do we observe?

  • Looking for RealityTwo CriteriaLogical support - must make senseEmpirical support - must not contradict actual observation

  • Ordinary Human InquiryHumans recognize that future circumstances are caused by present ones.Humans learn that patterns of cause and effect are probabilistic in nature. Causality and ProbabilityScience seeks to be more precise with these concepts

  • Sources of Secondhand KnowledgeBoth provide a starting point for inquiry, but can lead us to start at the wrong point and push us in the wrong direction.Tradition My crazy Uncle EzioAuthority Someone in a suit

  • Inquiry: Errors and SolutionsInaccurate observationsMeasurement devices add precision.OvergeneralizationRepeat a study to make sure the same results are produced each time.

  • Inquiry: Errors and SolutionsSelective observationMake an effort to find cases that do not fit the general pattern.Illogical ReasoningUse systems of logic explicitly.

  • Views of RealityPremodern - Things are as they seem to be.Modern - Acknowledgment of human subjectivity.Postmodern -There is no objective reality to be observed.

  • Foundations of Social ScienceTheory - logicData collection - observationData Analysis - the comparison of what is logically expected with what is actually observed.

  • AggregatesThe collective actions and situations of many individuals.Focus of social science is to explain why aggregated patterns of behavior are regular even when individuals change over time.

  • Education and Racial Prejudice

  • VariablesDependent Variable: Its value is explained by other variablesParty ID, Vote ChoiceIndependent Variable: Its values explain the value and direction of other variableRace, Religion, Income

  • Approaches to Social ResearchIdiographic -Seeks to fully understand the causes of what happened in a single instance.NomotheticSeeks to explain a class of situations or events rather than a single one.

  • Approaches to Social ResearchInduction From specific observations to the discovery of a pattern among all the given events.Deduction - From a pattern that might be logically expected to observations that test whether the pattern occurs.

  • Approaches to Social ResearchQualitative Data Nonnumerical data.Quantitative Data -Numerical data. Makes observations more explicit and makes it easier to aggregate, compare, and summarize data.

  • Approaches to Social ResearchPure Research - Sometimes justified in terms of gaining knowledge for knowledges sake.Applied Research Putting research into practice.