2

The Foundations
of Social Research 



Outline


Examples and Illustrations


Links


Least You Should Know



Food for Thought

Use race and gender to illustrate difference between dichotomous and continuous
variables. Be sure to mention both issues of measurement and theory.

Consider the Rossi article on child naming. What was the unit of analysis?
What were the conceptual variables and how were they operationalized?

What is the "educational model" of social change? Why does the author bring
it up?

Explain how confusing dependent and independent variables leads to a misinterpretation
of Oscar Lewisâ€™ concept "culture of poverty."

Evaluate Mazurâ€™s method of combining the ratings his subjects gave to the
wedding portraits (low, medium, high) by converting them to scores (1,
0, +1) and averaging them. Keeping levels of measurement in mind, what
objections might you have to this approach?

Why is it important to carefully construct operational definitions and
stick with them while observing and measuring? Apply this to our data collection
exercise for the class.

Consider the operational definitions offered on p. 29. Propose an
operational definition of "feminist identity" that would permit you to
rate individuals in terms of how feminist their identities are.


Concepts, terms, vocabulary
variable (20)
dimension (20)
unidimensional (20)
multidimensional (20)
dichotomous variable (20)
dependent variable (23)
independent variable (23)
indicator (24)
concept (24) 
SES (25)
operationalize (25ff)
levels of measurement (33)
nominal variables (33)
ordinal variables (334)
interval variables (34)
ratio variables (345)
quantitative (33)
qualitative (33) 
unit of analysis (35ff)
ecological fallacy (37)
validity (38)
reliability (38)
precision (39)
accuracy (39)
face validity (40)
criterion validity (41)
nonspuriousness (45) 


M
i l l s H o m e P a g e
* M i l l s
S o c i o l o g y * S
O C 9 1 * D
a n R y a n

