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Formulate a hypothesis

A hypothesis    is an assumption about how two or more variables are related; it makes a conjectural statement about the relationship between those variables. In sociology, the hypothesis will often predict how one form of human behavior influences another. In research, independent variables    are the cause of the change. The dependent variable is the effect , or thing that is changed.

For example, in a basic study, the researcher would establish one form of human behavior as the independent variable and observe the influence it has on a dependent variable. How does gender (the independent variable) affect rate of income (the dependent variable)? How does one’s religion (the independent variable) affect family size (the dependent variable)? How is social class (the dependent variable) affected by level of education (the independent variable)?

Typically, the independent variable causes the dependent variable to change in some way.
Examples of dependent and independent variables
Hypothesis Independent Variable Dependent Variable
The greater the availability of affordable housing, the lower the homeless rate. Affordable Housing Homeless Rate
The greater the availability of math tutoring, the higher the math grades. Math Tutoring Math Grades
The greater the police patrol presence, the safer the neighborhood. Police Patrol Presence Safer Neighborhood
The greater the factory lighting, the higher the productivity. Factory Lighting Productivity
The greater the amount of observation, the higher the public awareness. Observation Public Awareness

At this point, a researcher’s operational definitions help measure the variables. In a study asking how tutoring improves grades, for instance, one researcher might define a “good” grade as a C or better, while another uses a B+ as a starting point for “good.” Another operational definition might describe “tutoring” as “one-on-one assistance by an expert in the field, hired by an educational institution.” Those definitions set limits and establish cut-off points that ensure consistency and replicability in a study.

As the table shows, an independent variable is the one that causes a dependent variable to change. For example, a researcher might hypothesize that teaching children proper hygiene (the independent variable) will boost their sense of self-esteem (the dependent variable). Or rephrased, a child’s sense of self-esteem depends, in part, on the quality and availability of hygienic resources.

Of course, this hypothesis can also work the other way around. Perhaps a sociologist believes that increasing a child’s sense of self-esteem (the independent variable) will automatically increase or improve habits of hygiene (now the dependent variable). Identifying the independent and dependent variables is very important. As the hygiene example shows, simply identifying two topics, or variables, is not enough; their prospective relationship must be part of the hypothesis.

Just because a sociologist forms an educated prediction of a study’s outcome doesn’t mean data contradicting the hypothesis aren’t welcome. Sociologists analyze general patterns in response to a study, but they are equally interested in exceptions to patterns. In a study of education, a researcher might predict that high school dropouts have a hard time finding rewarding careers. While it has become at least a cultural assumption that the higher the education, the higher the salary and degree of career happiness, there are certainly exceptions. People with little education have had stunning careers, and people with advanced degrees have had trouble finding work. A sociologist prepares a hypothesis knowing that results will vary.

Once the preliminary work is done, it’s time for the next research steps: designing and conducting a study and drawing conclusions. These research methods are discussed below.

Interpretive framework

While many sociologists rely on the scientific method as a research approach, others operate from an interpretive framework    . While systematic, this approach doesn’t follow the hypothesis-testing model that seeks to find generalizable results. Instead, an interpretive framework , sometimes referred to as an interpretive perspective, seeks to understand social worlds from the point of view of participants, which leads to in-depth knowledge.

Interpretive research is generally more descriptive or narrative in its findings. Rather than formulating a hypothesis and method for testing it, an interpretive researcher will develop approaches to explore the topic at hand that may involve a significant amount of direct observation or interaction with subjects. This type of researcher also learns as he or she proceeds and sometimes adjusts the research methods or processes midway to optimize findings as they evolve.

Summary

Using the scientific method, a researcher conducts a study in five phases: asking a question, researching existing sources, formulating a hypothesis, conducting a study, and drawing conclusions. The scientific method is useful in that it provides a clear method of organizing a study. Some sociologists conduct research through an interpretive framework rather than employing the scientific method.

Scientific sociological studies often observe relationships between variables. Researchers study how one variable changes another. Prior to conducting a study, researchers are careful to apply operational definitions to their terms and to establish dependent and independent variables.

Short answer

Write down the first three steps of the scientific method. Think of a broad topic that you are interested in and which would make a good sociological study—for example, ethnic diversity in a college, homecoming rituals, athletic scholarships, or teen driving. Now, take that topic through the first steps of the process. For each step, write a few sentences or a paragraph: 1) Ask a question about the topic. 2) Do some research and write down the titles of some articles or books you’d want to read about the topic. 3) Formulate a hypothesis.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Further research

For a historical perspective on the scientific method in sociology, read “The Elements of Scientific Method in Sociology” by F. Stuart Chapin (1914) in the American Journal of Sociology : (External Link)

References

Arkowitz, Hal, and Scott O. Lilienfeld. 2009. "Lunacy and the Full Moon: Does a full moon really trigger strange behavior?" Scientific American. Retrieved October 20, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Berger, Peter L. 1963. Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective . New York: Anchor Books.

Merton, Robert. 1968 [1949]. Social Theory and Social Structure . New York: Free Press.

“Scientific Method Lab,” the University of Utah, (External Link) .

Questions & Answers

agree , people often think of street crime
Anastasia Reply
absolutely right
Ritu
may be they think only what they want to think or see..
Ritu
use value of commondity
Ritu Reply
how many types of concepts
Ritu Reply
who is the founder of sociology
Yasir Reply
why we study sociology?
Chu Reply
there is a lot of reason that's why we study sociology ... there is no one specific reason I think it's enough to know why youstudy .. I think your question is subjective .
Ritu
I believe that there is no need to tell a sociology student that why do we have to study sociology .. try to understand my point of view look .. if i give you answer of your question that will be subjective .. if you want a general reason so you can read a in books ..
Ritu
l lMillions of books are full of it ..with due respect I am suggesting you to find reason to yourself .. it will give you a better answer than us ..
Ritu
I have thousands of answers to your question but I believe If you try to know by yourself, it will be helpful to know about why we study sociology ..Sociology is not such a subject that we have told something about it and everything has become clear .. No it is not .. Sociology is very different
Ritu
you have to realize ..in short your is easy but no easy as it looks I can give you ans .but if you find by yourself So by doing this you will not forget that life time
Ritu
as we know Some questions look as objective as the outside, and they are absolutely subjective from the inside. I am telling you this in such a detail so that you can do the study yourself.I hope you understand and have not misinterpreted my words
Ritu
for self-development
Anastasia
what is law of trade
Ritu Reply
exchange of value
Sourabh
please could you explain it
Ritu
seller has value for money and buyer has a value for the product he wants hence the basic law of trade is exchange of value now the value accorded to an object can be subjective, but in modern capitalist society, the social and economical institutions have a monopoly of defining value
Sourabh
ok ok
Ritu
what is difference between factor and cause
Ritu Reply
cause is responsible for initiating a phenomena while factor is just one aspect of it. eg: If you want to find the cause of any phenomena, you will find it at the end of your research. But factors will be found during the process of determining the cause and can aid in it.
Sourabh
hmmm good job .and good observation
Ritu
what are the types of sociology
Jerry Reply
There are Two types of sociology. Namely 1) Qualitative sociology 2) Quantitative Sociology.
Syed
But there are sociological trends and theories which came into light over the period of time
Ashish
types can be classified on basis of methodology (qualitative, quantitative, interpretative) on basis of subject matter (sociology of crime, law etc) on basis of perspectives (conflict, structural-functionalist) also historical classification like modernism, post modernism etc.
Sourabh
Hey
Muhammad
every one hear
Muhammad
They are two types of sociology; 1, Basic (pure) sociology and 2,Apply sociology.
Mohamed
p lease if all of you don't mind .. could share your nationalities... may this helpfull in understanding about our culture ..
Ritu Reply
..
Ritu
Indian
Sourabh
may this platform can give us cultural and other relevant knowledge about our societies if we share
Ritu
may this platform can give usefull and relevant knowledge about our socities and cutures
Ritu
what is an approaches bro
Muhammad
what?
Ritu
Nigerian
Amoo
well done 👍 share guys
Ritu
don't worry there is no harm to share about nationalities
Ritu
Indian
SHIVAM
thanks 😊
Ritu
for sharing nationality
Ritu
😁
Amoo
oops I did not even tell about myself .I am fully indian
Ritu
Is that all?
Ritu
the different kind of term for collective behavior is a. groip with same thinking
LISA Reply
plz answer,The grades in various subjects of a student are given below .Testat 5%level of significance that there is sognificant difference ib grades.Mathematics= 72,80,83,75.Statistics=81,74,77,88.English=82,90,87,80.Research=74,71,77,70.
Asma
"same thinking" seems a bit too structured for collective behaviour which is spontaneous and unstructured.
Sourabh
crowd,social moments,moral panic,riots ,disaster,mobs,riots,mass hysteria ,fads and crazes are some kind of collective behaviour
Ritu
one example of collective behaviour like we sing national anthem
Ritu
Ritu verma you are right
Amoo
could all of you share about in which nationality you belong
Ritu Reply
please don't take it other way I am asking bcz it will be good for all to know about nationality since we connected due to this group ... And how many countries have this app spread, how many countries have people connected
Ritu
India
Himanshu
ok
Ritu
Where can find the exam past paper and exercises of sociology?
Sammi Reply
you may search in you tube ... there are some question papers available ..
Ritu
in the city of Pakistan
Abid
🙄🙄
Abid
😥😥😥
Abid
is there. no you tube
Ritu
pls what's today's discussion all about?
Ojewande Reply
every one can start any relevant topic on sociology... bcz every question is imp about society
Ritu
explain the term subculture
Peter
identify and explain four types of subculture in the school
Peter
explain why the status of the teacher is important in schools
Peter
explain the meaning of social stratification
Peter
a subculture is just what is sound like a smaller culture group within a larger culture; people of a subculture are a part of the larger culture but also share a specific identity with in a small group
Ritu
thousands of subculture exits within united state ethnic and racial share language,food and costume of Thier heritage
Ritu
social stratification means .. Differentiation of posts is the main belief of social stratification. Social norms are taught through social stratification.
Ritu
In social stratification, the relationship with different situations becomes part of the social system. In a stratified society, inequality is found in people.According to which some people are considered higher or lower than others
Ritu
respected sir u r asking about why a status of teacher is imp I'm schools.. sir Without a teacher, there cannot be a school. Even a society cannot imagine ... Ancient Time Selekar has changed the nature of the teacher so far. Values ​​did not decrease ..
Ritu
teachers are very important for make a future of students .. everyone comes in this world with some special power ... but He is a teacher who makes a student release his internal power ..
Ritu
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has told in one of his autobiography 'The Power of Prayer' that .." we came with a Divine Fire in Us."That Divine Fire cannot be achieved without teacher's help.
Ritu
what's is difference between premonition and foreknowledge
Ritu Reply
hello
suraj
g
Aimal
?
Ritu
difference between prescience and premonition is that prescience is knowledge of events before they take place; foresight; foreknowledge while premonition is a clairvoyant or clairaudient experience, such as a dream, which resonates with so
Aimal
hi
APARNA
in short foreknowledge is the knowledge of something before it's happened .and premonition a knowledgeof something is going to happen specially unpleasant
Ritu
..
Ritu
Hey bro
Muhammad
Who is the father of modern sociology
Shah Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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