American Myths and Dreams

By Arthur Brooks,2014-08-11 08:14
9 views 0
American Myths and Dreams ...

    Module One

Building Theory

The Role of Theory

    Helps frame discussions and perspectives



Three Macro Theories

    1) Structural Functional Theory (Functionalism)

    ; Society and institutions within society comprise and are made up of

    interdependent parts, which work together and contribute to a functioning society

    ; Systems theory

    ; Interdependence

    ; Part function within the system

2) Conflict Theory

    ; Tension in society because of competing interests from various groups

    3) Symbolic Interactionism (Interactionism)

    ; Focus on individuals’ interactions with each other and how these interactions

    serve to create social structures

    ; Interaction between groups

    ; Exchange Theory

    Theory Level(s) of Analysis Originators Definition

    Conflict Theory Macro Marx, Simmel The struggle for limited

    resources is the driving

    force in society

    Functionalism Macro Comte, Spencer, Society is a system that

    Durkheim seeks to maintain


    Interactionism Micro Cooley, Mead Symbols allow for

    communication, which is

    essential for social


    1 Module One


    ; Methodology is the set of scientific principles that guide research and provide for

    valid assertions (i.e. the approach used in inquiry)

    ; Epistemology is the science of knowing

    ; Paradigms - Thomas Kuhn viewed paradigms as the fundamental points of view

    characterizing science

    ; Theories seek to describe the social world

    Types of Research Design



    ; Control ; Little control ; Numeric ; Natural data Observation ; Inferences ; Descriptive ; Numeric data data

    Important Issues in Social Science Research

    ; Objectivity

    ; Replication

    ; Ethics Obedience

    2 Module One

Types of Studies

1) Descriptive studies

    ; Do not make inferences

    ; Measures of central tendency (3)

    The mean is the average of a set of scores. It is calculated by summing the scores

    and dividing by the number of scores.

    ; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

    ; N = 10

    o = 55

    ; /N = 5.5

    The median is the score in the middle of the distribution or the average of the two

    scores in the middle of the distribution.

    ; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

    ; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5 + 6 = 11 11/2 = 5.5

    The mode is the most frequent score in the set.

    1 2 2 2 3 3 4 5 6 7

2) Relational studies

    ; Test for causal factors and relationships among and between variables

    ; Inferential statistics (see quantitative methods section)

    The Research Process

Choosing a topic

    Literature review

    Formulating research questions and/or hypothesis

    Research design

    Data collection

    Statistical or categorical examination of data

    Writing a paper or article

    3 Module One


    This process ultimately refines a research question into variables. In other words, it moves from a theoretical level to an empirical level. The theoretical level is abstract, unobservable, and immeasurable whereas empiricism relies on concrete, observable, and measurable phenomenon

     What factors influence family



    Time together Family Constructs Choices Functioning


    Quantitative Research Techniques and Terminology

    Quantitative research generally makes use of data (usually ratio) analysis to test for statistically significant relationships or differences among or between groups or treatments.

1) A variable has two or more conditions

    ; Independent variables influence other variables. In an experiment an independent

    variable is sometimes called the manipulated variable.

    ; A dependent variable is not free to vary. That is, another variable causes it.

Levels of Variable Measurement Types of Data

    1. Nominal names or groups with no order (only description)

    2. Ordinal provides for order to the values (i.e. best)

    3. Interval has a common equal value between units (numbers)

    4. Ratio Interval with an absolute zero

    4 Module One

    2) Causation results when one variable produces or causes a change in another

    1. The independent variable must exist before the dependent variable

    2. Change in the independent variable affects the dependent variable

    3. Other possible independent variables must be ruled out

    3) A hypothesis is a formal statement that proposes a relationship/causal factor or lack of relationship or causal factor between two or more variables

    ; Independent Variable has a relationship with or effect on the Dependent Variable

    ; Example Twinky consumption is related to body weight

    4) Validity occurs when the instrument is actually measuring what it is intended to measure

4.1) Internal Validity

    ; History

    ; Maturation

    ; Testing

    ; Mortality

4.2) External Validity

    ; Interface between selection and treatment

    ; Unexpected effects of experimental setting

    ; Multiple treatments

    5) Primary data are collected by the researcher for use in the current study.

    ; Experiments

    ; Survey research seeks to gather data about a population in order to describe or

    make inferences

    ; Mail

    ; Phone

    ; In-person

    ; Internet

    5.1) With secondary data analysis, researchers study data that has already been collected

    ; Census

6) Population and Sampling

    ; Quantitative research is often used to make inferences to a population based on

    research conducted on a sample of subjects from the population.

    ; The population is the entire category of interest, for example all fifth-grade

    teachers in Grays Harbor County

    ; A sample is a specific number of individuals selected from the population. It

    should be random and representative. Its n should be 30 or more as to have a

    normal distribution

    ; With a random sample, each participant has an equal chance of being identified

    5 Module One

    ; In 1936 the Literary Digest poll predicted that Landon would defeat Roosevelt.

    Gallup used random sampling and predicted the correct outcome.

    ; A stratified random sample is broken into categories in order to accurately

    represent the population. If the population consists of 20% women and 80% men,

    the sample would have the same proportions.

    ; With convenience sampling, the researcher uses subjects who are easily


    ; Random Assignment

    ; With a true experiment, the researcher manipulates variables in order to test a

    hypothesis. However, in most social science research, variables are identified and

    studied rather than manipulated.

7) Tests of Significance (Inferential Statistics)

    One key feature of quantitative research and hypothesis testing is testing for

    statistically significant differences among and between groups and treatments. A

    statistically significant difference is a difference among or between groups or

    treatments that is greater than the difference that may be attributed to chance.

    ; T Test

    ; Pearson Correlation



    correlation - +1.0 7






    correlation -1.0 2


     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

    ; ANOVA

    6 Module One

    Qualitative Research Techniques and Terminology

    Qualitative research generally makes use of descriptive data (i.e. nominal) analysis to capture the essence of a social situation or phenomenon. It is done primarily at the micro


Primary qualitative data collection

    ; Focus group

    ; Artifacts

    ; Observation

    ; In nonparticipant observation, the researcher collects data without actually

    participating. But the Hawthorne Effect represents a serious validity


The Five Qualitative Traditions

    ; Biographical life history

    ; Phenominology

    ; Grounded theory

    ; Ethnography

    ; Case study

Sociological Terminology

    1. Norms standard of required or expected behavior

    2. Status position within the social structure

    3. Role behavior expected by a person of particular status

    4. Institution “a system of statuses, roles, groups, and behavioral patterns that

    satisfies a basic human need and is necessary for the survival of the society.”

    5. Maslow

    ; Self-actualization

    ; Esteem

    ; Love and belongingness

    ; Safety

    ; Physiological

    6. A family is a primary group united by marriage, blood, and/or adoption in order to

    satisfy intimacy needs and/or bear and socialize children

    ; The single-parent family one parent

    ; Nuclear family - married mother and father and their biological children

    ; Blended Family

    ; Extended family

    7 Module One

Myths About Family

1) What was the typical American family in the past?

    ; If you think it was composed of happy and healthy children, a wife and mother

    who kept the home, and a husband and father who was the breadwinner, you have

    a mistaken image

    ; Experience

    ; Media

2) People marry because they love each other

    ; Why did you, or will you, get married?

    ; Love

    ; It is not that love is absent when people are considering marriage, but it is a myth

    to believe that love is the only or even the dominant reason that people marry.

    ; Most studies show that marital satisfaction decreases for one or both spouses

    during the child rearing years (Larson 1988)

    3) A good sex life is the best predictor of marital satisfaction

4) Half of all marriages end in divorce

    ; In recent years there has been around one divorce for every two marriages in the

    United States

    ; Divorce rates vary considerably between generations

Changing Patterns of Intimate Relationships

1) Premarital sex

    ; There has always been premarital sex

    ; But the approval of, and proportion of those engaging in, premarital sex has

    increased considerably in recent decades

2) Out-of-wedlock births

3) Living alone

4) Cohabitation

5) Delayed marriage

6) Birth rates

    ; Delaying having their first child until their mid or even late thirties

    ; = Fewer children

    ; Biological clock

7) Household size

    8 Module One

    ; Family size

    ; The average household size in the country has declined

8) Employed mothers

    ; Women have been participating in the economy in growing numbers since the


    ; Employed out of necessity

    ; Others work outside the home because they want a better lifestyle

    ; Others define their jobs or careers as important to their fulfillment

The Family in Utopia

1) Family in utopian ways

    ; Monogamy: marriage to one person

    ; Believe monogamy and family should be abolished

    ; Extreme

    ; Brave New World

    ; Not as extreme

2) Family in utopian communities

    ; Celibacy

    ; The Shakers, the largest and longest lived of all American utopian groups (1774

    to the present), have insisted on strict celibacy, growing by conversions rather

    than procreation

    ; Group marriage: a form of marriage in which each member of a group is married

    to all other opposite sex persons in that group

What Do We Want?

1) Changes in traditional arrangements

    ; How do we define a family?

    ; If we define a traditional family as one that stays intact except for death and is

    composed of an employed father (the breadwinner), a stay-at-home mother (the

    homemaker), and children, then it is clear it is now the choice of a minority of


    ; Sensitized women to the value of employment outside the home

    ; They believe that the family - especially the traditional arrangement - is the heart

    of society and if the family disintegrates so will society

    ; We need to be aware that speculation about the death of the family have been

    with us for centuries

2) In defense of marriage and the family

    ; The tendency for married people to be happier and healthier is long-standing

    ; Why?

    ; People continue to put a high value on marriage and family life

    9 Module One

3) Me or We?

    ; Familism: a value on family living

    ; Values individualism, the well-being of the individual

Differences in the Concept of Family

1) Variations between societies

    ; Polygamy: is the marriage of one person to two or more people of the opposite


    ; Polygyny: is the marriage of a man to two or more wives

    ; Polyandry: is the marriage of a woman to two or more husbands

    ; Although illegal in the United States, a small splinter group of Mormons still

    practices polygyny in accord with their religious beliefs (Altman and Ginat 1996)

    ; Polyamgry

    ; Polygyny has been practiced by more human societies than any other form of


    ; Most preindustrial societies as well as modern Muslim societies allow polygyny

    ; Anthropologists have discovered a wide range of patterns in other societies

2) The Native American family

    ; Patrilineal: descent is traced through the male line

    ; Matrilineal: descent is traced through the female line

3) The interracial family

    1. Homogamy: marriage between two people who are similar in social and

    demographic characteristics

    2. Heterogamy: between people who are dissimilar in social and demographic


The Homosexual Family

    1. Gays

    2. Lesbians

    3. Homosexual marriage

    4. Problems in homosexual families

    5. Homophobia: the irrational fear of homosexuality

    10 Module One

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email