Based on the Introductory Sociology CLEP book by REA, parts 1-3

The definition of sociology The science or discipline that studies societies, social groups, and the relationships between people.
The origins of the word "sociology" Coined by Auguste Comte in 1838, it is a combination of the Latin word "socius" (companion, with others) and the Greek word "logos" (study of).
The humanistic approach/perspective This approach/perspective sees sociology as a means to advance human welfare.
The scientific approach/perspective This approach/perspective is primarily concerned with the acquisition of objective empirical information, and not with how that information can be used.
"The sociological imagination" A term coined by C. Wright Mills. Expresses an understanding that personal troubles can and often do reflect broader social issues, as well as faith in the capacity of humans to alter the course of history.
The stages in the development of a science 1. The theological stage
2. The metaphysical stage
3. The positive stage
The theological stage Scientist look to the supernatural realm of ideas for explanations of what they have observed
The metaphysical stage Scientist look to the real world for explanations of what they have observed
The positive stage Can be defined as "the definitive stage of all knowledge." Scientists search for general ideas or laws.
Deductive theory Proceeds from general ideas, knowledge, or understanding of the social world from which specific hypotheses are deduced and tested.
Inductive theory Proceeds from concrete observations from which general conclusions are drawn through a process of reasoning.
Interpretative sociology Studies the processes whereby humans attach meaning to their lives. Derived from the work of Mead and Blumer.
Conflict theory Views society as being characterized by conflict and inequality.
Functionalism (structural functionalism) Inspired by the writings of Durkheim and Spencer. Society is seen as a complex system whose parts work together for the stability of the whole.
Quantitative research methods Makes use of statistical and other mathematical techniques of quantification in their efforts to describe their observations.
Qualitative research methods Relies on personal observation and description of social life to explain behavior.
Survey method of observation Subjects are asked about various aspects of their lives in a series of questions delivered orally through an interview, on paper, or even electronically.
Independent variable A variable that influences another variable.
Dependent variable A variable that is influenced by another variable.
Correlational relationship A relationship between variables that exists when a change in one variable coincides with, but does not cause a change in another.
Causal relationship A relationship between variables that exists when a change in one variable causes a change in another.
Representative sample A sample that accurately reflects the population it is drawn from.
Random sample A sample that is randomly drawn from a population. Every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected.
Systematic sampling A type of sample in which the nth unit in a list is selected for inclusion in the sample.
Stratified sampling Sampling that uses the differences that already exist in a population, such as gender or age.
Experimental group A group of people on whom an experiment is to be performed.
Control group A group of people very similar to the experimental group, but upon which the experiment has not been performed.
Unobtrusive observation Observation from a distance, without being involved in the group or activity being studied.
Participant observation Observation performed by a researcher who is (or appears to be) a member of the group or a participant in the activity being studied.
Secondary analysis Refers to the analysis of existing sources of information.
sat_flash_1 analysis Refers to the techniques employed to describe the sat_flash_1s of materials.
Hawthorne effect The behavior change in subjects caused by the presence of a researcher.
Stage 1 of research Defining the problem — the questions, issues, or topic one is concerned with.
Stage 2 of research Identifying and reviewing the literature or relevant literature bearing upon the problem.
Stage 3 of research Formulating a hypothesis — a tentative statement about what one expects to observe.
Stage 4 of research Formulating and implementing a plan to test one's hypothesis — the plan for collecting and analyzing information.
stage 5 of research Drawing a conclusion — determining whether or not one's hypothesis is confirmed and presenting the findings in an organized manner.
Socialization The process through which humans learn or are trained to be members of society. A prescriptive term in sociology for the process of being "social."
Primary socialization The initial socialization that a child receives through which he/she becomes a member of society.
Secondary socialization The experience of socialization into new sectors of society by an already socialized person.
Agents of socialization family, school, peer groups, mass media
Family A union that is sanctioned by the state and often by a religious institution such as a church.
School The social unit devoted to providing education. Provides continuity in both cognitive skills and in the indoctrination of values.
Peer groups A primary group whose members are equal in status. Provides continuity in lifestyles.
Mass media Instrumental in making communication with large numbers of people possible. Provides continuity as far as knowledge or public information about the people, events, and changes occurring in society.
Resocialization The process of discarding behavioral practices and adopting new ones as part of a transition in life.
Total institution A carefully controlled environment where persons are confined for a period of time and cut off from the rest of society to allow for the rebuilding of personality and the learning of norms and values of a new, unfamiliar social environment.

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