Delta State University
Sociology 101
Spring Semester 2004

Study Questions
Week 5

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(1) What is a variable?  What are the important characteristics of a variable?  Provide examples of social variables.

(2)  What is a hypothesis?  How are hypotheses usually stated?  How are they usually written?  How do hypotheses relate to variables? 

(3)  What is the difference between an independent and a dependent variable?  What is meant by cause and effect?  Which variables posit a cause and which posit an effect?

(4)  What do scientists mean by the term relationship?  Distinguish between a positive and a negative relationship?

(5)  Why do scientists use tables and figures?  How should you go about interpreting and understanding data presented in a table or figure?

(6)  What is a social fact?  How do these differ from other types of facts?

(7)  On page 6, Durkheim asserts that social facts are “endowed with coercive power,” and thus place constraints on the actions of an individual; yet, the constraint is not felt if one conforms to facts, rather, it is felt if one resists.  What does Durkheim mean by this?  Can you think of an example that illustrates this insight?

(8)  What does Durkheim mean by social currents?  How do these differ from social facts?  How do they confirm the existence of social facts?

(9)  What is a theory?  What are the functions of a theory?  What is the relationship between theories and hypotheses?  Between theories and variables?

(10)  Distinguish macrotheory and microtheory.  What are some of the important topics in various macrotheories?

(11)  What do social scientists mean by rational?  What do they mean by objective?  Is science always rational and objective?  Explain.