SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY II MIDTERM EXAM
Instructions: For this exam, you are going to stretch your knowledge and critical thinking abilities. You are going to find ONE article of your choosing from the open-access journal Sociological Science – a list of articles begins HERE. (Be sure to look carefully through all of the articles. There are 4 pages of listed articles.) Once you have selected the article, you are going to read, reread, and closely study this article until you have internalized and fully understand it. 50 percent of your grade will be based on a written review, addressing the questions provided below; the other 50 percent of your grade will be based on an oral presentation in class on Thursday, and your ability to explain to the class your journal article and to answer questions about it.
Written Questions (50pts total)
1. Citation – on the first page of the article in the abstract box, there will be a “citation” section. Copy and paste the citation here. Also copy the URL beneath the citation.
2. Abstract- copy and paste the abstract here.
3. Explain in your own words the major findings of this article.
4. Literature Review – the first part of any paper involves a literature review. Explain in a few paragraphs the primary 2-3 (or more) findings of previous researchers reviewed in your article. (This should take at least a page!)
5. Definitions: You should look up any terms or words that you do not understand, but central concepts in any study are almost always defined explicitly. Provide a list of 4 or 5 terms and their definitions that are defined explicitly in the first part of the article.
6. Provide two specific citations that are cited in the lit. review portion of the article, and explain their primary findings.
7. What is the lacuna in the research that is being addressed (what is novel in this study)?
8. What empirical methods are used in this study? (Note: In Sociological Science, all of the articles utilize empirical methods). Explain in a few paragraphs the following:
a. The Hypothesis or hypotheses being tested/evaluated
b. What are the main dependent variables in the study?
c. What are the main independent variables in the study?
d. Explain why you think the study is or isn’t valid – i.e. whether the methods actually test what they claim to be testing.
e. How are these hypotheses tested? Specifically, what models/methods/studies are used to answer their primary research question? (This should take at least a page!)
f. Are any statistical methods used? If so, what are they called? Look these up and be able to provide a rough/summary explanation of what they mean in your oral presentation.
9. What are the primary results/findings of these methods?
a. How do they interpret their findings? Do they support their hypothesis- (or alternately, which theory or ‘model’ do the data support, in their view?)
b. Do you agree with their interpretation of their findings? Might they be interpreted differently?
c. In your view, do the authors merely describe something about the social world, or do you think that they also explain – i.e. identify a causal mechanism which generates the phenomena they observe?
d. Are there any inconsistent or anomalous results?
a. State any reservations that the authors may have; how confident are they regarding the study? Were there any limitations of the study?
b. What conclusions do the authors draw from their study?
c. What explains the results of their study? Do you think their explanation is sufficient/accurate? (Alternatively, what causes the recorded results?)
11. Evaluation/Criticism: Are there any specific criticisms that you can think of about the research article? Can you think of any further research that might help to confirm or disconfirm their findings?
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