Social Research Glossary

This is a social research glossary focusing on research methodology, including methods, epistemology and theoretical conceptsEach item is listed below with a core definition synthesised from various sources.
For a full analytic review including context, associated issues, related terms and sources click on the underlined term in the alphabetical listing below.
Links are provided to external social research sites but not on-line dictionaries, wikis etc.

Professor Lee Harvey, Quality Research International, January 2012.
This is a dynamic glossary that continues to grow and update. The author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for amendments or additions. Some entries may be deadends temporarily.

The information in this Glossary may be used and circulated without permission provided the source and copyright is acknowledged.
Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2011, Social Resarch Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/glossary/
Page updated 4 March, 2014 16:00 . copyright Lee Harvey, 2012

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A

Absolutism: the thesis that there are absolute truths (see also Materialism: absolutism)

Abstract expressionism: Abstract expressionism refers to post-WW2 American non-geometric abstract art mainly based in New York.

Abstracted empiricism: Abstracted empiricism refers to a style of quantitative sociology that attempts to explain the interrelationship between sociological variables using multivariate analysis.

Abstraction: Abstraction is usually construed as distillation of sensory perception of the world of objects into conceptual categories.

Access: Access refers to entry to a research field and reasonable freedom of action within it.

Accuracy: Accuracy is how close a measured value is to the 'real', 'true' or 'actual' value.

Action: see social action.

Action research: Action research involves planned intervention in some social process accompanied by an evaluation of the effects of this intervention.

Action theory: Action theory refers to an approach to sociology that regards meaningful social action as the basis of sociological enquiry.

Aestheticism: Aestheticism is the view that art is autonomous, should serve no other purpose and should not be judged by non-aesthetic standards.

Aesthetics: Aesthetics refers to the theoretical analysis of the form, expression and symbolism in works of art.

Alienation: Alienation refers to the process by which a social being is disengaged from the social processes or structures that constitute that person's milieu.

Althusser, Louis: Louis Pierre Althusser (1918–1990) was a French Marxist philosopher who developed Marxist structuralism.

Analysis: Analysis is the resolution of a thesis into its component concepts and interrelationships in order to reveal the nature and structure of the thesis (or argument) being proposed.

Analysis of variance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests whether there are significant differences between several means or correlation coefficients.

Analytic induction: Analytic induction involves the systematic search for falsifying evidence by examining cases that differ in known ways, and the modification of theory until no further disconfirming evidence can be found.

Analytic propositions: Analytic propositions are true by definition or are logically true, such as mathematical theorems.

Anarchy: Anarchy is a perspective that ultimately denies the necessity for leadership and structured government.

Animism: Animism is the view that everything in the universe has some kind of psychological being somewhat similar to humans (and other animals).

Anomie: Anomie refers to a social situation characterised by an absence of social norms or one where the norms are unclear, conflicting or unintegrated.

Anthropology: Anthropology is the study of one society by researchers from another, usually more technologically developed, society.

Apodictic: An apodictic (or apodeictic) proposition is one that asserts that something is necessarily the case or that something is impossible.

Apriorism: Apriorism is a philosophical position that contends that the mind has innate ideas and that it is possible to have knowledge independent of experience.

Archive research: Archive research refers to the process of analysing material in an archive in order, usually, to develop an historical thesis.

Art: Art refers to any skillful practice although it tends to refer to the production of imaginative cultural outputs.

Art criticism: Art criticism is the practice of using aesthetic criteria to analyse works of art.

Art education: Art education includes a range of activities including the education of professional and amateur painters and sculptures, industrial designers, and the education of children.

Art history: Art history is a term that usually refers to the study of the history of art, which traditionally has included architecture, painting, sculpture and the applied arts.

Art market: The art market is a nebulous conglomeration of institutions (galleries, auction houses) that are involved in the buying, selling and commissioning of paintings.

Art nouveau: Art nouveau is a term in art criticism and art history that refers to a decorative style that spread from London over much of Europe in the period 1880–1914.

Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence is the name given to the interdisciplinary study designed to make machines do things which would require intelligence if done by humans.

Arts and crafts movement: The arts and crafts movement was an English aesthetic and social movement in the second half of the 19th century.

Association: Association is a general term applied when there appears to be some kind of connection between two concepts when expressed as operationalised variables and measured.

Associationism: Associationism is a classical approach found in psychology (in Britain) that takes association to be the fundamental principle of mental processes.

Attitude: An attitude is a tendency to perceive, feel or behave towards people or events in a particular manner.

Attitude measurement: An attitude measurement survey is a study, on a properly drawn sample, of a specified population to find out what people in that population feel about a specified issue.

Attribute: In general an attribute is a variable that can take only certain fixed values: sometimes known as a discrete variable.

Auteur theory: Auteur theory is a term used in film studies to refer to the view that a single individual, usually the director, has the creative responsibility for the film.

Authentic: Authentic means something that is genuine or that represents the essence of an idea.

Avant garde: Avant garde is the advance force, originally a military term it has a cultural meaning referring to innovators in art and other cultural production, usually creating products that are on the edge of contemporary omprehension.

Average: Averages are measures of central tendency and, as such, they provide a way to summarise data which gives an indication of the ‘centre’ of a set of data.

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 B

Base: see infrastructure.

Becker, Howard: Under construction.

Behaviourism: Behaviourism is a particular approach to psychology that emphasises the stimulus and response explanation of observable animal (especially human) activity.

Being: Being is a state of existence.

Belief: Belief is the acceptance of a proposition as true irrespective of the adequacy or even existence of evidence.

Bias: Bias refers to distortion, one-sidedness, partisanship or any other process of (systematic) misrepresentation.

Biologism: Biologism is a perspective that posits social differences and inequalities as determined by innate biological factors.

Binary: Binary refers to a base-two number system.

Black art: Black art refers to works of art based on the concept of a black aesthetic and often linked to anti-racist political and cultural values.

Black perspectives: Black perspectives are the approaches to social analysis that derive from the experiences of oppression of non-white racial groups. TO BE COMPLETED

Blumer, Herbert: Herbert George Blumer (1900–1987) was an American sociologist who was one of the main architects of symbolic interactionism.

Boolean algebra: Boolean algebra is a mathematical analysis of logic invented by George Boole, an English mathemtaician, in the 19th century.

Bracketing: see epoché.

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C

Capitalism: Capitalism is an economic and social system in which private capital or wealth is used in the production and distribution of goods.

Cartesian metaphysics: see rationalism

Case study: A case study is an intensive investigation of one particular individual, group, organization, community, or setting.

Cause: A cause in social research is the identified construct (variable, event) that brings about a subsequent outcome (usually referred to as the effect).

Census: A census is a social survey of the total population of a given area that collects basic social data about the members of that population.

Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies: The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham was the first and best-known cultural studies research centre in the United Kingdom.

Centre for Mass Communications Research: Under construction

Chicago School (of Sociology): Chicago School of Sociology was one of the first two departments of sociology in the United States and subsequently acheived widespread recognition for its pioneering and innovative approaches to the discipline.

Cinema: Under construction.

Citation analysis: Citation analysis is a technique used in the sociology and philosophy of science as a means of identifying communicating networks of scientists.

Class: Under construction

Class consciousness: Class consciousness is the political world view or Weltanschauung of a social class.

Closure: Closure is a term used in media analysis, including film studies, to indicate restriction on the range of meanings potentially available from a text.

Cluster analysis: Cluster analysis is a multivariate analysis technique used to identify one or more sub-groups (or clusters) of items from a large pool of items that have been included in the analysis.

Code: A code in social research is usually the alphanumeric representation of an answer recorded on a questionnaire or interview schedule or a post hoc categorisation of a piece of qualitative data.

Cohort study: A cohort study is a longitudinal study that follows a cohort of subjects over a fairly long period of time to watch how they develop in different social settings.

Collective representation: Collective representation is a term used in Durkheimian analysis to refer to institutions and structural forms like church and state.

Columbia School (of Sociology): Under construction

Commodification: Under construction

Communism: Communism is a social, economic and political view that proposes an end to class-based society and abolition of private property; in effect communal ownership (of the means of production).

Comparative method: The comparative method is nothing more than the process of making comparisons.

Comte, Auguste : Comte is credited with being the founder of positivist sociology; claiming scientific status for the study of society.

Complementarity: Complementarity essentially means that alternative conceptualisations of perceived phenomena complement one another and are mutually exclusive.

Concept: A concept is a meaningful summary of certain aspects of the world.

Confidence interval: A confidence interval (or confidence limits) refers to a range of values within which a particular population parameter (e.g. mean, standard deviation, etc.) has a specified probability of lying, as estimated from sample data.

Conflict: Under construction.

Conflict theory: Conflict theory is a general term used to refer to sociological theories that posit a society in which social relations are characterised by opposition or opposition is embedded in social structures.

Confounded variable: Two variables are said to be confounded if they vary with each other in a systematic way so that it is difficult to tell which of the two is affecting some third variable.

Connectionism: Connectionisn is a neural network approach to artificial intelligence, natural-language processing, and vision analysis and simulation.

Connotation: Connotation as a noun means that which is implied. As a verb, to connote means to imply or to betoken.

Conscious collective: Conscious collective (collective consciousness) is a term used in Durkheimian analysis to refer to the set of beliefs, morals, religious sentiments and processes of reasoning common to the average member of a society.

Consensus: Under construction.

Conservativism: Conservativsm is, at its most general, simply an attitude or endeavour that attempts to retain or conserve social, political and economic structures.

Constructivism: Under construction.

Construct theory: Construct theory is a psychological theory of personal development thatis based upon the idea that people's psychological processes are channelled by the way they sucessively construe events.

Content analysis: Content analysis is a research technique for the objective systematic and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication.

Contextualism: Contextualism proposes that cultural products (for example, works of art, books, newspapers, television programmes, films) can only be understood if they are set in their historical and cultural context.

Control: Two meanings of the term control: 1. Social control: Control refers to a desire to restrain the activities of an individual or group. 2. Experimental/statistical control: Control refers to the attempt to elminate the effects of extraneous variables so that one may be sure than any results found are due only to the independent variables being tested.

Conventionalism: Conventionalism argues that the body of established scientific knowledge is established by convention.

Conversation: Under construction.

Conversation analysis: Conversation analysis describes and explains the competences used by ordinary speakers when participating in intelligible, socially organised interaction.

Correlation: Correlation measures the extent to which two (or more) variables vary together.

Covering-law model: The covering-law model is one in which the observation or relationship to be explained is ‘covered’ by a general statement about such observations or relationships.

Critical case analysis: Critical case analysis is the deliberate examination of atypical, extreme, or deviant settings in order to test the limits of applicability of one’s hypotheses.

Critical ethnography: Critical ethnography is an approach to ethnography that attempts to link the detailed analysis of ethnography to wider social structures and systems of power relationships.

Critical hermeneutics : Critical hermeneutics takes the interpetive process of hermeneutics further and addresses issues of power and ideology and situates hermeneutic analysis in a wider social, eceonomic and historical setting.

Critical social research: Critical social research is a term encompassing an approach to social enquiry that attempts to go beneath surface appearance by critically engaging with prevailing conceptualisations of the social world.

Critical theory: Critical theory is the name that is given to the way of analysing the social and cultural world, which was developed at the Frankfurt School, that, at root, embodies a Marxist perspective.

Criticism: The term criticism basically means assessment.

Critique: Under construction.

Crosstabulation: see tabulation:crosstabulation

Cubism: Cubism is the name given to a form of painting originated and practiced by Georges Braques and Pablo Picasso between 1908 and 1913 and developed further by them, Juan Gris and Fernand Leger until c. 1920.

Cultural incompatibility (in interviews): see interview:cultural incompatibility

Cultural relativism : The core thesis of cultural relativism is that there are no absolute standards of human cognition.

Culture: Culture means that which is indicative of a given society or group.

Culturologicalism: Culturologicalism refers to an approach in the social sciences that uses cultural changes as basis for analysing social change.

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D

Darwinism: Darwinism is a term used to refer to theories that are attributed to or derived from Darwin’s theories of evolution.

Data: Data is the term usually reserved in social science for empirical data that is in a quantitative form. In information technology data is any information input into, and held by, a computer.

Decoding: Decoding refers to the unravelling of a message.

Deconstruction: Deconstruction is a term with two rather distinct meanings. First, it refers to critical dialectical processes. Second, it is a specific approach to literary analysis developed in the work of Derrida and appropriated to some extent by art critics and by a fringe group of architects.

Deconstructivism: Deconstructivism is a school of architecture based on the philosophical theory of deconstruction.

Deduction: Deduction refers to the procedure of moving from premises to conclusions based on the truth value of the premises and the rules of logic.

Deductivism: Deductivism is the process of asserting the validity of a conclusion from a set of premises which have been allotted a truth value.

Definition of the situation: Definition of the situation refers to the way people define the setting and context in which they are located before undertaking any action.

Delire: Delire is defined as the "disorderly" side of language between reason and nonsense.

Demography: Demography is the study of vital statistics usually with a view to revealing the nature of life in different communities.

Denotation: Denotation, as a noun, means that which is marked or signified. As a verb, to denote means to specify, signify or point out.

Dependent variable: see variable:dependent variable

Descriptive statistics: Descriptive statistical methods are used for summarising large quantities of data so that patterns and relationships within the data may be seen.

Desk research see secondary method

Determinism: Determinism is the view that all social events or phenomena are somehow determined by some underlying, intrinsic or even supernatural factor.

Deviance: Deviance refers to that which is not consistent with the norm.

Diachrony: Diachrony refers to the treatment of events that occur in sequence over time (that is, history).

Dialectic: Dialectic refers to the process of revealing contradictions.

Dialogic interview: see interview:dialogic interview

Discovery: Discovery is the process of revealing or disclosure [verb 'to discover': noun 'a discovery', the outcome of the process of discovery].

Discourse: Discourse is the presentation of a perspective either verbally or in writing, often formally and at length.

Discourse analysis: Discourse analysis is a term used for a variety of processes that examine or deconstruct the underlying meanings in speech or other form of communicative text.

Dispersion: Dispersion refers to the extent to which a set of data is spread out, or dispersed from the ‘average’.

Displacement: Displacement is the process through which the essence of an idea is passed on (or displaced) to another idea.

Distanciation: Distanciation in general refers to the stepping back or distancing of the observer or reader from an object of scrutiny.

Distortion: Distortion in art refers to the ‘incorrect’ or unusual representation of things when compared with traditional naturalist representation.

Division of labour: The division of labour refers to the fragmentation of a work process so that employees specialise in specific tasks rather than an individual (craftworker) undertaking the entire work process.

Document analysis: Document analysis in social research is the process of analysing any cultural product to provide data for or insights into a research issue.

Documentary method: Documentary method refers to a process of reasoning in which particular examples or evidence is used to document underlying patterns.

Dramaturgical approach: see symbolic interactionism: dramaturgical approach

Dualism: Dualism (as opposed to monism) places two different substances at the origin of existence.

Durkheim, Emile: Emile Durkheim is regarded as one of the key founding figures of sociology.


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E

Ecology: Ecology refers to two separate but linked disciplines. First, it is a branch of biology dealing with the relationship of organisms to one another and to their surroundings. This general idea was developed into its second meaning, that of human ecology, which is the study of the interaction of individuals and groups with their environment.

Economism: Economism is a term applied to some Orthodox Marxists who adopt an economic determinst approach, notably Stalin.

Empirical: Empirical pertains to direct, sense experience of an objective (real) world.

Empirical data: Under construction

Empirical knowledge: Under construction

Empiricism: Empiricism is the view that all knowledge (apart from purely logical relations between concepts) is based on, or derives from, sensory experience.

Empiricist: Under construction

Encoding: Encoding refers to the process of formulating a message. Under construction TO BE COMPLETED

Epistemology: Epistemology is the theory of the nature of knowledge.

Epoché: Epoché is the process of bracketing away preconceptions and taken-for-granted when analysisng the world, in an attempt to understand the essential nature of the world.

Essence: Essence refers to the possibility of fixed and timeless existence.

Essentialism: Essentialism is the view that entities have some immutable core or characteristic that defines the entity but tht is not always apparent.

Ethnography: Ethnography is the detailed direct study of small groups of people or communities.

Ethnomethodology: Ethnomethodology is an approach within sociology that focuses on the way people, as rational actors, make sense of their everyday world by employing practical reasoning rather than formal logic.

Evidence: Evidence is data or statements that are used to evaluate a hypothesis, conjecture or theory.

Evolution: Evolution is the process of developing from one state to another.

Evolutionism: Evolutionism is a view that argues that social institutions can be seen to evolve just as species do.

Existentialism: Existentialism argues that human existence is reflexive and is thus unique and unpredictable.

Experiment: An experiement is a procedures in which all the relevant variables are manipulaed by the experimenter in a controlled environment, which excludes any other variables that may effect the outcome.

Explanation: Explanation attempts to reveal the causal relationship between an observed phenomenon (effect) and other phenomena (causes)

Exploratory interview: see interview:exploratory interview

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F

Fact: The concept fact has a number of related meanings but all imply a discrete contemporary or historical existent phenomenon.

Factor analysis: Factor analysis is a procedure that reveals whether data exhibits underlying relationships that may enable the data to be reduced to a smaller set of component factors.

False consciousness: False consciousness refers to the mistaken or self-deluding consciousness of a social group.

Falsificationism: Falsificationism is an inductivist approach to knowledge production that basically asserts that theories cannot be proved but that theories or hypotheses can be disproved, or falsified.

Feminism: Feminism is a sociological and political term referring to the view that women are disadvantaged in various ways and that action must be taken to address this disadvantage.

Fetishism: To fetishise an object is to deify it, i.e to give objects supernatural forces, which are foreign to human nature.

Field: Field in social research refers to the setting in which the research is undertaken.

Field experiment: A field experiment is one that takes place outside the laboratory but in which the experimenter is able to allocate subjects to different treatment groups at random.

Fieldwork: Fieldwork refers to the observation made by researchers of people in their naturalistic setting.

Form: Form refers to the physical shape or manifestation of an object or social phenomenon.

Formalism: Formalism refers to various different approaches to knowledge production, all of them focusing on form rather thn content, function or structure.

Frame analysis: Frame analysis argues that that people classify their experiences according to guiding frames of reference.

Field: Field in social research refers to the setting in which the research is undertaken.

Field experiment: Fieldwork refers to the observation made by researchers of people in their naturalistic setting.

Field work : Fieldwork refers to the observation made by researchers of people in their naturalistic setting.

Form: Form refers to the physical shape or manifestation of an object or social phenomenon.

Formalism: Formalism refers to various different approaches to knowledge production, all of them focusing on form rather than content, function or structure.

Frankfurt School: The Frankfurt School is the popular name of the Marxist Institut fur Sozial Forschung at the University of Frankfurt, which developed critical theory.

Functionalism: Functionalism argues that the study of the social world should examine the function played by social phenomena.


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G

Gatekeeper: Gatekeeper is a term used in social analysis to refer to persons who are able to arbitrate access to a social role, field setting or structure.

Gender: Gender refers to the sex of a person (male or female) but includes cutlural and social differences rather than just biological distinctions.

Generalisation: Generalisation is the process of extending a specific instance to a a wider or universal set.

General sociological orientation: A general sociological orientation is a broad perspective that guides an explanation, interpretation or understanding of the social world.

Gramsci, Antonio: Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) was an Italian Marxist who developed a historicist, humanist Marxism.

Grand theory: Grand theory is a term coined by C. Wright Mills (1960) to describe the abstract generalised system building of structural functionalists, notably in the work of Talcott Parsons..

Grey literature: Grey literature is material of all sorts that is not available through normal published procedures.

Grid: A grid is a two-way inventory that is usually used in psychological research in which individuals are asked about the relation between concepts.

Grounded theory: Under construction

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H

Hegemony: Hegemony refers to the process and structures by which a dominant social group maintains and legitimates its privileged position.

Heidegger: Martin Heidegger was influential in the development of hermeneutic methodology.

Hermeneutics: Hermeneutics takes a variety of forms but in essence is a means of interpretation, principally of historical events, phenomena or texts.

Heterogeneity: Heterogeneity means literally 'of a different kind'.

Hired-hand effect: see interview:hired-hand effect

Histoire: Histoire is a mode of enunciation of narrations of past events in which there is no identifiable narrator.

Historical materialism: see Marx's historical materialist methodology or Materialism:historical materialism

Historiography: Historiography is the study of the methods and methodology used by historians.

Historicalism: Under construction

Historicism: Under construction

Historism: Under construction

History: History is the document of 'the past' or the process of interpreting and documnting the past.

Holism: Holism is the view that an organisation, institution, or even society, as a functioning whole has an effect on all the parts of which it is made up, and that therefore one should not study these parts in isolation.

Humanism: Humanism refers to aview that rejects religion and focuses on the potential of human development.

Humanitarianism: Humanitarianism is concerned with the welfare of the human race.

Husserl, Edmund: Edmund Husserl Under construction TO BE COMPLETED.

Hylozoism: Hylozoism is the philosophical view that draws no distinction between living and non-living matter: all matter is regarded as having some form of 'life' or sensation.

Hypothesis: A hypothesis is a statement of a conjecture to be investigated.

Hypothetical deducation/hypothetico-deduction: The hypothetico-deductive approach (experimentally) tests a general hypothesis by deducing predictions with a view to falsifying the hypothesis and moving on to a more refined hypothesis, which is subject to the same process.

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I

Iconography: Iconography is the assessment od the subject matter of a cutural object (such as a painting) and attempts to identify the intended meaning of the object by analysing the representational elements.

Iconology: Iconology is the attempt to determine the intrinsic meaning or content of a cultural object.

Idealism: Idealism is a philosophical view that suggest that the world is somehow constituted by the mind.

Idealistic: Idealistic refers to someone who holds apecific ideals, however unrealistic thay may be.

Ideal types: Ideal type is a theoretical construct used to make comparisons between organisations, communities or historically.

Ideology: Ideology is a system of ideas, beleifs, ideals and principles that guide the social, cultural political and economic functioning of a society.

In-depth interview: see interview: in-depth interview.

Impressionism: Impressionism is an approach to painting originating in France in the 1860s, which is characterised by attempts to capture the visual impression of the moment, especially the shifting effect of light and colour of landscapes and everyday scenes, usually painted outdoors.

Independent variable: see variable: independent variable

Indeterminism: Indeterminism is the idealist notion that the natural course of events in reality are not subject to laws but to independent arbitrary chance.

Indicator: An indicator is something that points to, measures or otherwise provides a summary overview of a specific concept. A set of indicators that are combined is referred to as an index.

Individualism: Individualism is a perspective that advocates the free action of individuals.

Induction: Induction is the process of framing a generalisation from particular cases.

Inductivism: Inductivism is a view that argues that scientific knowledge is derived inductively from observation.

Inequality: Inequality in the social world refers to the difference in status, access to wealth, educational opportunity and cultural activities that are de facto (legally, economically, politically or socially) evident in a society or community.

Inferential statistics : Inferential statistics are tools for data analysis that can be used in attempts to draw some inferences about the object of study rather than simply desribing it.

Information: Information is input that is processed and added to knowedge.

Infrastructure: Infrastructure is a term used in Marxist analysis to refer to the economic basis of society (sometimes referred to as ‘the base’).

Institutionalisation: Institutionalisation is the process of locating a person, a social group, an event, or an academic subject within an institutional context.

Instrumentalism: Instrumentalism is both a theory of the nature of knowledge aquisition and a thesis about the status of scientific theories in which propositions, theories and ideas are tools rather than being true of false.

Interactionism: Interactionism is an approach to siociology that argues people act as a result of their interaction with other people.

Interchangeability of indicators: Interchangeability of indicators refers to the assertion by some quantitative practitioners who use multivariate analysis that given there are a large number of items that could be used as indicative of a dimension of an operationalised concept, then any one indicator is as good as any other indicator, i.e., they are interchangeable.

Interpretation: Interpretation is the process of translating observations (in the widest sense including actions, conversations, texts, symbols and expressions) into meaning accessible to the observer (listener, reader).

Interval scale: see Measurement scales

Interview: An interview is a method of collecting data from a subject by asking questions in a face-to-face situation.

Interviewing: see interview: interviewing

Invisible college: Invisible college refers to intercommunicating scientific researchers who are working within a specified paradigm, or field of study that has some core issues in common.

Iowa School: The Iowa School is the popular name for an approach to symbolic interactionism developed at the Center for Research on Interpersonal Behavior at the University of Iowa that flourished in the 1970s.

Isomorphic: Isomorphic means having the same structure in the sense of a one-to-one correspondence between parts.

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J

Joking relationship: Joking relationship is a term used in ethnographic research to indicate an interaction between two persons such that one is permitted and in some case required, by custom, to tease or make fun of the other while the other is required to take no offence.

Jugendstil: Jugendstil is the version of art nouveau developed in Germany.

Justificationism: Justificationism is a position in the philosophy of science that argues that scientific knowledge consists of proven propositions and, thus, that scientific honesty demands that no assertion be made that is unproven.


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K


Knowledge: Knowledge is awareness of facts, theories, concepts or principles either first-hand from observation, exploration or experience or second-hand from other (written or verbal) sources or as a result of critique and analysis.

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L

Labelling theory: Labelling theory is concerned with the social process by which individuals and groups classify and categorise social behaviour and other individuals.

Labour power: Labour power is a person's ability to work (muscle-power, dexterity and brain-power), which under capitalism, is a commodity for sale.

Lacanian psychoanalysis: Lacanian psychoanalysis is a Post-Freudian approach to psychoanalysis based upon the work of Jaques Lacan.

Language: Language, as a term in general usage, refers to the current stock of words that make up the vocabulary of a language, or to language as an expressive medium that includes its grammatical form, or to language as speech.

Langue: Langue is a term developed in linguistics to refer to a formal system of oppositions that underlies speech (parole).

Legitimate: Legitimate means being in conformance with law, social morays, cultural imperatives or ideological expectations.

Lexical: Lexical is an adjective that pertains to the words (rather than grammar) in a language. Lexis is a noun meaning the vocabulary or total stock of words in a language.

Lexigraphy: Lexigraphy is the system of writing in which each character represents a word.

Library research: Library research is a broad term that refers to the use of bibliograhic resources in a library to discover what existing published material or grey literature is available on a given research topic.

Life history: Life history usually refers to an ethnographic method in which the researcher attempts to elicit an autobiography of a single subject, generally through repeated unstructured interviews or (less usually) through obtaining written accounts from the subject of their life and the factors that effected it.

Linearity: Linearity describes the relationship between two (or more) variables when they tend to change at the same rate.

Linguistic philosophy: Linguistic philosophy is an approach to philosophy that concentrates on the study of language.

Linguistics: Linguistics is concerned with the nature and structure of language.

Linkage analysis: Linkage analysis combines different data sets to show the interconnectedness of variables.

Literary criticism: Literary criticism is the examination and analysis of literary works.

Literary theory: Literary theory is a general term that refers to attempts to theorise about the nature of literature and, more usually, about the relationship between literature and the social world.

Literature: Literature refers to written material.

Logic: Logic is a structure or set of procedures for presenting a rational argument.

Logical analysis: see logic

Logical empiricism: Logical empiricism offers the view that truth is logically determined within a closed system either by definition or by deduction on the one hand, or by induction from facts on the other.

Logical positivism: see positivism:logical positivism

Logocentrism: Logocentism involves the belief that sounds in speech are simply a representation of meanings that are present in the consciousness of the speaker.

Longitudinal study: A longitudinal study is one in which the same group(s) of subjects are studied at intervals over a period, often several years

Lukacs, Georg: Lukács was a Marxist philosopher, writer, and literary critic who was influential the first half of the 20th century.

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Mannheim, Karl: Károly (Karl) Mannheim (1893–1947) was one of the founders of classical sociology and, in particular, the sociology of knowledge.

Marcuse, Herbert: Herbert Marcuse was a critical theorist who wrote critiques of capitalism and also developed a Marxist aesthetic.

Market research: Market research is the broad name given to research whose purpose is to aid management in decision making about the appropriate marketing strategy.

Marx, Karl: Karl Marx was a 19th Century philosopher and social theorists who materialist approach to methodology, epistemology and political theorising has had a far-reaching impact academically, politically and socially.

Marxian: Refers to the work of Marx or those who emulate rather than adapt Marx's work and views; see Marx.

Marxism: Based on the ideas of Karl Marx (and Frederick Engels), Marxism is a form of materialism.

Marxist: Refers to the various proponents of Marxism, rather than directly to the works and views of Marx; see Marxism

Mass media: The mass media refers to print and electronic forms of communication that are aimed at a widely dispersed audience.

Materialism: Materialism is a form of realism in which consciousness is not independent of matter and all reality is material.

Materialistic: Materialistic refers to someone who adopts a materialistic perspective, most often in modern times someone whose focus is on material goods, as opposed to a proponent of materialism as a philosophy.

Meaning: Meaning is an important concept for many sociological perspectives. In general it refers to the way a conversation, an event, or a social phenomena is construed by social actors.

Measurement scales: Measurement scales or levels of measurement refers to the nature of enumerated data.

Mechanical solidarity: Mechanical solidarity is a term used in Durkheimian analysis to refer to the principle of the division of labour established in 'simple' societies.

Metaphor: A metaphor is an instance of a word or phrase applied to an object or action to which it does not literraly apply, as, for example, in' food for thought'.

Metaphysics: Metaphysics refers to philosophical speculation about the meaning and nature of the universe.

Metascience: Metascience is research into science as a developer of knowledge.

Method: Method means a way of doing things, as applied to an academic discipline it refers to the processes adopted by a discipline to test ideas, as, for example, in social research method, or the scientific method.

Methodology: Methodology is the study of the generation and legitimation of knowledge.

Methodology of scientific research programmes: The methodology of scientific research programmes is a sophististication of falsificationism in response to the notion of scientific paradigms.

Metonymy: Metonymy is the process of replacing the usual sign relating to a concept being referred to by another indirect word or code.

Middle-range theory: see Structural functionalism: middle-range theory.

Milieu: Milieu is a term used to refer to a social context, social surroundings or environment.

Mills, C. Wright: C Wright Mills was a social critic who was also highly critical of abstracted empiricism and grand theorising, the dominant modes of social enquiry in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mis en scene: Mise en scene refers to the content and placement of items in a stage set or props and action in a film frame.

Model: Model refers to attempt to represent 'reality' in some form, usually to make the complexity of the real situation more easily graspable.

Modern art: Modern art refers to Western European and North American art that began in the middle of the 19th century when painters turned away from the traditional concept of 'history' painting that had dominated European art since the Renaissance.

Modern style: Modern style was the name given to art nouveau in France in recognition of its English origins.

Modernism: Modernism is a mutilayered concept that refers to developments in art, literature architecture, philosophy, politics, ethics and culture in the century up 1970.

Modernista: Modernista was the term used for art nouveau in Spain, especially in the Catalan version of the style.

Monism: Monism argues that the world consists of a single substance and that there is no division of mind and body.

Multicollinearity: Multicollinearity is a term that applies when the regression model is used to predict a dependent variable from two or more independent variables that are highly correlated among themselves.

Multivariate analysis: Multivariate analysis (MVA) is a statistical technique that attempts to show how more than two operationalised concepts are interrelated.

Myth: Myth originally implied 'fabulous narration' and is widely used in that sense.

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Narrative analysis: Narrative analysis is the examination of how people make sense of their world through the stories they tell.

Nationalism: Nationalism is the expression of support for or reification of a nation state.

Naturalism: Naturalism has a range of meaning from that of decrying supernatural or ethical explanations, through the advocacy of an evolutionary development of life forms, to the depiction in art and literature of everyday subjects.

Naturalistic: Naturalistic is a term applied to methods of social enquiry that attempt to grasp the 'natural' processes of social action and interaction.

Neo-Neitzschian: Neo-Neitzschian is a label applied to contemporary European philosophers who have 'rediscovered' Neitzsche.

Neo-positivism: Neopositivism can be seen as a later phase of positivism, committed to the idea of an objective reality and empiricism, with a preference, increasingly, for deduction over induction.

Network: A network is an interrelated grouping of entities.

New sociology: The New Sociology was a term applied to an approach to sociology in the United States that derived, in the main, from the social criticism of C. Wright Mills.

Nominalism: Nominalism is the view that universals have no existence outside thought and are simply names representing nothing that really exists.

Nominal scale: see Measurement scales: nominal scale

Nomological: A nomological approach is quasi-nomothetic it assumes some kind of cause and effect model.

Nomothetic: A nomothetic approach proposes or prescribes law like relationships in the positivist sense of scientific causal laws.

Non-participant observation: Non-participant observation is a means of direct observation used by social researcher that does not involve the observer participating directly in the activities being observed or in the social life of the subject group.

Norm: Norms are standards of behaviour or expectations of performance.

Normal distribution: A normal distribution is a bell-shaped frequency distribution curve reflecting the occurence of human attributes as well as representing sampling distributions, which is an important element of probability theory.

Normative: Normative refers to the the expression of how something ought to be.

Noumenon: Noumenon refers to the 'thing in itself' as opposed to the appearance of an object.

Null hypothesis: A null hypothesis is a statement that no difference or relationship exists between specified variables.

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Objectification: Objectification (Versachlichung) is the expression of an idea in concrete form.

Objectivation: Objectivation (Vergegenstandlichung) is the process by which a person externalises him/herself (usually through labour or the use of language).

Objectivism: Objectivism claims that knowedge exists and is waiting to be discovered, thus ignorong the role of meaning in the construction of knowledge.

Objectivity: Objectivity refers to a reality external to the mind, as relating to external objects.

Observation: Observation is the process of using ones senses to gather information about the world.

Official statistics: Official statistics are quantitative data published by government agencies or other public bodies including international organisations.

Ontology: Ontology is the theory of the nature of being or existence.

Operationalisation: In the social sciences, operationalisation has come to mean the process through which (abstract) concepts are translated into (measurable) variables.

Operationalism: Operationalism (sometimes called operationism) is the theory in the philosophy of science that presupposes that all physical entities, properties and processes can be defined as a set of operations by which they are apprehended.

Oppression: Oppression is when a person or group in a position of power exercises authority or otherwise controls the less powerful in burdensome, cruel, unjust or unfair ways.

Oral history: Oral history is an approach to the construction of history that relies on verbal testimonies.

Order effect: Order effects occur in a succession of social psychological experiments where the earlier treatments may impact on later treatments.

Ordininal scale: see Measurement scales: ordinal scale

Organic solidarity: Organic solidarity refers to a social system based on a form ofthe division of labour in which people depend on each other.

Organic view of society: The organic view of society used the analogy of an organism (often the human body) as the organising principle for social cohesion.

Orthogonality: Two factors are orthogonal when they are uncorrelated with each other.

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Panel study: A panel study is one in which a group of people are monitored over time (usually no more than a year) in order to assess changes in attitude, opinion or a limited range of behaviour.

Pantheism: Pantheism is a philosophical view that sees nature as the material manifeststion of god.

Paradigm: The term paradigm simply means exemplar: it has been used in the philosophy of science to refer to a particular thesis about the nature and development of scientific knowledge and in linguistics to refer to relationships between signs.

Paradigmatic: Paradigmatic refers to the relationship between a set of linguistic items that form mutually exclusive choices.

Parameter: A parameter is a descriptive summary of a characteristic of set of data or summary statistic of the relationship between two sets of data.

Parole: Parole is a term used in linguistics to refer to language in use, or speech.

Participant observation: Participant observation is a method of social research that attempts to observe at first hand social action in its everyday or naturalistic setting thereby providing insights into actors' meanings and perspectives by bringing the sociologist closer to the social world than other methods.

Patriarchy: Patriarchy is a structural notion that sees the organisation of the social world arranged for the benefit of, and controlled by, men.

Personal document analysis: see document analysis

Perspective: see sociological perspective

Perspectivism: Perspectivism is the view that any system of concepts of beliefs is as valid as any other system for interpreting the world.

Phenomenalism: Phenomenalism is at the heart of positivism as it accepts that physical objects can be known as they appear as perceived phenomena.

Phenomenology: Phenomenology is a term used in social science to refer to the philosophical underpinnings of a variety of approaches that tend to concentrate on the essential nature of the social world.

Phonetics: Phonetics is the study of the representation of vocal sounds, especially of the system of spelling.

Phonology: Phonology is the study of sounds in a language.

Physicalism: Physicalism asserts that all propositions about existence or 'fact' can be formulated as statements about observable physical objects and activities.

Pictorial representation: Pictorial respresentation refers to various graphical ways of depicting data sets.

Pilot interview: see interview: pilot interview

Population: A population is the complete set of items that belong to a specified grouping.

Positivism: Positivism asserts that knowledge should be based on direct apprehension of the objective world via empirically verified causal explanations..

Postmodernism: Under Construction.

Post-feminsm: Postfeminism is a term used to refer to a view that presupposes that the feminist movement of the 1970s has resulted in social, political and economic gains for women, which allow them to compete with men, albeit in a men's world.

Post-structuralism: Post-structuralism is a term used to represent a movement, initially in literature and linguistics that reacted against structuralism.

Power: In its social and political manifestation, power refers to the ability to influence, direct or control the behaviour of people.

Pragmaticism: Pragmaticism is a term coined by C. S. Pierce in 1905 to denote his own version of pragmatism.

Pragmatics: Pragmatics studies the purposes, effects and implications of the actual use by a speaker of a meaningful piece of language.

Pragmatism: Pragmatism, despite many variants, essentially means that we come to know the world through the practicality or usefulness of objects (or concepts).

Praxis: Praxis is practical reflective activity.

Primary data: see primary research.

Primary method: see primary research.

Primary research : Primary research involves the researcher in first-hand collection or generation of new (primary) data.

Probabilism: Probablism is the sceptical view that no definite knowledge can be obtained and, therefore, opinions and actions should be guided by probability.

Probability: Probability measures how likely an event will occur.

Professionalisation: Professionalisation is the process of turning an activity into the province of practitioners who regulate or otherwise control the exercise of the activity.

Profilmic event: Profilmic event is a term used in film studies to refer to the arrangement of what is in the field of view of the camera, or of what has been filmed.

Proof: Proof refers to the evidence, or the act of assembling evidence, or the presentation of argued evidence, in order to establish a fact, the veracity of an event or logical proposition, or the cause of a phenomenon.

Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a therapeutic method for treating mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind with a view to making the subject aware of the unconscious processes.

Psychologism: Psychologism is the theory that psychology is the foundation of philosophy.

Psychology: Psychology, originally the science of the nature and functions of the human soul, now refers to the study of the human mind.

Published documents: A published document is one that is made publicly available, freely or at a cost.

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Qualitative: Qualitative refers to research that primarily relies on approaches that attempt to gather detailed evidence of social processes, activities and events rather than attempting to measure or enumerate social phenomena.

Qualitative data: see qualitative: qualitative data.

Qualitative observation : see observation

Quantitative: Quantitative social research refers to any research that uses quantitative indicators of social phenomena.

Quantitative data: see quantitative: quantitative data.

Quantitative observation : see observation

Quartile: see dispersion

Questionnaire: A questionnaire is a structured means of posing a standardised set of consistent predetermined questions in a given order to respondents for self-completion in a sample survey.

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Race: UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Racism: UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Radical: Radical means pertaining to the root and was originally used to refer to socialist critiques of the root of capitalism.

Rapport: Rapport is the establishment of a relationship between researcher and researched that is conducive to the aims of the researcher and aims in the collection of felevent data.

Ratio scale: see Measurement scales

Rationalism: Rationalism is a theory that recognises reason as the unique source of true knowledge.

Realism: Realism involves a view that there is a concrete world of objects (including other humans) external to and independent of the individual human mind or consciousness, that is knowable through the senses and the processes of the brain, i.e. it can be known by consciousness.

Realistic: Realistic means both reproducing reality and adopting a practical or concrete approach rather than an impractical or idealistic one.

Reductionism: Reductionism has two meaning: the more general one is that reductionism refers to any approach to explanation that attempts to reduce complexities of structure or behaviour to less complex units. Reductionism also has a particular meaning, which is the view that human behaviour can be reduced to physical laws related to the instinctive type of behaviour of other animals.

Reflection theory: Reflection theory is the idea that our knowledge reflects the 'real world'.

Reflexive sociology: Reflexive sociology refers to attempts to develop a critique of positivistic sociology through the development of phenomenological and ethnomethodological analyses of traditional approaches.

Reflexivity: Reflexivity is a term with rather different meanings in different contexts: in general, it means 'reflecting' and specifically, as part of the social research, reflexivity is the process by which the researcher reflects upon the data collection and interpretation process.

Regression: Regression analysis is concerned with identifying the nature of the relationship between two (or more) operationalised concepts (variables).

Reification: Reification is the process of attributing concrete form to an abstract concept.

Reinforcement theory: Reinforcement theory maintains that people seek out, absorb and recall information that supports their pre-existing attitude, dispositions and beliefs.

Relations of production: The relationship between people in the process of production.

Relativism: Relativism denies the possibility of objective knowledge independent of the knower.

Reliability: A measure is reliable if it is consistent, that is, measures the same thing in the same way, each time.

Research programme: see methodology of scientific research programmes

Rhetoric: Rhetoric is the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing.

Romanticism: Romanticism is a broad idealist philosophical, historical, political and artistic movement of the 18th and early 19th century.

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Sample: see sampling

Sampling: Sampling is the process of selecting a number of items or individuals from a wider group or population (via the sampling frame).

Sampling error: Sampling error is the random variation that comes from sampling and cannot be eliminated but may be estimated.

Scale: A scale is a measurement device and scaling is the process of assigning numerical values to objects of study.

Schema: Schema, as a concept used by developmental cognitive psychologists, is a mental mirror of a real situation.

Scientific method: Scientific method asserts that the statements of quantifiable relations must be logically derived (deduced) from a set of axioms (statements that are irrefutable and true by definition), and expressed as a set of testable hypotheses that will enable statements, which resist falsification and are expressible in 'quantifiable form', to be derived.

Scientism: Scientism is a derrogatory term applied by opponents to those who argue that the human sciences require no methods other than those of the natural sciences.

Scopophilia: Scopophilia is the psychoanalytic term used to refer to the instinct or drive to pleasurable looking.

Secondary data: Secondary data (sometimes referred to as unobtrusive data) is data not directly collected by the researcher but is initially collected or produced for other purposes.

Secondary method: Secondary method refers to research approaches that use data that already exists in some form.

Semanalysis: Semanalysis a late form of semiological analysis that denies the ideologically-free notion of denotation and focuses on how the text creates meaning as opposed to what the text means.

Semantics: Semantics is the study of signs and their relations to what they signify.

Semiology: Semiology (or semiotics) is the theory of signs.

Semi-structured interview: see interview: semi-structured interview

Sensationalism: Sensationalism asserts that sensations are the ultimate and real components of the world.

Set theory: Set theory is a mathematical approach in whch a set is a group of elements with a common property.

Sezessionstil: Sezessionstil is the name given to art nouveau in Austria.

Sign: see signification

Significance test: A significance test is a statistical procedure that is applied to random samples to take account of sampling error.

Signification: Signification is the process of the construction of meanings from signs.

Signified: see signification

Signifier: see signification

Social action: Social action is action taken with account taken of the past, present or future actions, behaviour, and attitudes of others.

Social criticism: Social criticism is a term that has been used to describe radical approaches to sociology, in particular, the New Sociology that developed in the United States in the 1960s.

Social currents: Social currents is a term developed in Durkheimian social analysis to refer to aspects of the conscience collective.

Social Darwinism: Social Darwinism is the theory that people are subject to the same laws of natural selection that Charles Darwin had proposed for plants and animals.

Social disorganisation: The social disorganisation thesis is that as societies are in a constant state of change they are always disorganised to a certain extent and individuals have to accommodate change.

Social ecology: Social ecology is the study of the intreaction of people with their environment.

Social engineering: Social engineering originally mean that planned social change could be achieved by manipulation, usually by governments; it has subsequently been used to refer to internet fraud where people are manipulated to provide confidential information.

Social fact : Social facts are ways of acting, thinking and feeling independent of the will of the individual.

Social order: Social order refers to the ways in which societies remain sufficiently stable to enable co-ordinated productive and cultural activity.

Social phenomenon: A social phenomenon is any behaviour that responds to other behaviour whether contemporary or historical.

Social realism: Social realism, refers to the work of artists, film makers and novelists who focus on everyday life, usually the working class, poor or destitute, and encompasses a critique of dominat social structures.

Social research circle: Social research circle is a term used in the philosophy and sociology of science to refer to an intercommunicating network of practitioners.

Social survey see survey

Socialism: Socialism is an economic, political and social doctrine that expresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eliminating private property and the exploitative ruling class.

Socialist realism: Socialist realism is a form of art that prioritises socialist themes and acts to promote a socialist ideal

Sociological perspective: A sociological perspective is a broad theory that attempts to address all forms of all social activity.

Solipsism: Solipsism is the view that the self is the only knowable, or existent, thing.

Specification: Specification refers to one aspect of the elaboration of relationships in multivariate analysis.

Spuriousness: Spuriousness refers to apparent relationships uncovered by correlation and regression techniques that turn out to be unfounded when other variables, in a multivariate analysis, are taken into account.

State: The state is the political organisation of the economically dominant class (or group) that aims to retain the existing economic status quo.

Statistics: Refers to numerical techniques for analysing data and also to data collected and presented as (often official) statistics.

Stile liberty: Stile Liberty was the name given to art nouveau in Italy in recognition of the Regent Street store that played a large part in disseminating the style.

Stochastic model: Stochastic models usually refer to mathematical models with one or more components that depend upon a random variable.

Story: Under construction

Structural functionalism: Structural functionalism is an approach to explaining the social world that presupposes an organic model with the various elements having a particular function that ensures, though consesnsus, the maintenance and order of the social system.

Structuralism: Structuralism is a way of thinking about the world that is predominantly concerned with the perception and description of structures of interrelated objects, concpets or ideas.

Structure: A structure is a complex set of interrelated elements.

Structured interview: see interview: structured interview

Structured observation : see observation

Stylisation: Stylisation refers to representation through a set of characteristic and recognisable schemata (as in Romanesque art, and modern fashion design).

Subjectivism: Subjectivism is the view that knowledge is subjective and and there is no external or objective test of its veracity.

Subjectivity: Subjective is that which belongs to or is due to the consciousness or thinking of a perceiving subject.

Substantialism: Substantialism is a term that has been used to describe (mainly) Marx's/Marxist materialism.

Superstructure: Superstructure is a term used mainly in Marxist analysis to refer to the institutions and practices that sustain and legitimate the existing social order embodied in the infrastructural relations of production.

Surplus value: Under construction

Survey: Surveys of the social world (including politics, psychology, business, health) are essentially enquiries that attempt to elicit an account of some phenomenon (phenomena) at a given time and place.

Symbolic interactionism: Symbolic interactionism is an approach to sociology that focuses on interpreting the meanings that people develop through their interaction with others.

Synchrony: Synchrony refers to the treatment of events that exist or occur at the same time.

Syntactics: Syntactics is the study of grammar.

Syntagmatic: Syntagmatic relationships in linguistics refers to those relationships between elements that might combine in a sequence.

Synthesis: Synthesis in social science is the process of collating a number of arguments by extracting their essential elements and recombining them as a 'higher level' analysis that incorporates and accounts for these elements.

Synthetic a priori: Synthetic a priori is a term developed by Kant to refer to those aspects of the world that were not covered by analytic propositions nor synthetic propositions.

Synthetic propositions: Synthetic propositions are substantial and experiential statements verified by empirical observation.

System: A system is a set of interdependent or interacting elements that form an integrated, static or fixed whole.

Systems theory: see system: systems theory

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Tabulation: Tabulation is the process of recording data in a grid with two or more rows and two or more columns.

Tautology: A tautology is a proposition that is true by definition (such as 'all mothers are female') or one in which the same thing is said twice in different words (e.g. 'they followed one after the other in succession').

Teleology: Teleology is most commonly used to refer to a view that argues that certain phenomena can best be explained by reference to their puposes .

Text: Text refers to an excerpt from a written document although its meaning has expanded in some social analyses to include any cultural artefact or even any occurence, location or theory.

Themata: Themata are conceptual elements that are seen to be integral to (physical) science and underpin the development and growth of science.

Theory: A theory is an integrated set of relationships with an established level of validity or legitimation.

Theory-laden nature of observation: The theory-laden nature of observation proposition claims that no observation, or fact, is self-evident and that all observation requires a theory by which to make sense of the observation.

Thick description: Thick description is a term used by some ethnographers to refer to the process of drawing out broad conclusions from close inspection of small sets of very dense information.

Totality: Totality refers to an approach to thinking that locates phenomena in wider social structural and historical context.

Transcendental: Transcendental comes from the verb transcend which means to be beyond the range or domain or grasp of (usually) human experience, reason or belief.

Transcendental phenomenology: Transcendental phenomenology attempts to grasp the essential nature of the social world, unencumbered by assumptions, prejudices and scientific theories.

Transferability: Transferability is the extent to which results of research in one setting can be transferrred to another.

Transformation: Transformation is the process of moving from one state of being to another: this may apply inter alia to abilities, awareness, knowledge, consciousness, environment, social status, fortune or wellbeing.

Triangulation: In its broadest sense, triangulation refers to a combination of ways of exploring a research question, using multiple researchers, methods, data sources or methodologies.

Truth: Truth is that which is in the state of being true, i.e., that which accords with fact or reality or reason or logic. .

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Understanding: Understanding is the process by which a person grasps the underlying nature, relevance and significance of a social phenomenon.

Unobtrusive method: An unobtrusive method is one in which the data collection and analysis does not impinge on the subjects of the study.

Unpublished documents: An unublished document is one that is not publicly available, either freely or at a cost.

Unstructured interview: see interview: unstructured interview

Unstructured observation : see observation

Utilitarianism: Utilitarianism is the view that actions are right because they are useful.

Utopianism: Utopianism refers to any social analysis that depends on, or projects towards, a social utopia.

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Validity: Validity, in social research, assesses the extent to which a research study addresses the issue that the research was intended to explore.

Value freedom: Value freedom means adopting an approach to research that is not influenced by political, moral, racial or gender considerations

Values: Values are datum having an empirical content accessible to members of some social group and a meaning with regard to which it is or may be an object of activity.

Variable: A variable is a non-constant object of enquiry.

Variance: see dispersion:variance

Verstehen: Verstehen, which means to understand in German, is closely associated with Weberian interpetive sociology and is concerned with identifying the meaning as well as cause of socil phenomena.

Video recording: Video recording is a generic term for the analog or digital capture of images for research purposes, whether they be new first-hand material or recordings of existing outputs from television, cinema or other media.

Vital statistics: Vital statistics are records of vital events, including demographic events (e.g. births, deaths) and changes in civil status (e.g. marriage, divorce).

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Wealth: Wealth is the accumulation of money, property and capital by an individual, organisation or country.

Weber, Max: Under construction.

Weltanschauung: Weltanschauung means world view.

Working class: Working class is all those people who work for a wage or salary and includes dependents and retirees dependent on a work or state pension.

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X

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Y

Yale School of Literary Criticism: The Yale School of Literary Criticism argued that texts are open to multiple readings rather than having a single meaning.

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Z

 

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