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Would you be able to review and grade your own assignments for this course with total objectivity? Even when it comes to someone else's work, could you remove yourself from your own values and leave behind your biases while critiquing it? It might prove to be a harder task then you think. However, sociologists are expected to adhere to a certain code of ethics that require them to remain value neutral when conducting research. They have a moral obligation to the public to remain value free especially in cases that might have far reaching consequences affecting the whole of the society. Still, the principles in the code of ethics are only guidelines and rely on the individual scientist to stick to them as closely as possible. In this Discussion, you will debate the probability of scientists in the field of sociology remaining value natural in their research and describe some of the ways biased work might impact society as a whole.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review pages 39 - 43 in your course textbook on ethics of research.
  • Consider the difference between qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Review and reflect on the historical and current research examples presented in Chapters 1 and 2 of your course textbook that ran counter to previously accepted beliefs.
  • Explore the American Sociological Association Web site's Code of Ethics section at http://www.asanet.org/about/ethics.cfm
  • Reflect on the role of sociologists in goverment, developing public policy alternatives based on their research.

With these thoughts in mind:your responses to the following questions:

  • Do you think it is possible for any scientist to be totally objective and value neutral when conducting research? Why or why not?
  • How might the answer differ for qualitative and quantitative research?
  • When the value neutrality of research is questionable what is the potential impact on society?

Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week's Learning Resources, or something you have read, heard, seen, or experienced.




  • Course Text: Sociology: A Brief Introduction

    • Chapter 2, pp. 26 - 51

    • Chapter 3, pp. 52 - 77__________________________________________________________



    Create Your Own Holiday

    Growing up, did you have a favorite holiday? What kind of activities or rituals accompanied that holiday? Can you recognize any cultural values being passed on? Festivals and holidays are unifying social rituals that bring members of a culture together in an event with symbolic meaning. In this Application Assignment, you are asked to design your own holiday that will bring people together, invigorate their culture, and transmit some of its values.

    To prepare for this Application:

  • Review pages 55 - 70 in your course textbook on culture and society.

  • Consider ways in which holidays reveal aspects of historical, political, or religious influences on your culture.

  • Reflect on how holidays communicate cultural values to the new generations.

The assignment:

  • Create a holiday that will allow for authentic expression of the country of your family's heritage that will bring people together, invigorate its culture, and provide them with a positive and healthy sense of community.

  • Compose a 1- to 2-page essay in which you do the following:

    • Describe the holiday, explain why you created this new holiday, and assign your holiday a date.

    • Explain the nature of celebration, commemoration, or other activities that would accompany the new holiday.

    • Demonstrate how this newly created holiday invigorates, supports, and enhances the concept of culture.

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