Topic: Chapter Discussion Questions

You must attach a word document. Do not use Microsoft Works. Explain the course ideas in your own words; do not answer in direct quotes from the textbook. I expect that each answer will be well thought out, organized, and substantial. I expect that each answer will be at least a full paragraph, meaning 5-7 sentences. You should answer each question in complete sentences, in paragraph form


Example Question:

What is culture?  Why is it important to study it?

Bad answer: Culture is what people do everyday.  We study it so we know what it is.

Better Answer: Culture is what people do everyday, things like language or clothes.  We study it so we can know why people do what they do.

Best Answer: Culture is what humans use to get by in their daily lives.  It is the sum total of all our experiences, our material objects, and our interactions.  We learn culture from all the individuals in our lives.  It is very important to study culture because we as human beings rely on it.  If we have different kinds of cultural elements then we will be different people.  If we understand this we can understand people and be able to understand our similarities and differences to get along better.


Chapter Discussion Questions

  1. (Ch. 2) Sociology as a discipline is commonly divided between those who use qualitative methods and those who use quantitative ones. Describe the differences between the two approaches and explain the one goal they always have in common.  5pts.



  1. (Ch. 2) Each method of social research comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. This means that there is not necessarily a “right” answer to the question of which method should be used for a project. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of ethnography and survey research.  5pts.



  1. (Ch. 3) Culture is a very broad concept, usually divided into material culture and symbolic culture.  List and describe the major components of symbolic culture.  5pts.



  1. (Ch. 3) Explain the difference between subcultures and countercultures and give an example of each.  5pts.




Chapter Discussion Questions 2

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Chapter Discussion Questions 2

There are differences between quantitative and qualitative approaches in sociology. Sociologists use quantitative approaches with an aim to collect quantitative data. The results of quantitative research gives a hint on where, what, when and the frequency in which a phenomenon in sociology occurs. In the research, variables are manipulated and the outcomes measured and analyzed using statistical methods. Contrary, qualitative research approach, deals with the social phenomenon that cannot be quantified. Qualitative research provides answers to questions related to how and why. The research uses the qualitative methods of analysis. The vital goal of the two  research approaches is the collection of the data necessary to describe the social world.

It is possible to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the survey and ethnographic research. Compared to the survey research method and the other quantitative methods, ethnographic research is well versed to research complex relations in the society and unpredictable situations that cannot be identified using earlier mentioned methods. Moreover, ethnography gives the researcher a chance to understand the culture of the community under study. Nevertheless, ethnographic research is expensive and difficult. On the other hand, survey method is affordable, convenient with a greater precision (Coulter, 2007). There are no much to learn and it is clear when the data would be collected and analyzed. The survey research is not flexible.

The major components symbolic culture includes; gestures, values, languages, sanctions, folkways, mores, and taboos. Gestures include the movement of the body parts to relay information without using words. Language as a tool enables human beings to express themselves and combines their intellects. Taboos, mores, and folkways are norms of a particular society. Values are the standards that define morals in society. Lastly, sanctions are reactions received for breaking a norm (Coulter, 2007).

A difference exists between subcultures and countercultures. Counterculture involves working in opposition to a culture that is already widespread. The culture is politically oriented since its works in opposition to the mainstream culture. The feminist movement is a fundamental example of the counterculture. A subculture would exist freely within the mainstream culture despite having its values, norms, and beliefs. Vital subcultures include homies and Goths.




Coulter, M. L. (2007). Encyclopedia of Catholic social thought, social science, and social policy. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.

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