Theoretical paradigms (10 points). Choose a current event that is being covered in the media. Find at least 2 pieces of internet coverage about this event, ideally one is an independent or alternative media source, or news blogs. Select out key words used in describing the actors involved or the situation. Which of the three theoretical paradigms (functionalism, conflict theory, and/or symbolic interactionism) is guiding the way this issue is covered (you can also consider a feminist perspective here)? Is Macrotheory or Microtheory being used? Be concrete in your response by utilizing the concepts presented in your texts. Are the different sources covering the issue in the same way? How do they differ? Be sure to include URLs for your selected articles. 2. Exploring the sociological imagination (10 points). Consider a family that has just experienced unemployment and foreclosure on their mortgage. Use your sociological imagination to distinguish between this family's financial problems as personal troubles and public issues. Consider how the family might cope with the impact on their lives. Then consider unemployment and family homelessness from a sociological perspective. Cite Mills' reading (The Promise) at least once in your discussion. 3. Sociological Research (10 points). Give an example of a research question a sociologist might ask. Identify the independent and dependent variables and discuss a possible hypothesis. Describe how you might go about testing this hypothesis or studying a related issue raised by your research question, using each of the six major tools or methods of sociological research: Survey, Participant Observation, Controlled Experiment, Content Analysis, Historical Analysis, and Evaluation Research. (Note: not all methods lend themselves to answering all kinds of research questions. Just state this, and discuss why it wouldn't be applicable.). Now, choose one of these hypothetical studies and discuss how researchers would maintain objectivity, reliability and validity in using this one method.
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