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A History of Ideas - Descartes Cogito Ergo SumFriday, 17th April 2015 12:04 - BBC Radio 4Stephen Fry explains Rene Descartes argument 'Cogito Ergo Sum' - 'I think, therefore I am'. Watch now: OU on the BBC: A History of Ideas - Descartes Cogito Ergo Sum
The RavensSaturday, 18th April 2015 23:05 - BBC World Service Radio
The RavensSunday, 19th April 2015 04:05 - BBC World Service Radio
Thinking Allowed: The Ethnography Award 'Shortlist' 2015Monday, 20th April 2015 00:15 - BBC Radio 4
A History of Ideas - Erving Goffman's Performed SelfAvailable until Thursday, 14th April 2016 08:15Do you have a fixed character? Or do you play many roles based on the situation? Stephen Fry explains Erving Goffman... Watch now: OU on the BBC: A History of Ideas - Erving Goffman's Performed Self
Thinking Allowed: The Ethnography Award 'Shortlist' 2015Available until Friday, 15th April 2016 09:45
A History of Ideas - John Locke and personal memoryAvailable until Thursday, 14th April 2016 11:15
OU on The BBC: A History of Ideas - What does it mean to be me?Available until Wednesday, 13th April 2016 10:45
The Secret History Of Our Streets - Deptford High StreetHow did the "Oxford Street of South London" come to be one of the poorest shopping streets in... Read more: The Secret History Of Our Streets - Deptford High Street
The Election Debate Visualisation ProjectEven though social media is thoroughly embedded in voters’ culture we have yet to come up with an... Read more: The Election Debate Visualisation Project
Writing what you knowDo you want to improve your descriptive writing? This free course, Writing what you know, will... Try: Writing what you know now
Succeed with maths – Part 1[BETA] If you feel that maths is a mystery that you want to unravel then this short 8-week course... Try: Succeed with maths – Part 1 now
What is active reading? It is reading with the aim of understanding and grasping...
What is active reading? It is reading with the aim of understanding and grasping something. While studying this unit, you will be focusing on the variety of methods for presenting and organising qualitative and quantitative evidence in the form of numbers and text, and learn how to understand the ways in which evidence is presented and to read it actively and with purpose.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- identify that social scientists can collect evidence to support their claims and theories in different ways;
- give examples of quantitative and qualitative evidence;
- recognise a variety of methods for obtaining evidence;
- understand the ways in which evidence can be presented; how to read it actively and with purpose.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Overview
- 1 The importance of evidence
- 1.2 Quantitative evidence
- 1.3 Qualitative evidence
- 1.4 Conclusion
Social scientists collect evidence to support their claims and theories in different ways. Such evidence is crucial to the practice of social science and to the production of social scientific knowledge.
You may be aware of the idea of active reading, which is about reading with the aim of understanding and grasping something: a definition, an argument, a piece of evidence. What that suggests is that active reading is about reading and thinking at the same time. In this unit we will concentrate on reading and thinking at the same time about evidence in the form of numbers and in the form of text.
The summary 'Evidence in the social sciences: finding it, using it', is a useful place to start:
The evidence social scientists gather is shaped by the questions they ask, the claims they make and the theories they use.
Evidence can be described in two main ways, as quantitative and qualitative.
There are a variety of methods for obtaining evidence, there are important choices to be made about who and where you collect evidence from.
There are a variety of methods for presenting and organising evidence.
Once presented, evidence does not speak for itself. It needs to be interpreted and is open to many interpretations.
The quality, reliability and authenticity of evidence always needs to be probed for potential bias, limits and blind spots.
In this unit we will be focusing mostly on the variety of methods for presenting and organising qualitative and quantitative evidence. So, we will focus on how to understand the ways in which evidence is presented, how to read it actively and with purpose.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from An introduction to the social sciences: understanding social change (DD100) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Sociology course units or view the range of currently available OU Sociology courses.