Discussion Questions

  1. What is the difference between common sense and sociological knowledge? Identify one piece of common sense that you believe is important for one to be aware of in American society. How might a sociologist approach this understanding and attempt to transform it into sociological knowledge?
  2. Imagine you are tasked with investigating how one’s views on the American National Anthem influences one’s level of support for NFL players who kneel in protest of American treatment of African Americans, historically and today. What variables would you use to conduct this study? How might you operationalize them? What would be your sample? How would you work to remove bias from your study? How would you ensure that your findings would be both reliable and valid?
  3. Kellyanne Conway introduced “alternative facts” into the American lexicon; watch this brief clip if you are unaware of this story--https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/conway-press-secretary-gave-alternative-facts-860142147643. What are alternative facts? How might alternative facts be used by interested parties to dissuade people from believing in scientific research? Is it absolutely necessary that we automatically trust every scientific study, or must we approach every piece of data with a degree of scrutiny?