A Justice Site
CSUDH Habermas UWP
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: June 6, 2001
Latest update: January 31 , 2002
final submitted draft of the article.
- Concept check for Lecture 1: Planning moot court.
- secondary analysis
- needs assessment
- descriptive analysis
- thesis project
- civil discourse project
- How is the thesis project related to the thesis?
Consider whether your objective is to rewrite theory or push further forward our understanding of sociological phenomena, or whether your objective is to provide a tool or resource to aid in the practical management of a social issue.
- How does needs assessment relate to the thesis project?
Consider whether the project will result in a tool or report that someone out there needs and wants. If not, we're just creating busy work.
- How does needs assessment relate to briefs on social issues for civil discourse?
Consider sound bites and the quick media fix shape the decisions and opinions of many people. If we have to make hard decisions, based on our knowledge and understanding of social issues, shouldn't we have a deeper and more extensive knowledge of what's going on? What about those who lost their jobs and their pensions over the Enron fiasco? Civil discourse permits us to debate such issues and participate in the decision-making that will influence the outcomes, but we need to have the basic knowledge from which to make those decisions. Sound bites just won't do.
- What is descriptive analysis?
Consider that some theoretical approaches are aimed at developing theories and testing them about the causes of social problems. But we also need to just plain understand the issues and what's going on in the structural context of our lifeworld. For those needs, descriptive analysis provides us with an overview and some understanding, without attempting to predict outcomes and prove causal relationships.
- What is secondary analysis?
Consider the enormous costs, in personnel and in time, to gather data. In secondary analysis, we use the data already collected by large research institutes or other earlier researchers, and re-analyze it to discover new insights.
Consider also that sometimes we do not need to re-analyze the data; we need only to gather it into some effective form or digest in which others will have access to the information. This shifts us towards praxis, and tools for application of what we know, instead of to pure research that tries to deepen our understanding of social phenomena for purposes of scientific inquiry.
- How does secondary analysis relate to civil discourse?
Civil discourse is praxis. We do less analysis that gathering of information and exploring how the data already present and published bear on the social issues and validity claims at issue.