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Flashcards in Definitions Q-V Deck (30)
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A set of questions that can be closed-ended and/or open-ended that allows for the collection of information from a large sample or number of people. It is an impersonal instrument for collecting information and must, therefore, contain clear questions that have been worded as simply as possible to avoid any confusion or ambiguity. The questionnaire should be designed
to fulfil a specific research objective; it should be brief and the sequence of questions should be logical.



A social construction, the members of which are treated as distinct or different on the basis of certain characteristics, some biological, that have been assigned a social value by others – for example, skin colour or other physical characteristics.



An individual’s or group’s prejudice or discriminatory behaviours towards those from another ethnic or ‘racial’ background. Social practices that discriminate against others on the basis of ‘race’ can be institutionalised within the organisational structures of society.


Research Design

The way that the researcher develops and sequences the research methods, and the ways in which these are applied to collect the research data, according to the principles elaborated through the choice of underpinning methodology.


Research Method

The term ‘method’ refers to the specific tools of the investigation, or the ways that data can be collected and analysed – for example, content analysis, focus group, interview, observation, participant observation, personal reflection, questionnaire, secondary research and statistical analysis.



The social, civil and political rights accorded to individuals. These include human rights – the fundamental rights that individuals should have as humans, such as the right to life, equality before the law, education and freedom of belief.



A series of actions or rites performed according to a prescribed order. Rituals range in significance. Some are sacred to institutions and others can be important to people for maintaining tradition and cultural heritage. Some rituals can be referred to as part of an established routine.


Secondary Research

The researcher collects and collates existing information or other people’s research on a topic to be investigated. This information is then synthesised as a whole by the researcher. Secondary research is a qualitative method because the researcher makes subjective judgements about what material is useful, and therefore used, for the purposes of the research. Secondary research information can be derived from formal reports, journals, newspapers, magazines and other publications.



A process whereby religion loses its influence over the various spheres of social life. Secular society has emerged from the modernisation process whereby the rise of scientific knowledge and technological advancements have shaped ideas about spiritual thinking in society.



Composed of the various identities, attitudes, beliefs and values that an individual holds about himself or herself and by which the individual defines himself or herself as a specific objective identity: the ‘self’.


Social Class

Those members of a society who occupy a similar position in the economic system of production. The different social classes experience wide variations in wealth, status, material possessions, education, power and authority. The hierarchical nature of the class system is expressed
in labels such as ‘upper class’, ‘middle class’, ‘lower middle class’ and ‘working class’. While the division of society into a series of social classes is a form of social stratification, social mobility is possible.


Social Cognition

The encoding, storage, retrieval and processing of information in an individual’s mind.


Social Construct

A socially created aspect of social life. Social constructionists argue that society is actively and creatively produced by human beings rather than being merely given or taken for granted.


Social Differentiation

As society becomes more complex, differences between groups are used to distinguish between them. These differences may be based on biological or physiological differences, such as gender or ethnicity, or sociocultural differences, such as class and status. These criteria divide society into social groups on the basis of perceived differences between groups.


Social Exclusion

The failure of society to provide individuals and groups with access to those rights that are normally extended to its members, such as the right to work, education, health care, technologies and adequate housing. Social exclusion reflects inadequate social cohesion and integration;
at the individual level, it reflects the lack of capacity to participate in what is normally expected in the society or to develop meaningful social relationships.


Social Mobility

The ability of individuals and groups to move vertically within a social hierarchy with changes in income, occupation and so on.


Social Stratification

A systematic way in which people or groups of people are ranked in society. A stratified or hierarchical arrangement of status can be formed on the basis of age, gender, class, caste, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or income. An open system of stratification is where increased status can be gained through merit and effort. A closed system of stratification is where there
is no opportunity for social mobility.



The process by which individuals learn to become functioning members of society by internalising the roles, norms and values of that society. Socialisation occurs as a result of the individual’s interaction with the agents of socialisation, through which he or she learns to perform social roles.


Socioeconomic Status

A measure of an individual’s class standing, typically indicated by income, occupational prestige, educational attainment and wealth.


Statistical Analysis

Examining data to interpret meaning, make generalisations and extrapolate trends. Often the data is in graphical form. Because data is expressed in the language of mathematics, they should be evaluated and interpreted by means of appropriate mathematical or statistical procedures.



The preconceived view of the characteristics of a group held by individuals who are not members of that group. These views are usually negative, generalised and inflexible, and ignore differences that exist between the members of the stereotyped group.



A social or cultural group within a broader culture. Members of a subcultural group share beliefs, social and cultural interests, and patterns of behaviour that tend to unify them and distinguish them from the broader culture in which they live. Subcultural groups exist at the micro, meso and macro levels of society.



The required development to meet current human needs, whether economic, social or environmental, without jeopardising the needs
of future generations or the health of the planet for all species depending on it for their existence. Sustainability implies deliberate, responsible and proactive decision-making from the local to the global level about a more equitable distribution of resources and the minimisation of negative impacts of humans on the planet.



Symbols have the ability to culturally unify a group of people through their representation and meaning. Symbols such as places, actions, words, people and rituals are layered with meaning and valuable information for different groups in society.



The tools that we use to assist our interactions in society. Technologies can be referred to as innovation and can initiate change to micro, meso and macro operations in society. The value placed on technologies at any level of society influences the rate of change to society and culture. Technologies are constantly changing and adapting and their impacts vary over time.



The body of cultural practices and beliefs that are passed down from generation to generation, often by word of mouth and behavioural modelling, that are integral to the socialisation process and that represent stability and continuity of the society or culture.


Transformative Change

A process whereby personal and social structures and systems work to create broad-based social change that completely alters existing structures within society. To be transformative, change needs to occur at multiple levels that combine shifts in people’s values, aspirations and behaviours with wider shifts in processes, strategies, practices and systems of the society. Transformative change is profound and permanent.



Deeply held ideas and beliefs that guide our thinking, language and behaviour. Differences in values exist among groups of people in society and are a part of one’s culture. Values can be challenged.



A social process where the values, customs and practices of Western industrial capitalism are adopted to form the basis of cultural change.



A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world that is characterised by an organised and accepted set of ideas that attempts to explain the social, cultural, physical and psychological world.