Empirical data on the Current Social Problems of Your Society

Your Task is to Observe the News to Collect Empirical data on the Current Social Problems of Your Society


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Over the next few weeks,

Watch the Nightly National News

(CBS, NBC, ABC), at 6:30pm locally,

for the 1/2

hour news broadcast on three (3) separate, nonconsecutive occasions. For best results, watch or record the

TV news program, though, if that is unfeasible, you may use an

alternative form of media,

i.e., newspaper or internet

). Be observant.

The information collected is the Empirical Data that

YOU will analyze.


Record and Make Notes on every News Item (see below example)

.  These are your “field notes”

Be sure to note

any statistics or relevant “facts” discussed during the news


At the top of the 1st page of the typed Research

Report/Summary, clearly list all 3 of the news events or data sources you reviewed


Use the following format: EXAMPLE

Monday, March 6, 2008    NBC

6:30 Tom Brokaw (Channel 5).

My example of “field notes”: Monday, March 6, 2000


6:00 Tom Brokaw (Channel 5, Dahlonega)



1)   Decision 2000

eve of super Tuesday, Bush leads McClain, McClain bigger is smaller, northeastern states.

Polls can’t be trusted. Dirty tactics by Bush with Anti

McClain ads, he filing complaint.




2)  Now for Democrat Battle.  Gore is far ahead of Bradley. Instead, Gore is focusing on taking on Bush on issues like campaign reform

and health insurance.

Health care and economy




As  you  watch  and  collect  data,

Begin to Critically  Question the  information  you  collected.

Then,write down at least five questions that you have about the news you have watched



Suggested questions are:

Are there  some  reoccurring  problems?  What  are the  leading  stories?  Which  of

The news items are considered social problems? WHY? What type of problem is it: health, economic, etc.?


Do the problems presented affect a significant number of people or a number of significant people?


Based on the commercial: Who watches this stuff? Are wealthy, white men more likely to watch? Why?


Why don’t they

talk about “real” news? Do they socially construct their version of reality?

What’s the “spin?”


Do these social problems reflect any personal troubles, as Mills would suggest? Tell me why? What social problems or personal troubles are: not being discussed, glossed over, or dramatized?


Based on

YOUR Collected News data:

Type Up Your Research Report, a summary in which you will:

a)Select YOUR THREE Most Serious Social Problems you think exist today and briefly tell me why

You think the topics you selected are to be considered “serious social problems”.

Use the criteria for a social problem

does this “behavior or condition” affect a significant

number of people or does it affects a number of significant people, or both);


provide any statistics, scientific findings, or results of public opinion poll

s (their data) stated

during the

broadcast (and from text) that might substantiate your argument;


finally, make note of and discuss the suggested “conditions, causes, consequences, or constructions”

offered by the media. Or, not


After thinking about the data you collected,

Select One of the Social Problems, THIS IS YOUR SOCIAL PROBLEM THAT YOU believe warrants the most public concern and is in need

of “

public solution


Tell me why? Try to apply each of the three

sociological perspectives (SF

, SI

, and SC) to the problem

to help you better understand the many

dimensions of the problem



After Dissecting the

One Social Problem that you think is the biggest, baddest, or warrants concern



Discuss Previous or Current Solutions for Your Problem that may have failed;


TRY to Propose New

and Better Solutions

that would “prevent, alleviate, or cure” the problem.

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