The Process of Deduction

As sociologist, we conduct research in order to help answer some questions that we have about society. But what steps do sociologists take during a research project? For this blog post, we will be explaining the process of deduction. Let’s use examples that relate to the Tiny Children’s Garden. 

The first step in the process of deduction is finding a theory. Symbolic Interaction is a theory developed by Mead that says the behaviors of individuals is a social process. So people’s behaviors can change based on how they interact with things in society (Reitzes, 1992).

So now that we have a theory we can form a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a question that you can test how things react. For the Tiny Children’s Garden, we are predicting that by building an accessible garden community we think there will be an increase in community involvement in environmental participation.  In other words, we think that the community of Washington Park will come in use and learn from the garden if we build it.

The next step in the process is Data Collection. When setting up a research project there are two types of research, Quantitative and Qualitative. Quantitative is data that can be counted or measured. If we were to apply this to the Tiny Children’s Garden we could count how many people come to the garden and measure how participation in the garden increases or decreases. Qualitative is data that is descriptive. If we were to measure the Tiny Children’s Garden qualitatively we would ask people of Washington Park their opinion of the garden being built. Our data would then be recording whether people liked having the garden built or didn’t like it being built.

After we have collected our data we can report our findings. If we decided to measure the data quantitatively our findings would be the number of people who came to the garden. If we decided to measure the data qualitatively then our findings would be the opinions people had on the garden being built.

From our findings, we can determine if our hypothesis was correct. Since our hypothesis was “we think that there will be an increase in community participation in sustainability if we build a garden”. So if our findings from the data showed that there was an increase in people to the garden, or if we found that when we asked people they said they really liked the garden, then our hypothesis would be supported. But if nobody comes to the garden after it is built or when we ask people about the garden they say they don’t like it then our hypothesis would not be supported.

Lastly, we have the revision of the theory. At the beginning of this process, we based our project on the Symbolic Interaction theory. This theory says that people’s behavior will change with how they interact with things in society (Reitzes, 1992). If our hypothesis was not supported that would mean this theory does not work for this project and we would have to look to a new theory.




That is the process of deduction when conducting a research project. Now that you know the process of deduction … 


How would you set up a research project?


Do you think our hypothesis will be supported? Do you think people’s participation in sustainability will increase if a garden is built?


What else could we add to this project that could support our hypothesis? What could we add to the garden that could help increase community involvement?



Reitzes, D. C., & Reitzes, D. C. 1992. “Saul D. Alinsky: An Applied Urban Symbolic Interactionist.” Symbolic Interaction, 15(1): 1–24.



Communicating with the Community

I will start off this blog with a video of Vauxhall, New Jersey breaking ground on their community garden. This video made me think of our community project with Ms. Derissa Davis and Mr. Kenneth Brown, and how they are just two ordinary people and we are just one ordinary class. Together though, we are going to build an incredible garden.

One of our goals is to design and fundraise for the garden this fall. We will also help Ms. Davis and Mr. Brown prepare the site so that it is ready to build on in the spring. We all have amazing ideas for this garden and, as Ms. Davis said, “There is no idea too big for this garden.” Washington Park area does not have access to food markets that carry fresh produce nearby. The community garden will help address this problem.

This week, we read two sociology articles that help frame our work. The first article is titled “Community-Based Participatory Research and the Co-Creation of Community Knowledge” and was written by Karie Jo Peralta and John W. Murphy. In community-based participatory research (CBPR), the researcher gains information from a community guide, who helps tell the story of the community. We must learn the community’s story in order to help it achieve its goals. As a class, we must always communicate with the community in a respectable way, honoring their culture, their history, and their stories. By doing so, we become equal partners with the community.

The second reading is titled, “Whose Culture Has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth,” by Tara J. Yosso. Yosso points out that too often people think about communities in terms of their problems, but by doing so they miss the beauty and strengths of those communities. Instead, Yosso says we should consider the assets that communities of color in particular often have. Communities of color, for example, usually have an abundance of aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial, and resistant capital. In other words, they have hope even under the worst of conditions (aspirational capital). They also have great skills at navigating social institutions like schools and government despite those institutions being rooted in racism (navigational capital). Communities of color often have extensive networks (social capital) that extend the reach of the family to kinships and friendships (familial capital) through traditional storytelling (linguistic capital). Finally, communities of color have tremendous resistant capital, meaning that they have knowledge and skills that develop in the fight against oppression and for inclusion. As we, the class, come to recognize these assets in the Washington Park community, we will be better able to create new knowledge with the residents.

What I was able to take away from these readings was that sociology is a way to visualize and carry out the goal of the community garden.


Were you able to find similarities in the readings?

Is this your first time using community based participatory research (CBPR)?

How did you relate the readings to the community garden in Washington Park?

Listening to the Stories and Sharing the Cultural Capital of the Community

This week’s readings deal with the idea of knowledge and capital, or assets, in communities. What is knowledge, how do we obtain it, where does it come from, why is it valuable? Knowledge is a set of ideas based on observations made by people. But who gets to decide what is knowledge worth sharing? This is also true for capital, meaning what is identified as assets in a community is a result of what people think is important. Many of us think of capital as money, but what about other types of assets in a community? In sociology, capital is defined as anything that adds value to a community. But who decides what is considered as adding value? Too often, those who are in charge, who have a larger percentage of the resources, and who have power decide. This is a problem because all too often, the people who decide what is valuable knowledge and assets in a community are wealthy white people. This means the knowledge and assets of countless individuals, families, and even entire communities is not valued simply because those who are in charge tend to work to maintain the way things are as not to lose their position on the social ladder.

The community garden in Washington Park will highlight the social and cultural assets in the community. What we know, or our knowledge, is based on three parts: the one who knows, what is known, and how we know what we know. Washington Park community members are the knowers. They are the heartbeat of the community, the families that live, work, learn, and play here every day. What is known is their stories, their wants, desires, and dreams. As community partners with Washington Park, it is our job to learn those stories, wants, desires, and dreams so that we may better support the community’s wishes. The process of knowing is what we get to do! We get to meet community members and listen to their stories. We need to listen, really hear, what the people of the community want and need so that we can better understand how we can support their goals. It’s our responsibility to understand the stories from their perspective, and not as outsiders. The outsider’s point of view has been seen and heard enough already. It’s time to bring to life the rich history, generations of families and their stories, and the traditions that make Washington Park a community. By learning their stories, we also become better sociologists.

Questions for consideration:

  1. What do you consider to be your community’s biggest cultural asset?
  2. What could happen to our communities if we don’t listen to the perspective of the people who live in the communities?
  3. We’re using community based research for a community garden, what are some other projects that could benefit from getting local stories and input?