[MUSIC] In this course, we've learned about social sciences. We learned that social science differs from the humanities, journalism, and related areas in terms of its focus on generalizable knowledge. By developing theories and then testing them through the collection and analysis of data from specific context, social scientists seek to understand the general rules that govern the operation of society, politics, and the economy. Social scientists not only consider individuals and their interactions with each other and their outcomes, but social entities made up of individuals including families, neighborhoods, firms, organizations, and entire countries and societies. Social science, moreover, is divided into disciplines such as sociology, political science, and economics. Each of which has a specific focus. We learned that discovery in social science proceeds iteratively, as we cycle from observation to theory development, hypothesis specification, data collection, and analysis, and then back to observation and theory development. One of the most important steps in the cycle is the translation of theories about relationships between sometimes abstract concepts into hypotheses about relationships that we may observe in the real world. We also learned how social scientists face challenges distinct from the ones faced by natural and life scientists. Early social scientists were originally inspired by the example of the life and the natural sciences. But it is clear that studying people, and their interactions with each other, present several special challenges. The first challenge we face in social science is that one of the most important techniques for knowledge discovery in the life and natural sciences, experiments, are impractical or unethical for many of the topics that social scientists are most interested in. Like astronomers and other scientists who can't conduct experiments on the objects of their study, social scientists have to make do with observational studies. Observational studies in social science, however, present their own challenges. In contrast with most of the objects studied in the natural and life sciences, people make choices that are influenced by their past, and which anticipate the future. People are always changing. Not only are people different from each other, but the same person may think and act differently from day to day, or even minute to minute. Because of this, it is tremendously difficult in social science to prove cause and effect. When we conduct observational studies, it is almost impossible to rule out the possibility that something else that we are not accounting for in our analysis, an omitted variable, may be influencing the outcome that we're interested in, as well as the variables that we are considering in our study, creating a spurious relationship. In some cases, cause and effect may even be reversed from the one that we expect from our theory. We introduced some of the basic approaches that social scientists now use to establish cause and effect in the face of these challenges. These include traditional approaches such as introducing control variables in a statistical analysis, as well as approaches that have become more popular in recent years such as natural and quasi experiments, instrumental variable analysis, and matching approaches. What you have learned so far should be enough to make you an educated and critical consumer of results of social science research reported in the media and elsewhere. You should now be able to assess whether a study addressed the challenges that we talked about, and whether the claims made by a study are justified. Part two of this course, will start you on the road of becoming a producer of social science research. By introducing you to how we design studies. We will build on what we have already covered to learn how to plan and conduct a study. We'll go through each of the steps starting with the development of a proposal. We'll give special attention to the sources of data that are available to us for use in an analysis, with special focus on sources for the study of China. We'll learn about ethical and professional issues that we need to keep in mind as we pursue our research. We'll conclude with a discussion of next steps for you to pursue your interest in social science, including choosing a discipline and a program for the pursuit of advanced or postgraduate training. We'll even talk about preparing your application. I look forward to seeing you again in part two, as you continue your journey to becoming a social science researcher.