Chance and Probability

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Book Chapter

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Methods in Sociology, probability, quantitative methods

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Chance is an informal concept, sometimes meaning probability, sometimes meaning randomness. Probability is a formal mathematical concept expressed in its most simple form as dependent probability, which is a number between 0 and 1 that represents the likelihood that, for example, a person with one property will have another property. Thus, the probability of a live birth being female is a dependent probability in which the two properties are live birth and female. Probabilities may also be assigned to beliefs. In this case, known as subjective probability, the number represents the strength with which we believe another belief to be true. This is the kind of probability that one employs in making a bet with a friend about whether or not something is true.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Chance and Probability, in G. Ritzer, J. M. Ryan & B. Thorn (Eds.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (1st Ed.), John Wiley & Sons, p. 425-426