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SCLY4 - Factors affecting choice of Method

SCLY 4 - F.A.C.O.M

Alan Mears

on 2 February 2013

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Transcript of SCLY4 - Factors affecting choice of Method

Finally Reflexivity....

When social research reflects and is shaped by the researcher. What we see and how we interpret things is shaped by our background, experience and culture.

Reflexive also means that we should be critical of our research and findings and the extent to which we have influenced respondents In the Beginning.... Factors affecting choice of method During your AS course you would have covered factors affecting choice of method. Remember the PET who dresses like a TRAMP, DRIPS sweat & PIQQ's its nose???

Sociologists need to take account of these Practical, Ethical & Theoretical considerations when they choose their research method(s).

Your choice of method is also important, as some methods are better suited to researching particular topics To be a Positivist or Interpretivist - that is the question? Taylor et al point out there is a danger that we have a simple view of 'Two sociologies': One which is Scientific and the other that seeks to understand the world.

If this was an accurate picture of society, your choice of method would be simple as it would be determined by whether you were a positivist or an interpretivist....

In reality this is a MYTH!!!! Many sociologists advocate METHODOLOGICAL PLURALISM in which both Quantitiative & qualitiative methods are used Practical Factors Under the influence The practical considerations and Choice of topic have as much influence on the method as theoretical considerations as some 'new' approaches like Feminism or Postmodernism do not fit neatly into either quanatitiative/ qualitative or Positivist/ interpretivist styles.

Therefore other factors will have an effect on research methods:
Methodological Assumptions of the researcher : Positivist or Interpretivist (REMEMBER THIS IS NOT A SIMPLE DIVIDE!)
Practical considerations like Time & money
Topic to be studied e.g. Deviant groups
Theoretical Perspective e.g. Feminist or Interpretivist Ethical considerations Informed consent - research participants should be offered the right to refuse to participate, the research needs to be explained fully so they can make an informed decision
Confidentiality and privacy - researchers should keep the identity of participants secret, respecting their privacy and keeping personal information confidential
Effects on research participants – researchers need to be aware of any possible harmful effects of their work on those under study and must try to avoid them
Vulnerable groups – special care should be taken where research participants are particularly vulnerable because of age, disability, or physical or mental health
Covert research – this may involve deceiving people and make it impossible to gain informed consent. However, some sociologists argue that covert methods may be justified in order to gain access to secretive, deviant or powerful groups. Ethical issues Humphreys study of the tea room trade is a good example of both TRIANGULATION (He used observations and interviews) but also ETHICAL issues V.S. Remember TRAMP TIME & MONEY
Some methods are more costly and time consuming than others. some research has easier access to funding than others.

Source and requirements of FUNDING BODIES
If funding is provided, the research may have to be collected in a certain way or have the results presented in a certain style. EG. the Govt prefer quantitative data for most of their studies PERSONAL SKILLS, preference and characteristics of the researcher & the nature of the topic
These may affect the choice of methods. for example - unstructured interviews may require the ability to establish a Rapport - some researchers may find this difficult so opt for a different method.

Subject matter including the size and nature of the group
it may be harder to study particular groups with certain methods EG. written questionnaires may be useless for studying those who cannot read. Research chance and opportunity
If the opportunity to carry out research occurs unexpectedly or infrequently, it may not be possible to use structured methods such as questionnaires or interviews which take preparation

Availability and access
Some groups are much harder to access than others. EG gang leaders or Drug dealers. Theoretical Factors Remember PIQQ Validity & Reliability

Representiveness & Generalisability

Data may be difficult to analyse

Methodological perspective - Positivist / Interpretivist

Theoretical Perspective FIELDING's study of the national front raised a number of ethical issues as he did not just conceal his intentions but actually lied about them. He also published his findings with the original names of the national front members - who he openly opposed
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