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How Sociologists Do Research

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Veronica Robertson

on 3 June 2015

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Transcript of How Sociologists Do Research

Sociological Research 1. Tradition
2. Authority
3. Casual Observation
4. Overgeneralization
5. Selective observation Thinking Unscientifically 6. Qualification
7. Illogical reasoning
8. Ego-defence
9. Premature closure of inquiry
10. Mystification I know it's true because my professor told me.
I've studied this for ten years, there's no way I'm wrong!
Smoking isn't harmful, my grandfather smoked a pack a day and lived to be 95!
I failed that test because mercury was retrograde.
I always choose the slowest line at the grocery store! 1. Formulate Question
2. Review literature
3. Select research method
4. Collect data
5. Analyze data
6. Report results The Research Cycle University of Victoria Human Research Ethics Based on the Tri- Council Policy Statement (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) Respect for Human Dignity
Respect for Free and Informed Consent
Respect for Vulnerable Persons
Respect for Privacy and Confidentiality
Respect for Justice and Inclusiveness
Balancing Harms and Benefits
Minimizing Harm
Maximizing Benefit All University of Victoria faculty, students and staff require either ethics approval or a waiver approval from the Human Research Ethics Board (HREB) if their research involves human participants, remains, cadavers, tissues, biological fluids, embryos or foetuses, and DNA/RNA or fragments of DNA/RNA Experiment Methods of Sociological Research a carefully controlled artificial situation that allows researchers to isolate presumed causes and measure effects precisely
involves random assignment of subjects to treatment groups
dependent variable is the behaviour being measured
independent variable is the treatment
control group receives no treatment Survey the most widely used sociological research method
may be conducted face-to-face, my mail, over the phone or via internet
questions may be open-ended or close-ended Field Research Methods of Sociological Research systematically observing people wherever they associate naturally Analysis of Existing Documents Sociology at UVic What ethical principles were violated in this study? Would this gain approval from ethics boards today? Think! Think! In the Stanford Prison Experiment, what was the dependent variable?

What was the independent variable? Analyzing Data a relationship exists between two variables if the value of one variable changes with the value of the other
relationship does not indicate causation
to infer causation, researchers must demonstrate 1. the variables systematically change together (though not necessarily in the same direction)
2. the independent variable changed before observed changes in the dependent variable
3. the observed relationship is authentic (i.e. non-spurious) Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickle and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America

William Foote White
Street Corner Society There's lots of data out there! Stats Canada, UN, World Bank

Content Analysis
a technique to study documents (newspapers, TV recordings etc) Disdvantage:
often contain biases reflecting the interests of the party that compiled the data 1Mr. Smith is poor even though he works hard, but that’s because he has a disability. People with disabilities are the only exception to the rule that if you work hard you will get ahead.

2. I was clubbing last night and I saw it as the bouncer who started the fight.

3. I’ve looked through the client’s medical records and it clearly shows she can’t
do any work. Also –One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

4. There must be supernatural forces at work here

5. Don get’s dumped yet again and says, “It was meant to be”

6. Using racial or other profiling in police work

7. This matter is settled – swans are only white 8. The Mariners won 50% of their games over the last 3 months, but they won 75% of the games they played on Thursdays. So, they’ll likely win this coming Thursday. (Same with coin flips)

9. Chicken soup helps get rid of a cold. I know this because it worked for my parent and my grandparents.

10. We worked on this cure for 20 years and spent thousands of dollars, and I don’t believe the results of the double blind test – we can’t be wrong.

11. George Bush saying. You’re either for me or against me.The number of storks in a region (independent variable) and the number of births in an area (dependent variable) are positively related. 12. People that drink expensive red wine live loner than average. Therefore expensive red wine is healthful.
13. The ship sank and we talked to the survivors – most of them prayed during the storm. Prayer therefore works.
14. I studied 5 millionaires and their lives were characterized by risk taking, optimism, and courage. (Similar to –that business plan worked so well, it’s the way to do it).
15. Interviews of life-long gamblers indicate they all believed and experienced beginner’s luck. There is therefore such a thing as beginners luck
16. Using the past to predict the future (Yogi Berra)
18. If I’m not on top, I’m a flop.
19. Nothing ever goes well for me
20. He’s only saying that to be kind. http://www.cb1.com/~john/thoughts/Errors-in-logic.html
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