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Transcript of Research Methods
Using existing material and analyze data that were originally collected by others (govt. agencies, University research, etc.)
Takes existing data and applies Sociology to it
-the systematic examination of cultural artifacts or various forms of communication to extract thematic data and draw conclusions about social life
the study of social life in its natural setting: observing and interviewing people where they live, work and play
Carefully designed situation in which the researcher studies the impact of certain variables on subjects attitudes or behavior
Survey-A poll in which the researcher gathers facts to determine the relationships among facts
Most widely used method in Sociology
Typically produces Quantitative data
Multiple types of Survey research: Questionnaire, Interview, etc.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Survey Research
-Useful for analyzing large populations
Standardized questions tend to put people into narrow categories
Self reported information may also lead to dishonest answers
Strengths and Weaknesses of Secondary Analysis
Data is readily available and inexpensive
Chances of bias is reduced
Researcher does not always know if the data is incomplete, or inaccurate
Certain behavior can best be studied by "being there"
Used predominantly to collect qualitative data
Many different types of field research (participant observation, case studies, ethnography, unstructured interviews)
Strengths and Weaknesses of Field Research
Very useful for situations where behaviors need to be seen in their natural setting to be understood
Useful for seeing how behaviors change over time
Inability to generalize due to studying a specific group
Data collected may be very descriptive, but does not typically work well for specific measurement
-contains the subjects who are exposed to an independent variable to study its effect on them
-contains the subjects who are not exposed to the independent variable
-a relationship that exists when two variables are associated more frequently than could be expected by chance
Experiment Example Exercise
What is the experimental group?
What is the control group?
What is the independent variable?
What is the dependent variable?
Experiment Example Exercise
A classroom of 20 students is given a written test. Half of the students (we will call "group A") are exposed to a repetitive and loud distracting noise during the test, while the other half of the students (we will call "group B") has a quiet environment. At the end of the test we will measure the compared scores.
Correlation does not always equal Causation
This is known as a "spurious correlation"
-a correlation between two variables that does not result from any direct relation between them but from their relation to other variables