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sociology: research methods

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Emily Stockdale

on 11 March 2013

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Transcript of sociology: research methods

secondary sources other methods research
methods non participant/participant/overt/covert strengths advantages Lab experiment- Sampling sample frame- social surveys observations Experiments
lab/field/comparative method Lab the experiment is carried out in an artificial environment in which the scientist is able to control all the different variables to see what effect they have.
example= Milgram's experiment on obedience to authority field the experiment takes place in natural surroundings rather than in an artificial one. those involved are also unaware there the subject of a experiment.
example = the Hawthorne effect and Rosenthal's pseudopatient’ experiment comparative method this experiment is carried out in the mind and it does not involve the researcher actually experimenting on real people at all.
example= Emile Durkheim experiment on suicide non participant the researcher simply observes the group without taking part in it participant the researcher actually
takes part in the event
or the everyday life of
the group while observing it. overt the researcher makes heir true identity and purpose known to those being studied. covert observational research where the researcher conceals the fact their doing research interviews structured involves asking people a set of prepared questions. the questions are usually closed-ended o pre-coded answers. unstructured the interviewer has complete freedom
to vary the interview. interviews (path 6) questionnaires lists of questions written down in advance and asked in a fixed order. questions may be; open-ended-
answers
however
they like closed-
fixed
answers multi-choice-
options to
pick for scaled-
options
based
on a scale official statistics quantitative data gathered by the government or other official bodies. (statistics on births, deaths etc) documents refers to any written text, such as personal diaries, government reports etc. public and personal documents; public are produced by organizations, such as government departments, schools, welfare etc where as personal include items, such as letters, diaries, photo albums and autobiographies. historical documents either public or personal but it was created
in the past content analysis the method for dealing systematically
with the contents of documents case studies, longitudinal studies and life histories case studies involves the detailed examination of
single case or example, such as a
school, family or workplace. longitudinal studies one that follows the same sample or
group over an extended period of time. life histories these are often used in case studies
of individuals. a list of all the members of the population we are interested in studying. random sample- the simplest technique where the sample is selected purely by chance e.g. names out of a hat quasi-random sample- similar to random, but every tenth or hundred name on a list is selected. stratified random- starts by firstly dividing the population into males and females and then taking a one percent sample of each. this ensures that we end up with equal numbers of each sex. Quota sample- similar to stratified random but instead of choosing the samples for each category randomly, the researcher goes out looking for the right number of each sort of person. snowball sample- collecting a sample by contacting a number of key individuals, who are asked to suggest others who might be interviewed until enough data has been collected. sampling (path 5) strengths and limitations
of questionnaires reliability- a questionnaire is identical to the original when repeated
representativeness- results have a greater chance at being generalizable to the wider population
hypothesis testing- useful for testing for cause and effect relationship between variables
practical- quick and cheap, data i easy to quantify and there is no need to recruit and train interviewers
detachment and objectivity- involvement is kept at a minimum as they are completed at a distance
ethical issues- respondents are under no obligation to answer them and generally no harm occurs. limitations inflexibility- stuck withing what they have decided to ask
lying, forgetting and right answerism- may get elaborate answers or lies
imposing the researchers meaning- researcher already decided what is important
snapshot- gives a picture of social reality at the time the questionnaire was filled in
response rate- some people don't respond to questionnaires
detachment- some argue hat the only way to see the true picture is by getting close to the subject
practical- data is limited and sometimes responents incentives to fill them out which can be costly positivists favor this method
high in reliability as its structured/set up field experiment- high in validity as its not artificial (true to real life)
typically, no Hawthrone effect comparative experiment- not artificial
can study past events
its ethical Disadvantages lab experiment- low in validity as its artificial, not true to real life
practical issues e.g time, cost etc field experiment- ethics as the participant doesn't know there being observed comparative experiment- less control so the researcher can't be certain about the cause and effect overt observation advantages + avoids ethical problems
+ allows naive yet important questions to be asked
+ can openly take notes
+ can use interview methods to check insight disadvantages
- groups may deny permission
- risks the Hawthorne effect
- reduces validity covert observation advantages + practical= preserves the naturalness
+ No Hawthorne effect disadvantages - ethical= deception examples e.g. Polsky study 'poolroom hustler'
-found it easy to get in to do participant observation as he had the characteristics needed
(good pool player)
e.g. Patrick studied a Glasgow Gang
-looked young and had a contact so he was able to do participant participation
e.g. Whyte 'street corner society'
-semi-overt, revealed his true purpose to a key member of the group but not to any others

e.g. Punch 'Amsterdam police'
-he over identified with the group he was observing and acted as a policeman

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