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Sociological Research Methods in Context
Transcript of Sociological Research Methods in Context
Types of Data
Time and Money
Requirements of funding
Personal Skills and
Effects on research
collected by sociologists themselves
collected for their own research purposes
METHODS used to gather primary data include:
Collected or created by someone else
Collected or created for their own purposes but which sociologists can use
official statistics produced by the government
Personal and public documents
Expressed in numerical form -
numbers and %
most data from questionnaires, structured
interviews and experiments
Expressed in the form of thoughts
and feelings - to give a 'feel' for what
something is like.
data from participant observation and
Written or captured as personal/
Unfortunately, no single method is likely to do all 3
There will always have
to be some comprimise
The general rule......
They are more structured and standardised giving us more
Allow us to study large numbers, giving us results that are more
of the population
The researcher has to become closely involved with the group. This brings a deeper understanding (
) and a more
picture of their lives
Can only study a small number of people, so are
of the population (typical cross section)
Only produce a superficial 'snap-shot' of the respondent so are likely to have
They are also
are hard to replicate (repeat)
combining different methods together to obatin a more
we might combine participant observation with questionnaires
This would allow us to see whether the
insights we gained from observing a small group were
1. Complete the following table:
2. Now highlight on the table which methods are more:
4. Answer the following questions:
i) Explain the difference between validity and reliability
ii) Examine some of the practical, ethical
and theoretical issues affecting sociologists choice of method
3. Answer the following questions:
i) why might questionnaires be expected to produce reliable and representative data?
ii) why might obseration be expected to produce valid data?
iii) why might covert participant
observation be more valid that overt
data. In selecting a research method, sociologists take account of
Methodological and theoretical perspectives are important influences on choice of method, as are the quest for