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Sociological Research

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Bricio Vasquez

on 4 February 2013

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Transcript of Sociological Research

Investigating society Sociological Research Methods Quantitative Methods Qualitative Methods Quantitative Methods the practice of studying society by systematically observing social behavior using math and statistics. Requires carefully operationalizing variables and ensuring that measurement is both reliable and valid
observes how variables are related and tries to establish cause and effect
sees objective reality "out there"
favors quantitative data
is well suited to research in a laboratory
demands that researchers be objective and suspend their personal values and biases as they conduct research Know how to apply the sociological perspective

Be curious and ready to ask questions about the world around you Sociological Investigation logical system that bases knowledge on direct, systematic observation --is a form of truth. Science is the development of new knowledge.

scientific evidence gained from sociological research often challenges common sense. Science Example:
"Poor people are far more likely than rich people to break the law." Example:
"Differences in the behavior of females and males are just 'human nature.'" Wrong again. Much of what we call "human nature" is constructed by the society in which we live, as we will see later in the semester. Some societies define "feminine" and "masculine" very differently from the way we do. Not true. If you regularly watch television shows like COPS you might think that police arrest only people from "bad neighborhoods". Poor people do stand out in official arrest statistics. But research also shows that police and prosecutors are more likely to treat well-to-do people more leniently, as when a Hollywood celebrities is accused of shoplifting or drunk driving. Some laws are even written in a way that criminalizes poor people more and affluent people less. survey research a research method in which subjects respond to a series of statements or questions on a questionnaire experimental research allows researchers to study cause and effect between two or more variables in a highly controlled setting. Hawthorne Effect Population Sample Sociological Concept Measurement Operational Definition Independent Variable Dependent Variable the people who are the focus of the research a part of the population that represents the whole a mental construct that represents some part of the world in a simplified form the one the researcher controls; it is sometimes called the causal variable. It is the variable causing the change in another. the variable that changes. This is the outcome or the result of the independent variable. a procedure for determining the value of a variable in a specified case Defining the variable by the way it is measured. a change in a subject's behavior caused simply by the awareness of being studied Research Ethics Protect the privacy of subjects
Obtain informed consent of subjects
Indicate all sources of funding
Submit research to an institutional review board (IRB) to ensure it doesn't violate ethical standards Qualitative Methods Studying society with the focus on the meanings people attach to their social world. Pioneered by Max Weber who argued that the proper focus of sociology is interpretation, or understanding the meaning that people create in their everyday lives. Developed by a school of sociologists who felt that science is not the best way to understand society. Unlike planets or other elements of the natural world, humans do not just simply move around as objects that can be measured. Uses lots of quality information from a small number of individuals to reconstruct human experiences. Weber's Concept of Verstehen German word that simply means "to understand" calls out to interpretive sociologists to not just observe what people do but also try to understand why people do it. (fair-SHTAY-in) All meaningful aspects of human condition should be considered. This includes thoughts, feelings, experiences, social context, gender identity, ethnic identity etc. Interpretive Positivist focuses on actions-- on what people do--because it is what we can observe directly focuses on people's understanding of their actions and their surroundings claims that objective social reality exists "out there" claims reality is subjective, constructed by people in the course of their everyday lives tends to favor quantitative data--numerical measurements and/or snapshots of people's behavior drawn from large samples of people. tends to favor qualitative data--extensive and detailed narratives drawn from a small number of participants best suited to research in a laboratory, where investigators stand back and take careful measurements. best carried out in a natural or everyday setting. Qualitative Methods Research approach used by interpretive sociologists to develop knowledge of society In-depth interviews: one-on-one interviews with the researcher and subject usually lasting about an hour. focus group: researcher mediated discussion between a members of a small group (5-10 people) with similar social experiences. non-participant observation: observation and data collection in which the researcher does not participate in the activities of the society being studied. participant observation: observation and data collection in which the researcher participates in the society being studied case studies: a comprehensive review of a sole individual's experience within any given social context. covert participant observation: observation where the society being studied is not aware of the researcher's presence and/or intent. Focus Groups Case Studies In-depth Interviews positivist sociology is generalizable findings from qualitative studies cannot be applied to large portions of the population Ethnographic Observation
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