Choices in Research: Methods, Practicalities, Ethics and Theories

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  • Choices in Research: Methods, Practicalities, Ethics and Theories
    • The choice of research area
      • Affected by the values of the researcher
        • A person's position in society may affect  what they consider a worthwhile topic
      • Influenced by developments in sociology and wider society
      • Influenced by the practicalities of carrying out research
      • Sociologists who hold strong theoretical positions are more likely  to study the topics they consider to be the most imporatnt
    • Practical, Ethical and Theoretical factors and choice of research method
      • The relationship between practical issues and research
        • Money
        • TIme
        • Whether it is possible to do the research
      • The relationship between research methods and ethics
        • Gaining consent
          • Subject must be able  and willing to give informed consent
            • Must be aware the research is happening
        • Effects on people being studied
        • Confidentiality
        • Effects on the wider society
        • Issues of legality and immorality
      • The relationship between theories and methods
        • Structural approaches and positivism
          • The best way to examine society is to view it as a real 'thing' which exists above and beyond us all as individuals
          • There are objective social facts about the social world
          • You can look for correlations
          • Possible to discover laws of  human behaviours
          • Human behaviour is shaped by external stimuli
          • Only study what you can observe
          • Supports the use of methods such as questionnaires and statistics
        • Interpretive approaches
          • The only way to study society is to look at the world through the eyes of an individual as part of a group
        • Triangulation and mixed methods research
          • Using a variety of methods can improve the validity  and reliability of a single piece of research
    • Research in the educational context
      • Research into educational staff
        • Practical issues
          • Access to educational staff may be limited due to lack of time
        • Ethical issues
          • Ensure that here is no harm done
        • Theoretical issues
          • Representativeness of staff who are permitted to take part in research
      • Research into pupils and students
        • Practical issues
          • Parents may be unwilling to give consent
        • Ethical issues
          • Causes harm via disrupting education
        • Theoretical issues
          • Problems with young children expressing abstract ideas
      • Research into parents
        • Practical issues
          • Hard to gain access to parents
        • Ethical issues
          • Less ethically problematic than researching students
        • Theoretical issues
          • Hard to get a representative sample

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