Quantitative Research Methods

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  • Quantitative Research Methods
    • Surveys
      • Social Surveys
        • Information obtained through questionnaires/interviews
        • Used to find out 'facts' about the population
        • Used to uncover differences in beliefs, values and attitudes
        • Explain aspects of social life
        • Only provides a 'snapshot' of social life
      • Sampling
        • Types of sampling: techniques of obtaining a representative sample
          • Random
            • Each person has an equal chance of being selected
          • Systemic
            • Every nth person is chosen
          • Stratified random
            • Population being studied is divided according to known criteria
          • Quota
            • The amount of people in the sample with particular characteristics are already chosen and then a selection are found
          • Non-representative
            • Snowball
              • Used when research groups are particularly hard to get hold of
            • Theoretical
              • Studies involving non-typical people
      • Longitudinal survey
        • Studying the same group of people over a long period of time
          • Provides us with a clear, moving image of changes in attitudes and actions over time.
        • Expensive and time-consuming
        • Cannot collect retrospective information
        • People might change their behaviour as a result of taking part in a survey
    • Case Studies
      • Extremely detailed and provide in-depth information not usually available
      • Useful when first developing theories
    • Experiments
      • Closely controlled variables
      • Can be replicated to find the reliability of findings
      • Impossible to recreate normal life in the artificial environment of an environment
      • Ethical problems in performing experiments on people
      • Possibility of the experimenter effect
        • The awareness of being in an experiment alters the behaviour of the participants
      • Cannot be used to study long-term or major social change
    • Comparative Research
      • Possible to identify a particular social practice  or value that is the key factor in determining that issue
      • Uses the same logic as experiments
        • Focuses on what has actually happened rather than artificial settings set up by the sociologist
      • Can't always control what information is available
      • Yields very valuable and quite convincing evidence to support or contradict particular theories
    • Experimental research in the context of education
      • Practical Problems
        • Lab experiments are difficult to conduct
          • Problems gaining consent to conducts experiments involving children
      • Ethical Problems
      • Theoretical Problems
        • Involves the creation of artificial situations which may lead to a lack of validity

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