Research Methods

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  • Sociological Research Methods
    • Questionnaires
      • self completion-less time consuming
      • anonymous-useful for exploring sensitive topic areas
      • closed-favoured by positivists can be used in large numbers
      • Types of questions
        • closed questions
        • open questions
        • multiple choice questions
        • scaled questions
      • list of questions, can be administered face to face or even by post/email
      • Key educational study-Carol Jackson(2006)-self completion questionnaires: lads and ladettes in year 9 researching gender and fear of failure
      • using them to investigate education-subject options, revision, school, achievement, parental attitudes to education
    • Interviews
      • Structured interviews
      • Unstructured interviews
      • Semi structured interviews
      • group interviews
      • Key Study #1-Paul Willis-Learning to Labour(1977)-group interview
        • verstahen-gained through building a good rapport with the 'lads'
        • Key Study #2- Wright et al(2005)-why are African-Caribbean students subject to more exclusion from school?-unstructured interviews and group interviews
    • Experiments
      • Laboratory experiment
        • Key Study-Harvey and Slatin-teacher expectations
      • Field experiment
        • Key Study-Rosenthal and Jacobson(1964)-Self Fulfilling Prophecy-effects of teacher expectations on pupils' behaviour and performance
      • The Comparative Method
        • Key Study-Durkheim's study of suicide
    • Observations
      • participant observation
      • non participant observation
      • Key Study- Paul Willis-covert participant observation as well as interviews
        • William Whyte-Street Corner Society-covert participant observation
        • Sudhir Venkatesh-Gang Leader for A Day-overt participant observation
    • Other Methods
      • official statistics
      • Secondary sources: documents
        • historical documents e.g parish records, census stats, novels etc
        • diaries and letters
        • official reports e.g Ofsted
        • oral and family history
      • Case studies
      • longitudinal studies
      • content analysis
      • pilot studies


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