Social Surverys

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  • Social Surverys
    • Social surveys take two basic forms.
      • Written questionnaires: which respondents are asked to complete  and return by e-mail.
      • Interviews: either face to face or by telephone.
    • Types of question.
      • close-ended questions: the respondent must choose their answer from a limited range of possible answers that the researcher has decided upon in advance, such as "yes", "no" or "don't know," or like multiple choice questions in an exam.
      • Open-ended questions: the respondent is free to give whatever answer they wish, in their own words, and without any pre-selected choices being offered by the researcher.
    • Choosing a topic
      • Sociologists use surveys to study a wide variety of issues, but survey methods are not suitable for all subjects.
        • For example, historical topics cannot be investigated, unless there are survivors that we can question.
          • Once we have a suitable topic for research, there are a number of stages we need to go through before we can start gathering data.
            • The first of these is to formulate an aim or hypothesis.
              • Formulating an aim or hypothesis: most surveys either have a general aim or seek to test specific hypothesis.
                • An Aim is a statement that identifies what a sociologist intends to study and hopes to achieve by carrying out the  research.
                  • Often the aim will simply be to collect data on a particular topic.
                    • Sociologists develop a hypothesis by studying their previous work.
                • The advantage of a hypothesis is that it gives direction to research.
                  • It will give focus to the questions that we ask in our questionnaires and interviews, since their purpose is to gather information that will either confirm or disprove our hypothesis.
                    • Creating a hypothesis requires imagination because we have to think up a possible explanation for longer.
                    • The important thing is whether the evidence gathered in our survey supports it.
                      • Discarding a hypothesis might seem like a bad thing, but in fact it means that progress has been made.
                      • If a hypothesis is false, we must discard it.
              • The census of the entire population conducted by the government every ten years is designed  to collect large quantities of data about  many different aspects of British society.
              • Other surveys seek to test one or more hypotheses.
                • It is a possible explanation that can be tested by collected evidence to prove it is true/false.
    • Operationalising concepts
      • Before we can test it, we need a working definition or our key ideas and concepts.
        • Without a working definition, numbers wouldn't be able to be counted.
      • Once there is a working or operational definition of our concept, we can set about writing questions that measure it.
        • Operationalism: This process of converting a concept into something which it can be measured by.
          • Operationalising may seems straight forward, but problems are caused when different sociologists try and operationalise the same concept differently.
    • The Pilot study
      • Defined as a trial run of research methods.
      • Untitled
  • Sociologists develop a hypothesis by studying their previous work.
  • It will give focus to the questions that we ask in our questionnaires and interviews, since their purpose is to gather information that will either confirm or disprove our hypothesis.
    • Creating a hypothesis requires imagination because we have to think up a possible explanation for longer.
    • The important thing is whether the evidence gathered in our survey supports it.
      • Discarding a hypothesis might seem like a bad thing, but in fact it means that progress has been made.
      • If a hypothesis is false, we must discard it.
  • Untitled

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