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Primary data
· Sociologists themselves collect their information for their
own purposes.
· This is to obtain a first-hand picture of a group or society.
For example,
- Social surveys: e.g. written questionnaire or
- Participant observation: the sociologist joins in
with the activities of the group he/she is conducting.
- Experiments: Field and comparative experiments
are mostly used.…read more

Slide 3

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Advantages Disadvantages
· Specific to the · Costs a lot of money
research · Time consuming
· More valid · Not all methods have
· More reliable a high response rate
· More relevant and e.g. Questionnaires
current…read more

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Secondary data
· The information has already been
collected or created by someone else.
For example:
- Official statistics: Produced by the
government for a number of purposes
such as, crime, death/birth rates etc.
-Documents: something personal e.
g. letters, diaries, photos, novels,
newspapers etc.…read more

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Advantages Disadvantages
· Already exists, so no · Could be out of date
trouble going through the · May not be reliable for
researching process. sociologists as it is
· Can get more information collected through the
back in time e.g. The government
1910 census etc. · Ethical issues e.g. It is
· Allows comparisons wrong to read someone
between years. else's diary.
· Provides a more · Not always relevant to
representative sample what you are researching.
because there is more of
· Official statistics are more
reliable.…read more


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