Social Inequality - Sociological Research Methods

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  • Created on: 13-06-14 20:04
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Sociological Research Methods
Sociological Research Methods
· quick & cheap
· reaches lots of respondents
· no hawthorne effect
· no social desirability effect
· reliable
· produces qualitative data ­ positivists favour
· lacks validity ­ respondent could lie
· no interviewer to explain questions fully
· postal questionnaires have low response rate ­ not representative
Callender & Jackson ­ studied students in continuing education. Low response rate that wasn't
Structured Interviews
· can be repeated ­ reliable
· quantitative data ­ interpretivists favour
· higher response rate than questionnaires
· expensive & time consuming
Unstructured Interviews
· can build rapport
· valid
· can create Verstehen
· qualitative data ­ favoured by Interpretivists
· smaller samples ­ not representative
· hawthorne effect
· social desirability effect
· time consuming
Dobash & Dobash ­ studied domestic violence against wives.
Group Interviews
· practical
· valid, can establish Verstehen
· produces qualitative data ­ favoured by interpretivists
· social desirability effect
· small sample ­ unrepresentative
· certain people in the group can become dominant

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NonParticipant Observations
Define Observations with no social interaction between participants & researcher.
· quantitative data ­ favoured by positivists
· reliable
· very valid
· hawthorne effect
· can not achieve Verstehen
· near impossible to be representative
Flanders ­ studied interaction in the classroom.
Covert Participant Observations
Define Participants not made aware of intention of research.…read more

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­ conducted in natural social
· finds meaning behind social interactions ­ interpretivists
· difficult to control variables
· hawthorne effect
· ethical issues sometimes
Comparative Method
Define Analyse two groups by comparing similarities & Differences using statistics.…read more

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· comparative research is possible
· not distorted by research process
· rich qualitative data ­ favoured by interpretivists
· misinterpretation can lead to loss of validity
· not reliable ­ cannot be repeated
Other Methods
Longitudinal Studies
Define Follows a group for an extended period of time.…read more

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· expensive and time consuming
· qualitative & quantitative data can't be comparative
Quantitative Data VS Qualitative Data
Quantitative Data
·easily measured
· can identify cause & effect relationships
· identify patterns & trends
· objective
· reliable
· cannot achieve Verstehen
· often in unnatural environment ­ social desirability effect
· questions can reflect researchers bias
Qualitative Data
·can achieve Verstehen
· sees reasons for human behaviour
· can build rapport
· can't generalise
· can't isolate cause &…read more

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· can study historical elements
· allows researcher to assess data they may not have been able to beforehand
· saves time
· no risk of researcher imposition
· can't guarantee reliability
· outdated ­ not representative
· no control over data collection
· possible bias in data
· may not fit aims of research ­ lacks fitness of purpose…read more


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