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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…

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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…

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·more valid ­ 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.
· quantitative data ­ favoured by positivists

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·can be used to show the past
· 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…

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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…

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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· outdated ­ not representative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…


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