Sociology methods revision

Methods tables with positives and negatives.

Does not include observations.

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Experim
ents
Researche
rs set up
an artificial
situation
and
manipulat
e it to
test their
theory.
Field Experiments Lab experiments Comparative method
(Changing one variable
over time/place).
Example Rosenthal and Jacobson
tested the theory of the
self-fulfilling prophecy by
giving teachers false
information about the IQ
scores of pupils.
Practical Hard to control all Hard to control all Hard to control all
variables. variables. variables.
More time consuming Time consuming and Very time consuming
and costly. costly. and costly.
Accessing issues. Transport to lab. Setting up
Setting up equipment. equipment.
Ethical Confidentiality. Confidentiality. Confidentiality.
Deception. Sensitivity. Sensitivity.
Affecting Affecting researchee Affecting researchee
researchee psychologically. psychologically.
psychologically.
Theoretica Hawthorn Effect. Hawthorn Effect. Shows trends over
l Reliable and Unnatural settings. time.
representative. Reliable and Withdrawal from
Correlation does representative. experiment may
not necessarily mean Correlation does not affect replication
causation. necessarily mean ability.
Not valid. causation. Hawthorn Effect.
Positivists. Not valid. Reliable and
Positivists. representative.
Correlation does not
necessarily mean
causation.
Not valid.
Generalisations can
be made.
Positivists.

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Questio
nnaires
A written
list of
questions,
which are
answered
by
responden
ts.
Unstructured questionnaires Structured questionnaires
Example Douglas used questionnaires alongside
other methods to study the factors
influencing attainment in different social
classes.
Practical Quick and easy to make. Quick and easy to make.
Can collect large amounts of data. Can collect large amounts of data.
Research can occur alongside Research can occur alongside
researcher's normal job. researcher's normal job.
Ethical Sensitivity. Sensitivity.
Theoretical Easy to analyse. Easy to analyse.
Are valid.…read more

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Ethical Insensitive. Questions can be adapted to be more
Confidentiality. sensitive where necessary.
Guilty knowledge. Confidentiality.
Guilty knowledge.
Theoretical Hawthorn effect. Hawthorn effect.
Reliable. Unreliable.
Unrepresentative. Unrepresentative.
Positivists. Valid.
Anti-positivists.
Docume
nts
Any
physical
artefacts
containing
informatio
n that
could be
used by a
sociologist
.
Historical documents Personal documents
Example Feinstein used data from the National
Child Development Study to examine
factors shaping educational achievement.
Practical Cost and time effective. Cost and time effective.
Can gain information from the past.…read more

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Example McKnight et al used data from official statistics on qualifications to evaluate the
effectiveness of the Labour government's policies.
Practical Easy to access.
Cheap and quick to obtain.
Easy to analyse.
Research may not be collected with the same aim so data may only be relevant.
Ethical Information is gained overtly so there is no deception.
Theoretical Reliable and representative.
Insight into society as whole population is used rather than a sample.
Unrecorded/dark figures ignored.…read more

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