Sociology-Research Methods-AQA-Unit 2

Consists of plenty of images for visual learners, in order to make life easier, and is in a simpified version-No need for a sociology book-This is all that is needed for your revision on research methods. It also includes past paper questions and an answer model. I hope this has helped..

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  • Created by: Gul95
  • Created on: 08-02-13 19:46
Preview of Sociology-Research Methods-AQA-Unit 2

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Sociological Research Methods: Choosing a research method
The purpose of sociology is to answer
questions about social life and the social
EG: Why do middle-class children generally
achieve better exam results than working class
The following are issues we need to think about when deciding which research methods to use..
For the exam, you must learn these definitions, as they can be worth two marks!
Primary Data- Information collected by sociologists themselves for their
own purposes.
EG: Social surveys (Observations/Interviews), Experiments, Observations
Secondary Data- Information that has been collected or created by
someone else for their own purposes, but which the sociologist can use.
EG: Official Statistics, Documents, such as letters/newspapers
Quantitative Data- Information in numerical form that can be
presented in graph form
EG: Closed ended questions, Structured Interviews, Official statistics
Qualitative Data: Information that focuses primarily on the meanings of
things. These are data, which are no represented numerically but expressed
in words.
EG: Unstructured Interviews, Participant observation

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So how do we select the right one for our research?
Different methods and sources of data have different strengths and limitations and we need to be
able to evaluate these when selecting which on to use.
We can look at these strengths and limitations in terms of practical, ethical and theoretical issues!
Time and Money
Di fferent methods requi re di fferent
a mount of ti me a nd money.…read more

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Ethi cs refers to mora l i s s ues of ri ght a nd wrong.…read more

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Thi s refers to ques ti ons a bout wha t we
thi nk s oci ety i s l i ke a nd whether we
ca n obta i n a n a ccura te,
truthful pi cture of i t.
A true pi cture of wha t s omethi ng i s rea l l y l i ke.
Al l ows res ea rcher to get cl os er to the truth.
(Eg.…read more

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Laboratory experiments
Consists of two groups:
1. The EXPERIMENTAL GROUP: With this group, we might vary the variables/conditions
2. The CONTROL GROUP: With this group, the condition/variables stay the same
Once an experiment has been conducted, other scientists can replicate it.
The lab experiments are highly reliable producing the same results each time because the
original experimenter can specify what steps were followed in the original experiment so
others can repeat it.…read more

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- It is impossible to identify/control all the variables that might exert an influence, i.e. a child's
educational achievement.
- Laboratory experiments cannot be used to study the past- It is impossible to control variables that
were acting in the past rather than the present.
- Study small samples- It is difficult to investigate large scale- This reduces the representativeness.…read more

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Using experiments to investigate Education
Many sociologists claim that teachers' expectations of different groups of
pupils have important effects, leading to labelling, the self-fulfilling prophecy
(It is the process by which ones expectations of a person leads that person to
behave in ways that confirm those expectations) and unequal achievement.
Both field and lab experiments can be used to investigate these "Expectancy
effects". These can be positive or negative.…read more

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Charkin et al (1975)
48 students from UNI (sample) were asked to give lesson to 10
year old boys.
1/3 of them (the high expectancy group) were told the boys'
were smart.
1/3 where told the boys had poor motivation and low IQ (low
expectancy group.
1/3 were given no information. The lessons were then filmed.
The High expectancy group were given more eye contact and
positive body language than the low.
Showing that expectation are passed to pupil's through non-
verbal communication.…read more

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Ethical Issues:
Lab experiments rarely use real children = so no
children suffer negative effects ( e.g. Mason and
Harvey and Slatin)
Charkin et al (1975) used real children= unethical
because :
Vulnerable group
Don't understand nature of experiment due to limited ability
Lack of informed consent
Psychological damage
Narrow Focus:
Focus on one aspect of teacher expectation (e.g.…read more

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Field experiment and teacher expectations
Rosethenal and Jacobson's (1968)
Aim: investigate extent of self-fulfilling prophecy
Procedure : Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, in 1968,
gave all the children in an elementary class a test and told
teachers that some of children were unusually clever (though
they were actually average).
They came back at the end of the school year and tested the
same class again.
The children singled out had improved their scores far more
than other children.…read more


Aiste - Team GR

extremely useful. 
thank you :)

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