Sociology Research Methods AS

my notes for the research methods section and the methods in section part

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  • Created on: 15-07-12 19:32
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Laboratory experiments
Consist of two groups:
1. The experimental group: Vary the variables/conditions
2. The control group: condition/variable stay the same
The idea behind the experimental method is that the scientist can manipulate
the variables in which they are interested; in order to discover what effects
they have, allowing them to claim cause and effect.
Reliability: this involves how replicable the experiment is when done buy
another scientist. Lab experiments are saturated in reliability for two reasons:
The original experimenter can specify step by step instruction to follow
from the original experiment so other researcher can repeat them.
It's a detached method. The scientist personal feelings and opinion have
no effect on the outcome of the experiment
Advantages and Disadvantage of laboratory experiments:
Can claim cause and effect therefore method is favoured by positivist
Allows to measure behaviour quantitatively and allows manipulation of
variables
Often impossible/ unethical to have complete control of the variables
Small scale = results can be generalised (positivist overcome this by
using the comparative method)
Interpretivists disagree on this method as they claim it lacks in
validity. They prefer more naturalistic methods.
Practical issues:
Can't control variables e.g. Childs educational achievement
Can't be used to study the past
Small scale=hard to investigate large scale phenomena's
Small scale= low population validity
Ethical issues:
Hard to obtain informed consent from children and other venerable
group because they may not understand full nature of experiment
Can mislead people ( Milgram 1974)
Validity:

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Likely to produce Hawthorne effect
Some P's try to guess the purpose of the
Experiment and act in a in which they think the
Experimenter wants them to act.]
Free Will: Interpretivist's believe in free will meaning they deny the cause
and effect theory. They believe that behaviour is based on free will.
Two alternatives to Lab experiments: Comparative method
& Field experiments:
Field experiments
A field experiment is an experiment that is conducted in `the field '. That
is, in a real world situation.…read more

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Study issues such as:
Teachers expectations
Classroom interaction
Labelling
Pupil's self-concept
Laboratory experiments and teacher expectations
Lab Experiment done regarding teacher expectations:
Havey and Slatin (1976)
Charkin et al (1975)
Mason (1973)
Ethical Issues:
Lab experiments rarely use real children = so no children suffer negative
effects ( e.…read more

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Vulnerable group
Don't understand nature of exp due to limited ability
Lack of informed consent
Psychological damage
Narrow Focus:
Focus on one aspect of teacher expectation (e.g. body lang)= allows
researcher to isolate variable and examine it more thoroughly
Teacher expectations are not see with the wider process of the labelling
and the self-fulfilling prophecy
Practical Issues
Schools are large= many factors may affect teacher's expectations (e.g.
Class size and streaming ect.)= impossible to identify and control
variables which may affect teacher expectation.…read more

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Some children may have been held back emotional because they were seen as
less and given less attention
Reliability
Rosethenal and Jacobson's simple researcher design= easy to repeat
Must consider individual differences e.g. age of pupils and teaching style
= unlikely original can be replicated exactly.
Validity
Rosethenal and Jacobson's claimed teacher expectations were passed
through classroom interactions yet had no collected no data to support
this.…read more

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Reliability: Questionnaires are high in this because if they repeated by other
researcher they are bound to produce a similar result thus is partly for two reasons:
When repeated a Q is the identical to original, new respondent is asked exactly
the same question as original respondent, in same order with same answer
choice
With postal Q`s no researcher present to influence the respondents answer.…read more

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Researcher are guaranteed to obtain informed consent and provide P's
anonymity
Some ask sensitive question and P's are force to answer them
Response rate
Low response rate is a major problem for Q's. This is because very few who
receive them tend to return them.
High response rate can be ensured if follow up Q's are sent and if Q's are collect
by hand however this adds to cost.
Those who return their Q's maybe different from those who done = e.g.…read more

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Interpretivist argue that Q's are likely to impose the R's own meaning rather
than that of the respondent
By choosing the Q's the R has already chosen what is important and what is not
When using closed ­ ended Q's has to try to fit the view to the answer provided,
if they feel some other way they can't express this = producing a distorted and
invalid picture of their reality
When using open-ended Q's, takes R to interpretation of what P meant=
subjective.…read more

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Teacher may be too busy to answer Q's as some are long and time
consuming= lower response rate
High response rate in school = when Head gives `okay' their power is put
behind R so teacher and students feel compeled to reply
Head may organise time in which to answer Q's
Higher response rate in school= more representative data
Schools (parents and teachers) are used to answering Q's (e.g.…read more

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Group interviews, with up to a dozen or so being interview at the same
time
Focus group are a form of group interviews in which the researcher asks
the group to discuss a certain topic and records their views
Structured interviews
Structured interviews are like Q's; both involve asking people a set of prepared Q's. In
both cases, the Q's are often closed-end with pre-coded answers. The main difference
is that in interviews the Q's are read aloud and filled in by R.…read more

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