Practical factors influencing the choice of research method

  • Created by: holly6901
  • Created on: 28-12-19 21:08

Cost and funding

Funding is an important factor in deciding the topic of research, the hypothesis and the method

  • If a sociological researcher doesn't have access to large funds they may choose an inexpensive method e.g questionnaires.
  • Grouped interviews may be chosen because they are cheaper to conduct than individual interviews
  • Secondary data is attractive as it has already been collected and is usually free
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Time available

  • If a researcher only has a few months to complete the research, the researcher may choose quicker methods e.g structured interviewers
  • If the researcher has no time pressures, they may choose to use a more in-depth method e.g participant observation
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Participants required

Gaining access to a group of people for research is difficult

  • Some groups may reject any attempt to sociologically research them because they are too powerful e.g political leaders or because they are deviant e.g criminal gangs.
  • If a large group of participants are required, certain methods are suited to large groups of people e.g structured interviews
  • If a sociologist requires only quantitative data they will use an appropriate method and vice versa.
  • If a social group is concentrated in one geographical location, the researcher may use structured or group interviews as travel is cheaper 
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Subject matter of the research

  • The research subject may affect the method of research greatly. For example, sensitive topics such as racism or discrimination may mean questionnaires are more useful as participants can guarantee anonymity and confidentiality.
  • The characteristics of the research team are also important. For example, if a team are researching how racism affects minorities, a team of ethnic minorities may mean the participants divulge more and create more valid data.
  • If the research participants are young, the research team should be young as young people may associate older researchers with authority and refuse to cooperate.
  • Female victims of sexual harassment in the workplace may be able to open up to a female researcher as they may sympathise more
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