Research Methods - Sociology

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Types of Data

  • Primary e.g. Questionaires
  • Secondary e.g. Official Statistics
  • Qualitative e.g. Participant Observation
    • Produces in-depth knowledge of personal experiences, expensive, takes skill, takes more time per participant, subjective, more valid, aims to achieve verstehen
  • Quantitative e.g. Letters 
    • Produces numerical data, researches prescence is likely to have less influence, involves more participants, expensive, time-consuming, more reliable, makes generalisations and is more representative
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Reliability

  • Repeatability
  • Producing the same results
  • Can check for errors
  • Generalizations can be made
  • Quantitative methods are more reliable
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Validity

  • True picture
  • True measurement
  • True description
  • Accurate reflection of social reality
  • Quantitave methods lack validity
  • Quantitive methods lack depth
  • Many interpretative sociologists say only qualitative methods are valid 
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Objectivity

  • Extent to which researchers have ensured their own values and beliefs have not influenced the research
  • Could weaken the research
  • Could impact the validity
  • Never be intentional bias
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