Sociology Key Terms- Research Methods


Validity is how accurate the data is. Generally happens with questions that are open, that allow participants to express themselves fully. It is also more likely with methods such as interviews because researchers can build a rapport. Found mainly in Qualitative methods.

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Reliabilty is the ability to be able to repeat a study and get the same results. Most likely to happen with Quantitative methods where the questions are all closed. Examples of methods would include surveys, questionnaires, structed interviews, closed questions. Positivists data has common reliability in.

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Data that is expressed in words. It is less reliable and representative. Detailed descriptions, Open questions are used in methods such as unstructed interviews, and observations. Results are Valid. Interpretivists use qualitative methods. Can also be asociated with ethnographic studies.

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Data that is presented numerical or statistical forms. It allows researchers to establish patterns and trends. All questions are closed which means data is more likely to be reliable because the repondants answers are restricted. Data is representative, quicker ( larger samples) and positivists like the methods.

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When the group that is being researched is typical of the population being studied. Will reflect the characteristics of people in terms of social class, gender, ethnicity. some sample techniques are more representative. The larger the sample group, the more representative it is. This is quantitative methods.

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Ability to make a claim about the whole population based on a small sample group. It is not very relaible, but can only do it if the sample is representative

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