Main stages of social research
Creating Aims and hypothesis
- Identify exactly what it is that you're going to research
- Have realistic aims (about 3-4)
- Make aims straightforward and clear
- Hypothesis is a prediction of what you think you will find from research.
- Hypothesis can be based on previous studies/findings, media reports and common sense.
- Have a reasonable time scale
- Time is money
- Costs for travel, everyday needs, accomodation etc.
- Accessing people intended to research (crime gangs, prostitutes etc)
- Generalisations will be easier to make if the group being studied is cross-sectional
- Researchers have to consider social factors: gender, ethnicity, social class and age when drawing up a sample
- random names from a register, electoral roll, every 10th person down the street, names from phonebook - sampling frame
- Simple, cheap, easy to organise
- Like pulling names out of a hat, or lottery numbers out a machine.
- Use a computer to select names at random
- Everybody in the sampling frame has an equal chance of being selected - fair method to use.
- Problems - unlikely to be representative of the research population
- Not be cross-sectional, generalisations likely to be unaccurate.
- Developed to try and solve problems with random sampling
- The sampling frame is divided into different groups of people that are appropiate for what is being studied
- Take into account factors: age, gender, ethnicity to make generalisations
- Non-random sampling
- A simple way of selecting sample for research
- Researcher decides a pattern for selection of the sample and follows this in order to select the people who will become the sample group
- Non-random sampling
- Does not involve any sampling frame
- Normally used when investigating sensitive or illegal activity (prostitution, benefit fraud) where there is not going to be a list of potential people
- Researcher makes contact with one member of the research population willing to participate and uses this contact to acquire more participants
- Unlikely to be representative
Cross Sectional - if a sample is cross-sectional, then it will be made up of different people to best represent the research population.
Generalisations - results from a study can be applied to the whole of the research population.
Sample - a small group of people, usually cross-sectional, on whom research will be carried out.
Sampling Frame - the source from which a sample is drawn