Studying Society

Revision Notes involving all of the key terms and meanings of the studying scoeiety topic. 

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  • Created by: Nicole
  • Created on: 29-12-12 21:50

What is a feminist?

Someone who believes that women should have the same status and opportunities as men.

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What is a norm?

Rules which guide our behaviour in situations.

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What is primary data?

Data collected for the first time by the researcher for a particular peice of research.

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What is a pilot study?

A study on a small scale before the main research is done.

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What is qualitative data?

Information in the form of text or images, in a detailed description.

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What is a marxist?

Someone who believs in the ideas of Karl Marx and sees the main divisions in society as being based on a social class operating a capitalist system.

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What does patriarchy mean?

The idea that men dominate society and its institutions.

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What is quantitative data?

Information that is presented as numbers which can be analysed using statistics or numbers.

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What is a questionnaire? Give ONE advantage and ON

A set of questions used to gather information.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Easy way to collect information. -Time consuming

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What does reliability mean?

Data which can be repeated and consistantly comes up with the same results.

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What does representative mean?

Your sample is not biased but the people are typical of those in the larger group.

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What is a sample?

The group of people who have been selected for your study.

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What is a sampling frame?

A complete list from which your sample is selected.

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What is secondary data?

Data that exists, from the internet etc.It can be used alongside primary data also.

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What is a social class?

People having the same social status measured by such things as job title and money.

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What is social control?

The process by which people are persuaded to obey the rules and to conform.

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What is social policy?

Important decisions made by the government that aim to improve the conditions of people living in their society.

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What is meant by social stratification?

The way different groups in society are paced at different levels.

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What is a social survey?

A collection of information about members of a population.

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What is meant by the term socialisation??

The lifelong process of learning the skills, customs and attitudes, norms and values of your culture.

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What is meant by the term society?

A group of people who haeve common intersts and a distinctive culture.

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What is meant by theoretical perspective?

Looking at a social issue through the eyes of one particular type of theorist.

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What is validity?

Data which gives a true picture of what is being studied.

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What is meant by the terms values?

The beliefs held by a person or a social group that help to build a set of norms.

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Give ONE advantage and ONE disadvantage of experim

Advantage: Disadvanatage:

Lab Lab

- Better control -Total control is not possible.

Field Field

- Allows you to observe more natural behaviour. - More variables to consider.

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Give an example of an experiment.

Haney, Banks Zimbardo 1973. A simulate prison was created and 24 volunteers were assigned to the roles of a guard or prisoner. This resulted in the experiment ending early because of the behaviour i was inducing in bothe guards and prisoners.

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What is meant by longitudinal study? Give ONE adva

A study conducted over a long period of time.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Picks up long ter changes. - Expensive

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Give an example of a longitudinal study.

7up- TV series- child followed every 7 years from 7 years old. The British household panel survey.

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What is non-participant observation? Give ONE adva

Data collected by observing behaviour without interacting with the participants.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Participants does not need to be involved. - Time consuming.

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Give an example of non- participant observation.

Price 1984, used non- participant observation to study the operation of advice centres in Lambeth.

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What is participant observation? Give ONE advantag

Study with participants to gain familiarity with a group of individuals. 

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- In depth knowledge. - Time consuming.

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Give an example of participant observation.

Line 1971 who used observation along with questionnaires and interviews to study users needs of social sciences.

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Give an example of a questionnaire.

Are you a virgin?

- No, not yet.

100,000 sent out and only 4.5% were returned.

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What is a semi-structured interview? Give ONE adva

A method of research involving many open- ended questions with many propmts.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Large amount of detail generated. - Needs high skilled, trained staff.

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Give an example of a semi- structure interview.

Drever, E 1995 used semi- structured interview in small- scale research: A teacher's guide, Edinburgh Scottish Council for research in education.

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What is a structured interview? Give ONE advantage

A research method commonly employed in survey research. It is to ensre tht each interview cinductsthe same questions and in the sae order.

Advantage: Disadvanatage:

- High in reliability - It is time consuming.

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Give an example of a structured interview.

The mini- international Neuropsychiactric interview. The development and validation of a structured diagnostic psychiactric interview for DSm- IV and ICD- 10.

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What is an un-structured interview? Give ONE advan

A method of interviews where questions can be changed or adapted to meet the persons intelligence, understanding or blief.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- High in validity - Lack of reliability.

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Give an example of an un-structured interview.

Issues of reprocity and risks when dealing with sensiive topics. 

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Give an example of secondary data.


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Give an example of primary data.


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What are official statistics? Give ONE advantage a

Statistics published by government agencies or other public bodies such as, international organisations.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Statistics can be self- fulfilling. - Can sometimes distort the truth.

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Give the SIX agents of socialisation.







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What is meant by nurture?

We learn by our environment.

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What is meant by nature?

We are birn with something.

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What is a positivist?

A group of people who believ that the structure of society shapes our behaviour.

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What doe the British Sociological Association do?

Sets out guidelines for the conduct of research.

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What is a hypothesis?

A prediction about something. Usually a written statement that can be tested and then either supported or proved wrong.

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What is a census?

A survey completed evry 10 years, recording the countries population and other details of households.

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What does representative mean?

People with the same characteristics of the population as a whole.

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Define generalisability.

You apply your results to your study to the wider population.

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What is the hawthorne effect?

When you act un-natural because of an observation or experiment.

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What are ethics?

When something is morally wrong or morally right.

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What does informed consent mean?

The sociologist explains to the participant what the research is anout and why it is being undertaken.

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What does anonymity mean?

The participants privacy should be respected and their information should be kept confidential.

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What is confidentiality?

The participants details are kept confidential.

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What does social desirability mean?

People like to present themselves in a favourable light.

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What is interviewer bias?

Interviewers have social characteristcs such as age, gender etc. 

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What is over- participant observation? Give ONE ad

Participants are aware they are being observed.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Risk reduced - Hawthore effect is created.

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What is covert- participant observation? Give ONE

The researcher becomes part of the group and joins their daily activities.

Advanatage: Diasadvantage:

- Act natural - Can be dangerous

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What is covert non- participant observation? Give

The researcher watches the group from the sidelines and does not become part of the group.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Does not create the hawthorne effect. - Can be hard to get accurate information.

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What is overt non- participant observation? Give O

Researcher does not become involved in group but watches from the sidelines.

Advantage: Disadvantage:

- Danger is reduced. - Hard to collect information

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Give an example of covert participant observation.

James Patrick, Glasgow Gang.

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Give an example of covert non- participant obserav

Laud Humphreys, tea room trade.

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Give an example of overt participation,

Barker, making on the moonies. 7 year study.

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Give an example of overt non- participant observat

Bain and Taylor, call centre workers.

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What is a social structure?

A structure which holds society together.

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What is a social process?

A process in which society goes through to obtain norms and values.

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What are social issues?

Issues whch effect socety as a whole, nothe good and bad.

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What is a functionalist?

Someone who believes that society functions as a whole like the human body.

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What is discrimination?

Actions upon prejudice views.

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What is prejudice?

Ideas about someone who you have not met, they have been judged before you know them.

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What is ageism?

Prejudice based on a person's age.

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What is stratification?

The process of being arranged into social strata or classes within a group.

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What is a bursary?

An annual grant to a student.

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What is meant by socially constructed?

Your society creates what is normal, right and expected.

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What is canalisation?

Being channelled into a particular direction.

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