Choice of Method
Theoretical Factors -
There is a disagreement about the nature of sociology and what approach should be taken. Positive sociologists believe sociology should be scientific, using quantitative data which allows comparison and generalisation. Interpretivist sociologists believe sociology should be concerned with the individual in society, so thus collect quantitative data which gives insight and understanding of a certain subject. Positivist's may favour questionnaires with closed questions and official statistics, where Interpretivist's would favour unstructured interviews and observation.
Practical Factors -
Nature of the group to be studied - For example, if the group is widespread observation may not be possible, or if the group is 'deviant' the only way to get valid data may be to do covert participant observation within the group.
Time and money are also a influential factor as some methods, such as longitudinal studies which can take years and cost much money. A cheaper and quicker alternative may be a survey, but these can take time to fully analyse.
Obviously, the researcher needs to take into account the original aim and…