Researching Social Life

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Sociological research sets out to: 

    • Gather data
    • Make correlations
    • Suggest/confirm theories

Gathering data

Phillipe Bourgois' study of c rime and drugs in New York 'ghetto' (2003). 

Research on suicide by Durkheim (1897/1952). He collected a large number of statistics then based his theory on the causes of suicide from the statistics he had found. 

Other sociologists argued that the statistics that Durkheim based his resratch on flawed. Only a few cases of death we can know for certain whether the death was suicide, coincidence or murder. 

Making Correlations

Correlation: A statistical relationship between two things. It doesnt necasserily mean that one causes the other.

Sociologists describe a correlation as the situation where one social event occurs, another one tends to aswell. 

Bennett and Holloway (2005) conducted national research over a number of years. This research involved testing the urine of people after they had been arrested by the police. By doing this, this showed if the offender has any substance of drugs or alcohol in their blood stream/system. 

'There is a correlation between drug use and crime.'

'Drug use causes crime' - this may not be true. 

'People who commit crime are more likely to take drugs'. - This seems more true. 

Just because two social events occur together does not mean that there is…


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