AQA Sociology Research Methods

A approach in sociology that believes society can be studied using quantitative/scientific methods.
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A approach emphasising that people have consciousness involving beliefs, values etc, that influence the way they act.
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Macro approach
Focuses on large amounts of people and the large scale structure of society.
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Putting yourself in the position of those being studied.
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Micro approach
Focuses on small groups or individuals.
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Concerns ideas about what is morally right or wrong.
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Informed Consent
Those taking part in the study have agreed to do so.
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Refers to whether, a researcher, if repeating the same method for the same research will get similar results to the previous study.
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Concerned with notions of the truth, are the findings genuine picture of what is being studied.
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Public Documents
are those which are produced for public knowledge.
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Personal Documents
Usually private documents for a person's own use.
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Content Analysis
A research method that produces primary quantitative data from the study of qualitative secondary sources.
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Is an idea which a researcher guesses might be true but has not yet been tested.
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Hawthorne Effect
When the presence of a researcher changes the groups behaviour.
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Lab Experiment
Testing a hypothesis in laboratory conditions.
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Field experiments
Conducted in the real world under normal social conditions, but following similar procedures to a lab experiment.
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Comparative method
Researcher collects data about different societies or social groups and compares them.
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A means of collecting primary data from large numbers of people, usually in statistical form.
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Is a smaller representative group drawn from the survey population.
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Survey population
Is the whole group being studied.
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Sampling frame
A list of names of all those included in the survey population from which the sample is selected.
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Random Sampling
Means that every individual in the survey population has an equal chance of being picked out for the investigation.
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Systematic sampling
Where the names are selected from the sampling frame at regular intervals until the size of the sample is reached.
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Stratified Random Sampling
Is a way of attempting to avoid the possible errors caused by simplified ransom sampling. Subdividing the sampling frame into smaller categories.
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Quota Sampling
Interviewers are told to go and select people who fit into certain categories according to their proportion in the survey population. Left to the honesty of the interviewer.
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Cluster Sampling
Selecting a sample in various stages, each time selecting a sample from the previous sample until the final sample of people is selected.
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Snowball Sampling
Used when a sampling frame is hard to obtain or doesn't exist. The researcher may identify people with characteristics their interested in.
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Pilot Survey
a small scale practice survey carried out before the final survey to check for possible problems.
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a set of printed or written questions with a choice of answers, devised for the purposes of a survey or statistical study.
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Interviewer Bias
refers to the answers given in an interview being influenced in some way by the presence or behaviour of the interviewer.
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Group Interview
The researcher interviews several people at the same time.
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Focus Group
A form of group interview but which focuses on a particular to explore in depth.
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The researcher reveals to the group being studied their true identity.
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The researcher hides thier identity from the studied group to gain access without creating the Hawthorne effect.
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Participant Observation
The research joins the group they are studying and participates in activities over time.
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Non-participant Observation
Researcher observes but does not participate.
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Longitudinal Studies
Data is collected by repeated surveys at regular intervals over a period of years.
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Case Studies
Intensive study of a single example of whatever the researcher wishes to investigate. Can be carried out using any method of research.
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Methodological Pluralism
used to describe the use by researchers of a variety of methods in a single piece of research.
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is the use of two or more research methods in a single piece of research to check reliability and validity.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


A approach emphasising that people have consciousness involving beliefs, values etc, that influence the way they act.



Card 3


Focuses on large amounts of people and the large scale structure of society.


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Card 4


Putting yourself in the position of those being studied.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Focuses on small groups or individuals.


Preview of the back of card 5
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