Education Methods in Context sociologists

Observed homosexual men through covert observation as he wouldn't have gained access otherwise.
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Researched National Front- an extreme right wing political party which had a secret hierarchy. He argued he had to be covert as he wouldn't have gained access otherwise.
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'James Patrick'
Researcher who covertly researched violent gangs in Glasgow went by this name to protect himself and ensure safety.
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Beverly Skeggs
Used overt participation when studying sexuality of girls at a college.
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Willis 1977
Case study of 'the lads'-interpretivist approach so used unstructured interviews and observation to gain detailed insight.
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Social Trends
Collection of government surveys which were published annually very year until 2012.
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UK Census
A questionnaire sent to every household in the UK every 10 years which has to be filled out by law.
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Crime Survey for England and Wales
Collects information on victims of crime by questionnaires.
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What issues and strengths are there with covert observation?
Ethical-lack of informed consent - especially bad when researching children. Often information is only gained through covert observation eg. secretive gangs or sensitive topics.
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What are the strengths of using questionnaires?
They are easy to administer so can be used with big sample sizes meaning they are representative. Closed questions gain quantitive data=easy to analyse. Questions are repeatable so reliable. Sensitive topics can be researched as anonymous.
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What are the weaknesses of using questionnaires?
Lack in validity as people may not understand. Questions can be misleading or mean different things to people so not researching what it should. Closed don't allow any extra info. Postal questionnaires have a low response rate.
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What are the pros and cons of using structured interviews?
Very reliable. Can be large scale-representative. High response rate. Set questions so extra info isn't gained. More expensive than questionnaires.
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What are the pros and cons of lab experiments?
Researcher has control over the experiment, gains quantitive data and repeatable so reliable. Hard to replicate social situations in labs as artificial, hard to isolate variables as behaviour is influenced by lots of factors, people act different.
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What are the pros and cons of field experiments?
Realistic-in social setting, interpretive-uncover meanings. If people know they are being observed they change behaviour, impossible to control variables, ethical issues if people don't know they are being studied.
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What are the strengths of participant observations?
Researcher in with the action, first hand insight, if covert the researcher can't be misled.
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What are weaknesses of participant observation?
Researcher may influence behaviour-hawthorns effect, could get too involved and find it hard to be objective, not repeatable so not reliable, small groups-not representative, hard, time consuming and expensive.
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Strengths and limitations of non-participant observations?
No risk of getting too involved. Cannot get in with the action and behaviour may change since they know they are being watched.
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Founder of scientific sociology-believed that it can be like the natural sciences so tried to use the same methods. 'Science of society'-sociology.
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Sociology should be able to predict future trends in eg. unemployment. Uses comparative method between variables to look for correlation.
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It is very important to use 'verstehen' when studying human behaviour.
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No theory can claim to be the absolute truth not even science as it works off falsification and aiming to find evidence to contradict a hypothesis not prove it.
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Science uses an accepted body of knowledge for the basis of research called a paradigm, it is only when research breaks out paradigm that progress is made, not many scientists will do this. If they do they come up with a new paradigm-scientific rev.
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Sociology is the scientific study of an open system.
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Lyotard (in terms of science)
It is impossible to be objective at all-people construct knowledge they do not discover it.
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Oakley (value freedom)
Value free sociology is just a way to justify sexism in society
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Comte/Marx/Durkheim (value freedom)
Sociology aims to discover social facts. Society is shaped by value systems which determine values in society not the individual so value freedom doesn't really matter.
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Gouldner (value freedom)
Many sociologists are hired to do research so when they do it it doesn't concern their values and they don't take responsibility for how the data is used. BUT this is undesirable.
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Weber (value freedom)
People naturally attach value judgements to social facts. Values are needed when choosing area to study, interpreting data and how data is used. BUT the research process itself should be value free.
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Becker (value freedom)
Believes values are good and you should take sides when doing research especially sides of disadvantages groups such as the mentally ill.
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Firestone (feminist social policy)
Patriarchal society has to be dismantled before a woman position will ever be improved.
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Giddens (social policy)
Sociological research has 4 purposes:1. understanding the world. 2. awareness of needs of individual groups. 3. assessment of what works (policies). 4. increased personal knowledge of ourselves and others.
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Bauman (social policy)
Sociological research should inform the government on social issues like poverty and if they are ignores it can cause bigger problems
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Peter Townsend (social policy)
Did studies into poverty in the UK which led to better welfare provision.
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Baudrillard (post modernism)
We are living in a hyper reality due to technology where people do not know what is real and what isn't -sumulacra are taking over.
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Lyotard (post modernism)
Mettanarratives which used to prominent in society have disappeared along with the promises they used to hold eg. religion.
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Giddens (late modernism)
Changes to work, consumption and culture is accelerated due to; 1. Reflexivity-people reflect on themselves and change their actions accordingly, 2. Disembedding-we interact with each other without meeting face to face.
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Beck (late modernist)
We are becoming more and more individualised and even more reflexive as we have to take responsibility for our actions and minimise he risk of bad consequences.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2




Researched National Front- an extreme right wing political party which had a secret hierarchy. He argued he had to be covert as he wouldn't have gained access otherwise.

Card 3


'James Patrick'


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Beverly Skeggs


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Willis 1977


Preview of the front of card 5
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