key terms - research methods

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Covert role
where the researcher in a participant observation keeps their identity as a researcher concealed from the group being studied
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ethics
principles or ideas about what is morally right and wrong
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focus group
a from of group interview in which the group focuses on a particular topic to explore in depth and people are free to talk to one another as well as the interviewer
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group interview
an interview in which the researcher interviews several people at the same time, with the researcher controlling the direction of the interview, and responses directed to them
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hawthorne effect
when the presence of the researcher, or a groups knowledge that it has been selected for research, changes the behaviour of the group, raising problems with the validity of social research
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hypothesis
an idea which a researcher guesses might be true, but which has not yet been tested against the evidence
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imposition problem
when asking questions in interviews or self completion questionnaires, the risk that the researcher might be imposing their own views or framework on the people being researched, rather than getting at what they really think
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informed consent
the ethical requirement that those taking part in a sociological study have agreed to do so, and have given this consent based on full appreciation and understanding of the nature, aim and purpose of the study, any implications and the use of finding
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interpretivism
a sociological perspective that suggests that, to understand society, it is necessary to understand the meanings people give to their behaviour, and how these are influenced by the behaviour and interpretations of others
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interviewer bias
the answers given in an interview being influenced or distorted in some way by the presence or behaviour of the interviewer
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macro approach
a focus on large numbers of people and the large scale structure of society as a whole, rather than on individuals
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methodological pluralism
the use of variety of methods in a single piece of research
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micro approach
a focus on small groups or individuals, rather than on large numbers of people and the structure of society as a whole
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overt role
where the researcher in a participant observation study reveals their identity as a researcher to the group being studied
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personal documents
documents, which are usually private, for a persons own use, which record part of a persons lie
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pilot survey
a small scale practice survey carried out before the final survey to check for any possible problems
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positivism
an approach in sociology that believes society can be studied using similar scientific techniques to those used in natural sciences
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primary data
information which sociologists have collected themselves
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public documents
documents which are produced for public knowledge
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qualitative data
information concerned with the feelings and meanings people associate with, and their interpretations they give to, some issue or event
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quantitative data
information that can be measured and expressed in statistical or number form
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reliability
whether another researcher, if repeating or replicating research using the same method for the same research on the same or similar group, would achieve roughly the same results
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representative sample
a smaller group drawn from the survey population, of which it contains a good cross section. The information obtained from a representative sample should provide roughly the same results as if the whole survey population had been surveyed
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sample
a smaller representative group drawn from the survey population for studying
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sampling frame
a list of names of all those in the survey population from which a representative sample is selected
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sampling methods
the techniques sociologists use to select representative individuals to study from the survey population
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secondary data
data which already exist and which the researcher hasn't collected themselves
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social facts
social phenomena which exist outside individuals but act upon them in ways which constrain or mould their behaviour. such phenomena include social institutions such as the family, the law, the education system and the workplace
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survey population
the section of the population which is of interest in a survey
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survey
a means of collecting primary data from large numbers of people, usually in standardised statistical form
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triangulation
the use of two, or usually more, research methods in a single piece of research to check the reliability and validity of research evidence
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validity
the extent to which the findings of research actually provide a true, genius or authentic picture of what is being studied
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verstehen
the idea of understanding human behaviour by putting yourself in the position of those being studied, and trying to see things from their point of view
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victim survey
a survey which asks people if they have been victims of crime, whether or to they reported it to the police
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

principles or ideas about what is morally right and wrong

Back

ethics

Card 3

Front

a from of group interview in which the group focuses on a particular topic to explore in depth and people are free to talk to one another as well as the interviewer

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

an interview in which the researcher interviews several people at the same time, with the researcher controlling the direction of the interview, and responses directed to them

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

when the presence of the researcher, or a groups knowledge that it has been selected for research, changes the behaviour of the group, raising problems with the validity of social research

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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