Research Methods

What was Bandura's experiment?
Study of the Bobo doll in 1961 testing the influence of watching violence on children's behaviour. They them imitated this violence on the Bobo doll.
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What was Milgram's experiment?
Influenced form Nazi Germany, the teacher student electric shock study testing how violent one may behave under authority.
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What was the Tuskgee Syphilis study?
Afro americans were given Syphilis to see how their condition differed from that of white males. Continued from 1030-70 following a public outcry where 28 men died.
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What is 'The Experiment'
A scientific method of research as a way to test a hypothesis, manipulating variables and measuring quantifiable results.
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What is a 'Field Experiment'
A study in the social world which is completely natural with no interference. It adapts an existing situation into research where those involved often dont know they are being studied.
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Explain Rosehan's study 'Being Sane in Insane Places'
Sent pseudo patients into a mental hospital to see how easy it was to be admitted and analyse the experiences of patients.
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What is Primary Data?
Data collected as a first hand source by sociologists themselves.
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What is Secondary Data?
Data that already exists and has been collected from secondary sources, e.g. personal/public documents, published statistics.
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What is Content analysis?
Produces primary quantitative data from the study of secondary qualitative studies. Sociologists analyse content and quantify it.
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Explain the Hawthorne Effect
The knowledge that an experiment is taking place so individuals involved may behave differently.
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What is the comparative method?
The researcher collects data about different societies or social groups in the real world at different times. The researcher then compares one group with another
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What are surveys and what do they do?
Surveys are a means of collecting primary data from a large number of people, usually in a standardised statistical form.
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Who uses the survey method?
Positivists as it produces quantitative statistical data.
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What is random sampling?
Where every individual has a chance of being picked, this is commonly done through computer generation.
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What is systematic sampling?
Names are selected from a sampling frame at regular intervals.
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What is stratified random sampling?
Where you stratify the sampling frame by subdividing into smaller sampling frames on similar categories.
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What is quota sampling?
Interviewers select people fitting in certain categories according to the survey population as a whole. The selection of the individuals is therefore left to the honesty of the researcher.
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What is multi stage or cluster sampling?
Selecting a sample in various stages, i.e. selecting a sample from the previous sample until the final sample is selected.
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What is snowball sampling?
When you initially select a few individuals who then tell their contacts about the sample until the total is reached.
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What is a pilot survey?
A small scale practice survey carried out before the final survey to check fro any possible problems.
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What are pre coded or closed questions in questionnaires?
Involve respondents being asked either pre set/ leading questions or multiple choice questions with pre set answers.
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What are open ended questions in questionnaires?
Produce more qualitative data where there are few if any questions with pre set answers to choose from. Can write your own answers or dictate them to an interviewer.
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of postal questionnaires?
AD=They are relatively cheap, easy to produce and distribute, no problem with interviewer bias, may be more inclined to answer Qs. DIS=May have non respondents, no way of knowing that exact person completed it.
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What does a structured interview look like?
Based on pre coded questions set in the same order every time. Doesn't go beyond questions asked, formal Q&A session.
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What does an unstructured interview look like?
A guided conversation where the interviewer has topic in mind but few, if any, pre set Qs. Can draw out findings and build a rapport with the respondent.
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What are the general problems with interviews?
Validity - Interview is an artificial situation where what people say might have very little to do with their everyday behaviour. Interviewer bias - changing behaviour through the presence of the interviewer.
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What is participant observation?
Involves a researcher joining in with a group or community (verstehen)
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What are the possible implications of participant observation?
Getting out, ethical concerns for the researcher and those involved, damaging relationships when getting out, validity of results when having to make notes on the scene.
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What is the difference between an overt and covert role?
Overt role= those being studied are aware of the sociologist doing the research. Covert= those being studied are unaware they are being studied.
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What is non participant observation?
It is carried out through observation alone, in this case you can eliminate the risk of people being effected by the researcher.
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What is a longitudinal study?
A longitudinal study selects a sample/cohort/panel from whom data is collected at regular intervals over a period of years where data can be collected and reviewed over a period of time.
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What is Methodological pluralism
The use of a variety of methods and types of data in a single piece of research to provide the fullest, most reliable and valid understanding possible.
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What is Trianglulation?
The use of a variety of methods and different types of data to cross check that the results obtained by a particular method are valid and reliable.
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Give an example of Triangulation
Qualitative unstructured interviews used to check whether people meant what they really said in their responses to questionnaires in a survey.
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Card 2


What was Milgram's experiment?


Influenced form Nazi Germany, the teacher student electric shock study testing how violent one may behave under authority.

Card 3


What was the Tuskgee Syphilis study?


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Card 4


What is 'The Experiment'


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Card 5


What is a 'Field Experiment'


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