Research Methods

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  • Created by: meegy.moo
  • Created on: 22-05-16 17:24
What is the subject matter of sociology about?
The relationships people make with each other
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Why is sociological research important?
It gives us more than a common-sense understanding of the social world in which we live.
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By undertaking rigorous and evidence based research what do most sociologist claim their findings are?
Objective and value free.
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What are the 5 main components of a research study?
1. The topic and aims. 2. The researcher. 3. The sample of people. 4. The research method. 5.The data/findings.
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Which approach is positivist and what does it mean?
Quantitative and it means measurment.
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Which approach is interpretivist and what does it mean?
Qualititative and it means understanding.
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What did early classical sociologists of the 19th century model their research on?
The methods of natural sciences.
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What did the positivist approach argue that sociologists should only study?
Observable Phenomena
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What does the quantitative approach involve?
Collecting numerical data and social facts, establsihing correlations and searching for cause and effect relationships.
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What is the qualititative approach favoured by?
Interpretive sociologists who see reality as more subjective.
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What did max weber argue about the qualititative approach?
In order to give meaning to people's actions we should practice 'verhstehen' which literally means 'understand' but in practice involves empathisisng by putting yourself in the shoes of those you are researching.
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Which approach is people centred to research collecting word-cented data?
The qualitative.
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What is primary data?
Data directly collected by the sociologist as part of their research.
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What is the method of primary data used for?
Surveys, observation and occassionaly experiments.
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What is secondary data?
Data used by the sociologist but collected by organisations or other people.
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What are some examples of secondary data?
Ofical statistics, previous research, historical and personal documents and diaries.
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What can sound conclusions only be drawn from?
Good evidence.
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Why is the sociologist's subject matter unpredicatble?
As people do not always tell the truth.
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What do sociologists uses in order to evaluate the quality of evidence from their own or other research?
The measures of reliability and validity.
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What methods are thought to be the most reliable and why?
The Quantitative because they are more replicable.
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What does reliability mean?
If the researcher (or anyone else) was to repeat the research then would the same results be obtained?
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What research method tends to produce data that is higher in reliability than other methods.
Carefully constructed questionnaires.
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What does validity refer to?
Research that is truthful, accurate and relevant to the topic being investigated.
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Where does validity usually derive from?
The respondents being honest about their behaviour and feelings.
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How can the researcher affect valdity?
Through being biased or from drawing unjustified conclusions from the data collected.
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What is clearly important for both qualititative and quantitative research to be?
Accurate and true to life
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What do unstrucrured interviews and observations tend to produce?
Data that is higher in validity than other methods.
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What does representativeness refer to?
The characteristics of any sample that is used in relation to the target population being studied.
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If the sample is representative what does it reflect?
The important characteristics of the target population.
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When is it not possible to draw any meaningful generalisations from the research?
If the sample does not share the same characteristics and in the same proportions.
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What does generalisability do?
enable findings from the sample to be seen as typical of the groups being studied and possibly wider society itself and i can be applied to the target population as a whole.
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What happens if the researcher is objective?
They approach their research and their findings in an unbiased, value free way.
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What happens if the researcher is subjective?
They let their personal biases affect some aspect of their research.
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What can sociological research have/ do?
It can have unintended consequences and negatively affect the people who are being researched.
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What do researchers have to take into consideration when doing research?
Ethical Issues.
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What does informed consent refer to ?
The freely given consent by respondents to taking part in research.
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In order to give informed consent what sould participants be told?
About the nature and purpose of the research.
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How should all data be treated and what should be guaranteed to respondents?
Treated in the strictest and confidence and anonymity should be guaranteed.
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People's backgrounds and characteristics should only be described in a what sort of way and why?
In a limmited way, in order to avoid inadvertently giving away people's identities.
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Why should researchers consider the consequences of their investigation?
To ensure that no-one is adversely affected psychologically, physically or socially.
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What should sociologsts do when research builds up close relationships?
Exercise their professional judgement to ensure their practice is correct and appropriate.
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What should researchers take care to avoid?
Situations that involve breaking the law or enagging in inappropriate behaviour.
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What can sometimes make or break a peice of research and play a major role in determining wether research is successful or not?
Practical problems.
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How may research become expensive?
If it takes place over a long period of time and invoves a team rather than an individual resarcher.
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When can planned research not take place?
Without adeqate funding.
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Who is the largest provider of research funds in the UK?
The goverment.
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What can add to the expense of sociological researh?
It being very time consuming.
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What can happen with longitudinal research?
It can cause projects to be terminated prematurely becuase of lack of funds or the participants droppin out as they loose interest with the project.
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Why is sociological research important?


It gives us more than a common-sense understanding of the social world in which we live.

Card 3


By undertaking rigorous and evidence based research what do most sociologist claim their findings are?


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Card 4


What are the 5 main components of a research study?


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Card 5


Which approach is positivist and what does it mean?


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