Research Methods

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Validity
True and accurate description or measurement
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Reliability
Data is reliable when researchers using the same methods obtain the same results
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Generalisability
Findings of a study are applicable to wider society
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Representativeness
Sample the study is based on must share the same characteristics of the population
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Objectivity
Researchers must be objective in how they collect and interpret data if their findings are going to give a true picture of the the issue they are researching
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Ethics
Researchers must follow ethical guidelines when undertaking research to ensure the safety of the participants
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What are the strengths of closed questions?
Standardise data, easy to quantify, high in reliability
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What are the weaknesses of closed questions?
Ambiguous questions, Imposition problem, lacks validity
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What are the strengths of open questions?
Answers are not restricted, high in validity
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What are the weaknesses of open questions?
Time consuming, difficult to quantify, lacks reliability
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What are the strengths of self completion questionnaires?
Quick and easy to complete, high response rate, lowers research effects
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What are the weaknesses of self completion questions?
Ambiguous questions, time consuming, might be expensive
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What are the strengths of postal questionnaires?
Large scale, relatively cheap, easy to answer, rules out interviewer bias,
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What are the weaknesses of postal questionnaires?
Ambiguous questions, not being taken seriously, potentially low response rate
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Evaluate structured interviews
+quick to complete & data easy to quantify. -lack of detail & imposition problem
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Evaluated unstructured interviews
+Build a rapport with participants & high in validity. - Difficult to quantify & time consuming
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Evaluate semi-structured interviews
+Flexible but still focused & build a Rapport with respondents. -Difficult to compare and quantify 2 types of data & time consuming
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Evaluate focus groups
+More natural behaviour (validity) & Observe group activity. -Difficult to build individual Rapport & Conformity to group
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Evaluate non-participant observations
+Deception removed & research freely ask questions. -Hawthorne effect & researcher not fully experiencing the life
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Evaluate participant observations
+High in validity & Verstehen. -Time consuming & Hawthorne effect
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Evaluate overt observations
+Avoids ethical problems & Notes taken openly and freely. -Rejection by group & Hawthorne effect
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Evaluate covert observations
+Reduces risk of Hawthorne effect & Easier to access certain groups. -Researcher cannot freely take notes & Can't ask questions
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What are surveys?
Large scale quantitative studies
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What is ethnography?
Embedding yourself deeply and over the long-term in a field site of study to systematically document everyday lives
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What example can be used when discussing ethnography?
Colosi's lap dancer research
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What is methodological pluralism?
Researchers use a variety of research methods to build up a more complete image of the social world
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What is triangulation?
Data is compared and contrasted in order to check the consistency of the findings
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What is a random sample?
Every member of the population has an equal chance of being chosen
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What is a stratified sample?
Classifying the population into categories, the choosing a sample which consists of participants from each category in the same proportions
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What is a systematic sample?
Numbering the participants in your sampling frame and then picking participants at a set interval
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What is a quota sample?
Classifying the population into categories, then asking people to go into those categories if they fit into them. When have right proportion of each, stop recruiting for sample
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What is a snowball sample?
Finding one member of the group and asking them if they know anyone else who could take part, then asking for more etc
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What is a volunteer sample?
Participants volunteer themselves when asked or in response to an advert
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What is a purposive sample?
The researcher when short of time may seek participants who available but also appropriate for the purpose of the research
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What is the target population?
Refers to the entire group the researcher is studying
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What is the gatekeeper?
Someone with the trust and respect of the group who can ease the introduction of the researcher
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What does access mean?
Contact needs to be made by the researcher before research can begin
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What are the 5 ethical issues sociologists have to be aware of?
Consent, Confidentiality, Danger and harm, Vulnerable groups, Covert research
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What are the 5 practical issues sociologists have to be aware of?
Funding bodies, Time and money, Personal skills and characteristics, Subject matter, Research opportunity
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What are the theoretical issues sociologists have to be aware of?
Reliability, Validity, Representativeness, Methodological pluralism
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Reliability

Back

Data is reliable when researchers using the same methods obtain the same results

Card 3

Front

Generalisability

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Representativeness

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Objectivity

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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