Sociologists and their perspectives on research methods

Keat & Urry - lab experiments
lab experiments are only suitable for studying closed systems, but society is an open system so the researcher can't control all the variables
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Rosenthal & Jacobson - field experiments
manipulated teachers' expectations about pupils by giving them misleading info about students' abilities to see if this caused a SFP
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Brown & Gay - field experiments
sent a white actor and a black actor for interviews for the same job to see which one would get it
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Wood et al - field experiments
sent closely matched job applications for people of different ethnicities to see who would get the job
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Schofield - questionnaires
research on sexual behaviour of teenagers, in reply to the question 'are you a virgin?' one girl replied 'no, not yet'
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Shipman - questionnaires
when the researcher's categories are not the respondent's categories, 'pruning and bending' of the data is inevitable
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Young & Wilmott - structured interviews
interviewed 933 people in their research on families in East London
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Young & Wilmott - structured interviews
only had 54 refusals out of 987 people they approached
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Reinharz - structured interviews
researchers intrude into women's privacy, manipulate them and give nothing in return
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Oakley - structured interviews
masculine approach that regards science as more important than furthering the interests of the people they research
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Graham - structured interviews
give a distorted view of women's experiences as it imposes the researcher's meanings and creates unequal power relationships
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Census - official statistics
in the last Census the refusal rate was only 5%
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Cicourel - official statistics
statistics are social constructs that represent labels that have been attached to people
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Census - official statistics
since the 80s census data no longer includes class differences in death rates
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Oakley/Graham - official statistics
masculine mode of research that is created by a patriarchal state
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Glaser & Strauss - unstructured interviews
it is important to approach research with an open mind and build up our hypothesis during the research instead of at the beginning
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Becker - unstructured interviews
used aggression, disbelief and 'playing dumb' to get teachers to reveal how they classified pupils in stereotypical ways
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Oakley - unstructured interviews
conducted 178 unstructured interviews, spent over 9 hours interviewing each woman on motherhood (also helped them with housework and childcare)
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Whyte - participant observation
the researcher gradually ceases to notice things that would earlier have struck them as noteworthy
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Polsky - participant observation
the researcher can enter the observation with an open mind and formulate new questions when they encounter new situations
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Downes & Rock - participant observation
although valid, they are ungeneralisable to the wider population
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Thomas & Znaniecki - documents
used documents to reveal the meanings individuals gave to their experience of migration (newspaper articles, letters, social work records)
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Scott - documents
might be forged, might not be credible, might misinterpret meanings
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Best - documents
used formal content analysis to analyse gender roles in children's reading schemes
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Milgram - lab experiments
Lied to research participants about purpose of research (deception) and participants were seen to be physically affected by their actions (protection from harm)
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Rosenhan - field experiments
researchers pretended to hear voices, were labelled as schizophrenic, told nurses they weren't hearing voices anymore and were still treated as if mentally ill (good for seeing effect of labels)
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Hite - questionnaires
Sent out 100,000 questionnaires but only 4.5% were returned
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Cicourel - questionnaires
lack validity, detached, no way to clarify meaning
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Cicourel & Kitsuse - unstructured interviews
always followed up their questions with 'How do you mean?' as a way of getting more information
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Labov - unstructured interviews
when using a formal interview technique to study the language of black American children, they were tongue-tied, but a more informal style made the children open up more
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Oakley - unstructured interviews
found it hard to remain detached when interviewing other women about childbirth (being a mother herself)
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Rich - unstructured interviews
when adults interview children, the child's need to please the interviewer will affect their answers
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Patrick - participant observations
was able to join a Glasgow gang because he looked young and knew one of the members
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Punch - participant obersvations
became too involved in the Amsterdam police and even took part in police activities
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Yablonksy - non participant observation
Teenage gang saw researcher armed with questionnaires as an unwelcome representative of authority
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Card 2

Front

manipulated teachers' expectations about pupils by giving them misleading info about students' abilities to see if this caused a SFP

Back

Rosenthal & Jacobson - field experiments

Card 3

Front

sent a white actor and a black actor for interviews for the same job to see which one would get it

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

sent closely matched job applications for people of different ethnicities to see who would get the job

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

research on sexual behaviour of teenagers, in reply to the question 'are you a virgin?' one girl replied 'no, not yet'

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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