Sociology- Research Methods

Ethics
informed Consent, Deception, Confidentiality and privacy, Debrief, right to Withdraw, Protection from harm.
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Cross-sectional
Uses range of different people to best represent research population.
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Random sampling
Equal chance of getting picked
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Opportunity sampling
Available and willing at the time.
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Volunteer sampling
Actively volunteer/ask.
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Stratified/Quota sampling
Strata/groups of people proportional to population.
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Systematic sampling
Regular interval, (nth)
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Snowball sampling
Use contact to acquire more people.
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Laboratory Experiments
Highly controlled variables.
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Positive of Laboratory Experiments
Able to manipulate variables easily. Can identify and control ethical issues. Easier to find cause and effect relationship (high internal validity)
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Limitations of Laboratory Experiments
Little mundane realism = not very representative. Can be unethical. Can be costly.
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Example of Laboratory Experiment
Milgram - obedience of authority figures.
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Field Experiment
Natural surroundings, manipulates IV, little control of EVs.
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Positive of Field Experiments
More mundane realism = more representative. Can be more ethical (natural situation).
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Limitations of Field Experiments
Harder to control EVs. People generally unaware (issue of informed consent). Can be costly.
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Example of Field Experiment
Rosenthal and Jacobson- percieved target grades affecting teaching. Mrs Elliott- blue eyes/brown eyes.
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Comparative Method
'Thought experiment'. Carried out in mind of sociologist.
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Positive of Comparative Method
Less costly. Fewer ethical problems (protected from harm). Easier to carry out.
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Limitations of Comparative Method
Might not come to the correct conclusion. No informed consent to be used in study.
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Example of Comparative Method
Durkheim- suicide rates compared.
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Hawthorne Effect
If people know they are being observed, they alter their behaviour.
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Positives of Questionnaires
Quick and cheap. Easily quantified. Reliable, representative. Detached from research (reduces researcher bias).
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Limitations of Questionnaires
Data tends to be limited and artificial (social desirability bias). Low in validity. Inflexible method.
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Structured Interview
List of pre-determined questions asked in a fixed order. Typically close questions. Quantitative data.
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Positive of Structured Interview
High response rate and reliability. If closed questions, easier to put into statistical form.
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Limitations of Structured Interview
Expensive. Inflexible. Lacks validity (closed questions). Social desirability bias.
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Unstructured Interviews
No pre-determined questions, just a general aim. Informal. Typically open questions, Qualitative data.
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Positive of Unstructured Interviews
Flexible. High response rate. More valid, detailed info.
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Limitations of Unstructured Interviews
Interviewer bias (leading questions). Time consuming and expensive. Social desirability bias.
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Positive of Focus Group
People may be feel encouraged to join in on a group interview. Quicker and easier. Less expensive.
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Limitations of Focus Group
People may be too shy to share sensitive info in a group or may change opinions (social desirability bias).
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Positives of Official Statistics
Can investigate trends. Cheap, readily available.
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Limitations of Official Statistics
'Socially constructed' (outcomes of decisions made by people). Invalid (no rich data).
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Positives of Non-Participant Observations
Less likely to influence group as detached from it. Can use research aids, take notes openly. Avoids some ethical issues (deception)
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Limitations of Non-Participant Observations
Less valid data. More likely to impose opinions on data. Risk of Hawthorne effect. May refuse.
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Example of Non-Participant Observation
Flanders - interactions in classrooms. Ofsted - teaching performance.
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Positives of Partcipant Observations
Gain verstehen (as part of group can understand meanings). Valid data. Less Hawthorne effect.
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Limitations of Participant Observations
Going 'native'. May influence group. Deception issue.
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Example of Participant Observation
Humphreys- tea room trade (gay men in public bathrooms performing sexual acts)
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Positives of Covert Observations
Rich, qualitative data, gain verstehen. Lessons Hawthorne effect.
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Limitations of Covert Obvservations
Rely on memory for notes. Going 'native'. Lack of consent, right to withdraw, deception. Low reliability, hard to repeat.
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Example of Covert Observation
Humphreys- tea room trade (gay men in public bathrooms performing sexual acts)
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Positives of Overt Observation
Avoids ethical issues of deception. Can take notes openly or use interview methods.
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Limitations of Overt Observation
May refuse. Hawthorne effect undermines validity.
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Example of Overt Observation
Barker- making 'moonies' (brainwashing religion).
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Positives of Documents
Valid, genuine insight, cheap, less time consuming
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Limitations of Documents
Content may biased- peoples' opinions. Som historical documents may be missing (unrepresentative and incomplete). May be hard access.
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Practical Factors Influencing Choice of Method
Time and money, access to resources, requirements of funding bodies, personal skills/characteristics, subject matter, research opportunity.
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Ethical Factors Influencing Choice of Method
Informed consent, right to withdraw, deception, confidentiality/privacy, effects on pps, vulnerable groups of people.
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Theoretical Factors Influencing Choice of Method
Validity, reliability, representativeness, methodological perspectives.
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Longitudinal Study with Example
Studied/monitored over time at regular intervals. Eg, child of our time by Robert Winston.
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Strengths of Longitudinal Studies
Track developments over time, comparisons, more valid data.
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Limitations of Longitudinal Studies
Sample attrition, less representative, large amounts of data, costly, Hawthorne effect.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Cross-sectional

Back

Uses range of different people to best represent research population.

Card 3

Front

Random sampling

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Opportunity sampling

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Volunteer sampling

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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