Sociology- Research Methods

informed Consent, Deception, Confidentiality and privacy, Debrief, right to Withdraw, Protection from harm.
1 of 53
Uses range of different people to best represent research population.
2 of 53
Random sampling
Equal chance of getting picked
3 of 53
Opportunity sampling
Available and willing at the time.
4 of 53
Volunteer sampling
Actively volunteer/ask.
5 of 53
Stratified/Quota sampling
Strata/groups of people proportional to population.
6 of 53
Systematic sampling
Regular interval, (nth)
7 of 53
Snowball sampling
Use contact to acquire more people.
8 of 53
Laboratory Experiments
Highly controlled variables.
9 of 53
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)
10 of 53
Limitations of Laboratory Experiments
Little mundane realism = not very representative. Can be unethical. Can be costly.
11 of 53
Example of Laboratory Experiment
Milgram - obedience of authority figures.
12 of 53
Field Experiment
Natural surroundings, manipulates IV, little control of EVs.
13 of 53
Positive of Field Experiments
More mundane realism = more representative. Can be more ethical (natural situation).
14 of 53
Limitations of Field Experiments
Harder to control EVs. People generally unaware (issue of informed consent). Can be costly.
15 of 53
Example of Field Experiment
Rosenthal and Jacobson- percieved target grades affecting teaching. Mrs Elliott- blue eyes/brown eyes.
16 of 53
Comparative Method
'Thought experiment'. Carried out in mind of sociologist.
17 of 53
Positive of Comparative Method
Less costly. Fewer ethical problems (protected from harm). Easier to carry out.
18 of 53
Limitations of Comparative Method
Might not come to the correct conclusion. No informed consent to be used in study.
19 of 53
Example of Comparative Method
Durkheim- suicide rates compared.
20 of 53
Hawthorne Effect
If people know they are being observed, they alter their behaviour.
21 of 53
Positives of Questionnaires
Quick and cheap. Easily quantified. Reliable, representative. Detached from research (reduces researcher bias).
22 of 53
Limitations of Questionnaires
Data tends to be limited and artificial (social desirability bias). Low in validity. Inflexible method.
23 of 53
Structured Interview
List of pre-determined questions asked in a fixed order. Typically close questions. Quantitative data.
24 of 53
Positive of Structured Interview
High response rate and reliability. If closed questions, easier to put into statistical form.
25 of 53
Limitations of Structured Interview
Expensive. Inflexible. Lacks validity (closed questions). Social desirability bias.
26 of 53
Unstructured Interviews
No pre-determined questions, just a general aim. Informal. Typically open questions, Qualitative data.
27 of 53
Positive of Unstructured Interviews
Flexible. High response rate. More valid, detailed info.
28 of 53
Limitations of Unstructured Interviews
Interviewer bias (leading questions). Time consuming and expensive. Social desirability bias.
29 of 53
Positive of Focus Group
People may be feel encouraged to join in on a group interview. Quicker and easier. Less expensive.
30 of 53
Limitations of Focus Group
People may be too shy to share sensitive info in a group or may change opinions (social desirability bias).
31 of 53
Positives of Official Statistics
Can investigate trends. Cheap, readily available.
32 of 53
Limitations of Official Statistics
'Socially constructed' (outcomes of decisions made by people). Invalid (no rich data).
33 of 53
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)
34 of 53
Limitations of Non-Participant Observations
Less valid data. More likely to impose opinions on data. Risk of Hawthorne effect. May refuse.
35 of 53
Example of Non-Participant Observation
Flanders - interactions in classrooms. Ofsted - teaching performance.
36 of 53
Positives of Partcipant Observations
Gain verstehen (as part of group can understand meanings). Valid data. Less Hawthorne effect.
37 of 53
Limitations of Participant Observations
Going 'native'. May influence group. Deception issue.
38 of 53
Example of Participant Observation
Humphreys- tea room trade (gay men in public bathrooms performing sexual acts)
39 of 53
Positives of Covert Observations
Rich, qualitative data, gain verstehen. Lessons Hawthorne effect.
40 of 53
Limitations of Covert Obvservations
Rely on memory for notes. Going 'native'. Lack of consent, right to withdraw, deception. Low reliability, hard to repeat.
41 of 53
Example of Covert Observation
Humphreys- tea room trade (gay men in public bathrooms performing sexual acts)
42 of 53
Positives of Overt Observation
Avoids ethical issues of deception. Can take notes openly or use interview methods.
43 of 53
Limitations of Overt Observation
May refuse. Hawthorne effect undermines validity.
44 of 53
Example of Overt Observation
Barker- making 'moonies' (brainwashing religion).
45 of 53
Positives of Documents
Valid, genuine insight, cheap, less time consuming
46 of 53
Limitations of Documents
Content may biased- peoples' opinions. Som historical documents may be missing (unrepresentative and incomplete). May be hard access.
47 of 53
Practical Factors Influencing Choice of Method
Time and money, access to resources, requirements of funding bodies, personal skills/characteristics, subject matter, research opportunity.
48 of 53
Ethical Factors Influencing Choice of Method
Informed consent, right to withdraw, deception, confidentiality/privacy, effects on pps, vulnerable groups of people.
49 of 53
Theoretical Factors Influencing Choice of Method
Validity, reliability, representativeness, methodological perspectives.
50 of 53
Longitudinal Study with Example
Studied/monitored over time at regular intervals. Eg, child of our time by Robert Winston.
51 of 53
Strengths of Longitudinal Studies
Track developments over time, comparisons, more valid data.
52 of 53
Limitations of Longitudinal Studies
Sample attrition, less representative, large amounts of data, costly, Hawthorne effect.
53 of 53

Other cards in this set

Card 2




Uses range of different people to best represent research population.

Card 3


Random sampling


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Opportunity sampling


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Volunteer sampling


Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Sociological research methods resources »