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Sociology, A brief introduction: Schaefer (5e)

Sociology, A brief introduction: Schaefer (5e)

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Chapter02 Chapter02 Presentation Transcript

  •  
  • 2 Sociological Research
  • Chapter Outline
    • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Major Research Designs
    • Ethics of Research
    • Technology and Sociological Research
    • Social Policy and Sociological Research: Studying Human Sexuality
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Scientific Method
      • The scientific method is a systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem.
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • State as clearly as possible what you hope to investigate.
    • Operational Definition : An explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to measure.
    • Defining the Problem
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Reviewing the Literature
      • Literature is the relevant scholarly studies and information that pertains to the subject you’re interested in researching.
      • Reviewing the literature helps refine the problem under study, clarify possible techniques to be used in collecting data, and eliminate or reduce avoidable mistakes.
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Formulating the Hypothesis
      • A hypothesis is a speculative statement about the relationship between two or more factors known as variables .
      • A variable is a measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions.
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Formulating the Hypothesis
      • Types of Variables:
      • --An independent variable is the variable that is hypothesized to cause or influence another.
      • --A dependent variable is the variable whose action depends on the influence of the independent variable.
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Formulating the Hypothesis
      • Correlations exist when a change in one variable coincides with a change in another.
      • Correlations indicate that causality may be present.
  • What is the Scientific Method? Figure 2.2: Causal Logic
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Collecting and Analyzing Data
    • Selecting the Sample
      • -- A Sample is a selection from a larger population that is statistically representative of that population.
      • --In a Random Sample , every member of an entire population being studied has the same chance of being selected.
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Collecting and Analyzing Data
    • Ensuring Validity and Reliability
      • -- Validity : The degree to which a measure truly reflects the phenomenon being studied.
      • -- Reliability : The extent to which a measure provides consistent results.
  • What is the Scientific Method?
    • Developing the Conclusion
    • Supporting the Hypothesis
      • --Sociological studies do not always generate data that support the original hypothesis.
    • Controlling for Other Factors
      • --Control variables are factors that are held constant to test the impact of the independent variable
  • What is the Scientific Method? Figure 2.1: The Scientific Method
  • Major Research Designs
    • Surveys
    • A study generally in the form of an interview or questionnaire.
    • Provides sociologists with information about how people act or think.
  • Major Research Designs
    • Surveys
    • Interviews
      • --High response rate.
      • --Can probe beyond questionnaire.
    • Questionnaires
      • --Inexpensive.
      • --Good for large samples.
  • Major Research Designs
    • Observations
    • Collecting information through direct participation and/or observation of a group.
    • Most common form of quantitative research , which collects and reports data primarily in numerical form.
  • Major Research Designs
    • Observations
    • Participant Observation : When the researcher “joins” a group for a period of time to get a sense of how it operates.
  • Major Research Designs
    • Experiments
    • The artificially-created situation that allows the researcher to manipulate variables.
    • Experiments involve two types of groups:
      • --Experimental Group : Exposed to independent variable
      • --Control Group : Not exposed to independent variable.
  • Major Research Designs
    • Use of Existing Sources
    • Secondary Analysis : Research techniques making use of publicly accessible information and data.
    • Content Analysis : The systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale.
  • Major Research Designs Table 2-1: Existing Sources Used in Sociological Research
  • Ethics of Research
    • Principles
    • Maintain objectivity.
    • Respect the subject’s right to privacy.
    • Protect subjects from harm.
    • Preserve confidentiality.
    • Seek informed consent.
    • Acknowledge collaboration and assistance.
    • Disclose all sources of financial support.
  • Technology and Sociological Research
    • Computers
    • Have extended the range and capability to conduct research.
    • Allow large amounts of information to be stored and analyzed.
  • Social Policy and Sociological Research
    • Studying Human Sexuality
    • The Issue
      • --Sexuality is a difficult topic to research because of all the preconceptions, myths, and beliefs we bring to the subject.
      • --How does one carry out scientific research of such a controversial and personal topic?
  • Social Policy and Sociological Research
    • Studying Human Sexuality
    • The Setting
      • --There are few reliable national data on patterns of sexual behavior in the United States.
      • --This is partly due to the difficulty of researchers to obtain accurate information about a sensitive subject.
      • --Government funding for sexual studies is controversial.
  • Social Policy and Sociological Research
    • Studying Human Sexuality
    • Sociological Insights
      • --The government is the major source of funding for sociological research.
      • -- “Value neutrality” suggests that sociological researchers should remain autonomous and not bound to any one segment of society, including the government.
      • --Can sociologists remain impartial?
  • Social Policy and Sociological Research
    • Studying Human Sexuality
    • Policy Initiatives
      • --In 1987, the U.S. Senate blocked funding for a national survey of sexual behavior by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
      • --The researchers had to acquire private funding to complete the NHSLS survey.
  • Social Policy and Sociological Research Figure 2.4: Percent of Television Shows that Contain Sexual Content (source: Kaiser Family Foundation 2001/02)
  • Social Policy and Sociological Research Figure 2.5: Views on Sex before Marriage