AS Practical Factors Influencing Choice of Methods

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AS Practical Factors Influencing Choice of Methods

  1. 1. Sociological Methods: Practical Factors Influencing Choice of Methods
  2. 2. Method Issues... <ul><li>Different methods all have specific problems. </li></ul><ul><li>These problems are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Practical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theoretical </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Practical Issues: Time & Money <ul><li>Large scale studies may req. dozens of interviewers & data- inputting staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Small scale projects might req as few as a singe researcher. </li></ul><ul><li>Lone participant Obs. Studies are cheap, but take a lot longer to complete. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Practical Issues: Requirements of Funding Bodies <ul><li>Funding Bodies are: research Inst., businesses, & other organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>Often require results to be in a particular format. </li></ul><ul><li>Sociologist will have to use a method which can produce such data, i.e. questionnaires, structured interviews </li></ul>
  5. 5. Practical Issues: Personal Skills & Characteristics <ul><li>Each Sociologist has different skills; this affects their choice in methods used for research-strengths/weaknesses. </li></ul><ul><li>Part. Observation Req’s good social skills, heightened observation & recall skills etc... </li></ul><ul><li>In depth interview req’s ability to build rapport.... </li></ul>
  6. 6. Practical Issues: Subject Matter <ul><li>Some groups are easier to study using one method over another. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: a male sociologist will likely find it hard to study an all female group via participant observation. </li></ul><ul><li>Likewise, written questionnaires are useless studying people who cannot read. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Practical Issues: Research Opportunities <ul><li>Opportunities can be spontaneous & so structured methods which take longer to prepare, like questionnaires are not possible to use. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Glasgow gang leader offered 'out of the blue' a chance to James Patrick (1973) to hang with his gang. Patrick used participant observation as there was no time to use a more structured method. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Practical Issues Summary <ul><li>Time & Money play a significant role in the length and depth of the study. </li></ul><ul><li>Funding bodies impose their own expectations on the sociologist. </li></ul><ul><li>Not all sociologists are equipped with the same social skills which affect their research options. </li></ul><ul><li>There are various limitations on subject matter and how it can be studied. </li></ul><ul><li>Research opportunities are often spontaneous and thus the sociologist is not able to adequately prepare. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Check Your Learning <ul><li>Name two practical issues that might affect a researcher's choice of method. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with a partner. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write the question and your answers in your notes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Come up with your own examples-- one for each. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Next Up... Ethical Issues

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