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Sociological research methods


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Sociological research methods

  1. 1. SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH METHODS Crackers Jen & Beach Babe Beth
  2. 2. SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH METHODSThe purpose of sociology is to answer questions about social life and the social world.In order to do this, sociologists develop theories, which is a general explanation of how or why social life follows the pattern it does.Sociologists try to ensure that their theories are based on sound evidence.Sociologists have a variety of different methods that they use to gather information about society.
  3. 3. RESEARCH IN EDUCATIONWe can identify the following 5 characteristics of education as an area for research:1. Pupils In education, many of the people sociologists study are children and young people. There are 2 major differences between studying young people and adults, power and status, ability, and vulnerability.2. Teachers Power and relationships in school are not equal. Teachers have more power and status because of their age, experience and responsibility within school. Teacher may be over worked any may be less cooperative, causing restrictions on the amount of data gathered.3. Parents Parents influence what goes on in education by the way they bring up their children and through school contact. Some parents may be more willing to participate in research than others , but this is sometimes dependant upon their class and ethnicity.4. Classrooms Classroom is unusual in being a closed, highly controlled social setting. In classroom interactions teacher and pupils are very experience at distinguishing their real thoughts and feeling from each other; they may conceal these from the researcher too.5. Schools Education establishments are formal organisations with rules and hierarchies. Researchers may come to be seen part of this. For example, students may see them as teachers, while teachers may see them as inspectors. In schools where there is conflict between students and teachers, researchers may been seen as the enemy., making it harder to gather truthful information on the subject matter.
  4. 4. PRIMARY & SECONDARY DATAPrimary DataAdvantages DisadvantagesSociologists may be able to gather This can be costly and time consumingprecisely the information they need to texttheir hypothesisPossible to capture data changes in time Ethical issues, researcher has to keepand is flexible to the advantage of the confidentiality of interviewee but ifresearcher something is discovered to be of outstanding significance to the persons health and safety then it is up to the interviewer whether to inform someone of a higher authority
  5. 5. PRIMARY & SECONDARY DATAPrimaryInformation collected first hand by sociologists themselves for their own research purposes. Methods such as – participant observation, social surveys and experimentsSecondaryInformation not collected not collected by sociologists themselves for their own research purposes, but by other people for non-sociological purposes. Sociologists tend to use this data as it is cheap, readily available and covers large numbers. Sources such as – Official statistics, the media and personal documents
  6. 6. PRIMARY & SECONDARY DATA Secondary DataAdvantages DisadvantagesCan be a quick and cheap method of Those who produce it may not be interestedgathering research as it has already been in the same questions as sociologistscollected making the research being used as biasedRapidly available and covers large numbers Secondary sources may not provide the exact information that sociologists need
  7. 7. PRIMARY & SECONDARY DATALinks to research and investigating educationMethods such as participant observation, surveys and questionnaires, exam results and other school statistics can be used to provide an insight and gather information on achievement levels, attendance reports and the opinions of those within the school
  8. 8. QUANTATIVE & QUALITATIVE DATAQuantativeInformation in numerical formOfficial statistics and results of social surveys are important sources of Quantative dataAdvantages DisadvantagesAllow for a broader study, involving a Results are limited as they providegreater number of subjects, and numerical descriptions rather thanincreasing the generalisation of the detailed narrative and generally provideresults less elaborate accounts of humancan allow for greater accuracy of results. perceptionPersonal bias can be avoided by In addition preset answers will notresearchers keeping a distance from necessarily reflect how people really feelparticipating subjects and employing about a subject and in some cases mightsubjects unknown to them . just be the closest match.
  9. 9. QUANTATIVE & QUALITATIVE DATAQualitativeInformation expressed in words about peoples thoughts, feelings, motivations, attitudes and values. Obtained from qualitative methods and sources such as participant observation, unstructured interviews and diaries and lettersProvides depth and detail : looks deeper than Dependent on skills of the researcher:analysing ranks and counts by recording particularly in the case of conductingattitudes, feelings and behaviours interviews, focus groups and observation.Attempts to avoid pre-judgements: if used Usually fewer people studied: collection ofalongside quantitative data collection, it can qualitative data is generally more timeexplain why a particular response was given consuming that quantitative data collection and therefore unless time, staff and budget allows it is generally necessary to include a smaller sample size.
  10. 10. QUANTATIVE & QUALITATIVE DATALinks to research and investigating educationQuantative where responses are similar, for example, we might find that the majority of students all go to the university library twice a week if there are differences between the things we have studied, for example, 1st year students might go once a week to the library, 2nd year students twice a week and 3 rd year students three times a week if there is a relationship between the things we have studied. So, is there a relationship between the number of times a student goes to the library and their year of study?
  11. 11. EXPERIMENTSAn experiment is a scientific procedure undertaken to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known factLab -A test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, to examine the validity of a hypothesis, or to determine the efficacy of something previously untried.Field - A field experiment applies the scientific method to experimentally examine an intervention in the real worldComparitive - Experiments conducted to determine statistically whether one procedure is better than another
  12. 12. FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICE OF METHODSPractical issues:Different methods present different practice problems.Time and moneyRequirements of funding bodiesPersonal skills and characteristicsSubject matterResearch opportunity.
  13. 13. FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICE OF METHODSEthical issuesRefers to moral issues of right and wrong. Methods that sociologists use to study people may raise a range of ethical issues.Informed consentConfidentiality and privacyEffects on research participantsVenerable groupsCovert research
  14. 14. FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICE OF METHODSTheoretical Issues:Refers to questions about what we think society is about and weather we can retain an accurate picture of it.ValidityReliabilityRepresentativenessMythological Perspective
  15. 15. QUANTATIVE & QUALITATIVE DATALinks to research and investigating education. QualitativeWhat it feels like to receive good GCSE results from interviews and personal records. Interviews with students on their feelings on other pupils, the school and teachersMoore and Davenport (1990) study focuses on how selection proceeds lead to ethnic segregation. They used primary school reports to screen out pupils with language for learning difficulties.
  16. 16. EXPERIMENTSAdvantages DisadvantagesIt allows for precise control of Chance of human errorvariables Samples might not be representative Human results can be difficult to measure
  17. 17. EXPERIMENTSLinks to research and investigating education.Field experiments take place in natural surrounding such as school and the work place.An example of this in education is OFSTED. They observe teachers and pupils in the classroom to monitor the progress the pupils are making.
  18. 18. SOCIAL SURVEYSSurvey to find out about the nature of a community. May cover aspects like age, gender, wealth, health and so on. Advantages Disadvantages Mail questionnaires are relatively cheap But at the same time the proportion of and can be used to contact people who return questionnaires sent respondents who are scattered over a through post is usually rather small. wide area
  19. 19. SOCIAL SURVEYSOpen and closed ended questionnaires:-Closed- A closed question can be answered with either a single word or a short phrase.Open - An open question is likely to receive a long answer. They ask the respondent to think and reflect. They will give you opinions and feelings.Interviews:-An interview is a conversation between two people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee.
  20. 20. SOCIAL SURVEYSLinks to research and investigating educationAn example of a social survey in education is, Chubb and Moe’s survey carried out on parental attitudes top schooling. Chubb and Moe chose this method to make generalisations about parents views on the way school will be run and how much choice they should have.
  21. 21. OBSERVATIONSThe action or process of observing something or someone carefully or in order to gain information.- Participant: Participant observation is a structured type of research strategy. Its aim is to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals (such as a religious, occupational, or sub cultural group, or a particular community) and their practices through an intensive involvement with people in their natural environment, usually over an extended period of time -Covert: Its aim is to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals (such as a religious, occupational, or sub cultural group, or a particular community) and their practices through an intensive involvement with people in their natural environment, usually over an extended period of time -Overt: involves the researcher being open with the group they are going to study. In other words, before joining a group the researcher is likely to inform the groups members (either personally or through the agency of a sponsor) about such things as the purpose of the research, its scope, how long the research will last and so forth.
  22. 22. OBSERVATIONSAdvantages DisadvantagesData gathered can be highly reliable. People feel uncomfortable being watched, they may perform differently when being observed.The analyst is able to see what is Some activities may take place at oddbeing done times, it might be inconvenience for the system analyst.Observation is less expensive Sometimes people act temporarily andcompared to other technique. perform their job correctly when they are being observed, they might actually violates the standard of manner.
  23. 23. OBSERVATIONS Links to research and Educational Methods. Dale Spencer (1983) found that teachers spend more time interacting with boys than with girls. However when Jane and Peter French (1993) analysed classroom interaction, they found that the amount of attention teachers played to boys and girls for academic reasons was similar. An example of covert observation is, Mac an Ghaill (1992) who studied black and Asian A level students while under cover to get their true opinions on negative ethnicity labelling in schools and colleges.
  24. 24. CASE STUDIESA process or record of research in which detailed consideration is given to the development of a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time. an investigator studies an individual or small group of individuals with an unusual condition or situation.
  25. 25. CASE STUDIESAdvantages DisadvantagesGood sources of ideas about behaviour Hard to draw cause-effect conclusionsGood method to challenge theoretical Hard to generalise from a single caseassumptions Possible biases in data collection and interpretation Time consuming as it is mostly qualitative research
  26. 26. CASE STUDIESLinks to research and Educational MethodsAn example of a case study in education is Elizabeth Burn (2001) study carried out on a study of Jenny, an inner city primary school teacher from a working class background.
  27. 27. BIBLIOGRAPHY- AQA AS Sociology Textbook- tml-
  28. 28. Thanks for watching hunny’sCrackers Jen & Beach Babe Beth