Unit 1a experiments surveys interviews Unit 1 CIE syllabus


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Unit 1a experiments surveys interviews Unit 1 CIE syllabus

  1. 1. Research methods used in sociological research
  2. 2.  Experiments  Social surveys (incl questionnaires)  Informal/unstructured interviews  Observation (participant and non-participant)  Use of secondary data
  3. 3. Validity  If the findings of research reflect the reality they describe then they are valid.  I.E. Information obtained is truthful Reliability  If the findings can be checked by another researcher and the results obtained will be the same  Can someone else doing the same research, in the same way, get the same results?
  4. 4. Sociological research can produce two different kinds of data:  Quantitative -research based on numbers and statistics, presented in bar charts, graphs, tables etc ( easier and faster to analyse, may be limited in scope)  Qualitative – Descriptive research in form of words, views explained in words, not quantified (difficult to analyse, needs to be coded)
  5. 5. Experiments (p.28-9)  Usually start with a hypothesis  Take place in controlled environment (variables all the same)  Not common in sociology (difficult with humans)  ‘Positivists’ approve of this method- ‘sociology should be more scientific’  Need to be objective-not let own values influence outcome
  6. 6. Experiments •Hawthorne Effect -If subjects know they are being studied their behaviour is affected and the outcome changed – results becoming invalid •Based on research in Hawthorne factory in USA •Ref: textbook p.28 Problems with experiments  Hawthorne Effect  Ethics – concealing real purpose of research –is it right to deceive?  Artificiality-tests short term effects, situations are not natural, measure short term changes Ref: textbook p.29
  7. 7. Elementary school , California 1968
  8. 8. Questions •Could this have been done in a laboratory? •Why have a ‘control’ group? •Which two variables were found to relate to each other? An example of a field experiment  Researchers: Rosenthal and Jacobson  Place/time: San Francisco primary school ,1960s  Investigated effect of teacher’s expectations on academic performance  Researchers said 20% to be ‘high- attainers’ based on IQ test. (not true)  Children (randomly selected) did improve performance dramatically over 18 months
  9. 9. Self-completion 1. Posted to/ handed to respondent 2. Low response rate (don’t bother to reply) 3. Cheaper 4. Sometimes misunderstood 5. Can reach larger group 6. Said to be reliable because can be carried out by other researchers 7. May not be valid-pre-set questions close off possible answers/issues Interview 1. Researcher reads out questions, records respondent’s answers 2. Good response rate 3. Expensive (pay staff) 4. Questions can be explained if necessary 5. More time-consuming 6. May be more valid because respondent can give intended response
  10. 10. What is a pilot study?  A small scale, preliminary test of the questionnaire  Putting problems right at an early stage can save time, effort and money later on Aim:  it helps researchers spot problems early on, before the research is fully underway  By testing out the questionnaire out on a few people first, difficult questions can be re-written or removed
  11. 11. Open  Allows respondent to answer in own way  Harder to make it quantitative (to produce as a statistic)  More likely to reflect what respondent wanted to say (valid) truthfully Closed  ‘Fixed-choice’ question: two way or multiple choice  Can be scaled (strongly agree, agree etc)  Easy to analyse and quantify (present as graph etc)  May limit respondent’s response
  12. 12. Closed (fixed choice)questions:  Q. Outline your reasons for choosing to study sociology:  I wanted to try something new  It was recommended to me by a teacher  I think it will help me with my future career  I didn’t know what else to choose Open-ended questions:  Q. Why did you opt for sociology at IGCSE?  ____________________________________
  13. 13.  Think carefully about what you want to find out  Use questions respondent wants to and is able to answer  Word the questions in an unprejudiced way  Respect respondents right to refuse to answer  Choose a sample carefully (the smaller group which is representative of the larger group you want to investigate)  Carry out a pilot study first (a very small trial group)  Use a combination of both open and closed questions in your questionnaire
  14. 14. Unstructured interviews Seem like informal conversations but are guided by skilled, trained interviewers
  15. 15.  Widely used technique in social research  Needs good interpersonal skills and careful preparation  Suitable for sensitive topics  Can produce valid data although it is not easily replicated (i.e. Less likely to be reliable)  There are two types of interviews: structured and unstructured ( for’ Structured Interviews’ see questionnaires p.30,31)
  16. 16. STRENGTHS LIMITATIONS  Higher response rate (than self-completion questionnaires)  Respondents can answer in own words (greater validity)  More personal issues may be explored, candidate may feel they can trust the interviewer after rapport had been developed  Interviewer needs to be skilled  Interviewer bias /effect* may interfere with course of interview or results  Recording of content time- consuming/difficult/difficult to categorise data as much might be off topic/difficult to generalise from  Takes long time (interview itself) and more costly than S.C.Q.  Can’t be checked for reliability  *Interview bias occurs when the interviewer may lead, distort or present data in a biased way. /Influences the way the interviewee answers questions: can include characteristics such as ethnicity, age , gender etc.
  17. 17.  In real life, both structured and unstructured interviews are not always two distinctly different options. They vary in the degree to which they are one or the other.  Different research projects are suited to different interview approaches  If you need to count something..opt for the structured interview  If you want to find out why people behave in particular way..opt for unstructured interviews-  Focus group  -popular. Group discusses topics while interviewer listens, makes notes (market research/political parties)
  18. 18. Write out and learn definitions for the following:  Interview bias  Sample  Pilot study  Respondent  Open-ended questions  Self-completion questionnaire  Response rate  Hawthorne effect  Ethical issue  Hypothesis  Generalisations