|What do positivists argue research should be?
|Scientific, objective and quantitative
|Why do they argue this?
|They argue there is a measurable objective to social reality
|Give some examples of standardised methods of research preferred by positivists
|Official statistics, structured interviewsm, questionnaires, structured observation
|What do positivists use the data they obtain to make?
|Generalisations and cause-and-effect relationships
|How do interpretivists disagree?
|There is no objective social reality
|What do interpretivists want to find out with the research they conduct?
|What open-ended research methods do interpretivists prefer?
|Unstructured interviews, participant observation, personal documents
|What do such methods of research allow the researcher to gain and how?
|Understanding by experiencing the groups life style for themselves
|What are the 3 key concepts sociologists use to judge the usefulness of a research method?
|Reliability, representativeness and validity
|For a method to be reliable, it must be _________
|What does reliability mean using?
|Standardised forms of research
|What can a reliable piece of data be used for?
|Systematically re-testing hypothesis about social behaviour
|What can't sociologists study every member of the group they are interested in studying?
|There are usually too many of them
|What do the characteristics of the sampled group need to be in order to the data to be representative?
|The same as those of the wider group
|What does this mean the sociologist will be able to make on the basis of evidence from the sample?
|Generalisations about the wider group
|Why do positivists emphasise the need for representativeness?
|So they are able to discover general patterns and make general cause and effect statements about social behaviour
|What does 'validity' refer to?
|How authentic and true data is
|What is the difference between primary and secondary data?
|Primary - collected by the sociologist themselves Secondary - already been collected by someone else
|Give some examples of secondary sources of data?
|Official statistics, historical documents, business records, media reports, personal documents
|What are the three main factors that influence a researchers choice of method?
|- The methodological preference of the researcher - Practical aspects - Ethical concerns
|What are the two methodological types?
|Positivists and interpretivisits
|Which one prefers data to be scientific, objective and quantitative?
|What do intepretivists prefer data to be?
|Qualitative, unstructured, valid
|Give 2 examples of research methods preferred by each type
|Positivists - questionnaires and official statistics Interpretivists - unstructured interviews and participant observation
|How many factors are there surrounding the practical issues of a research method?
|What are these factors?
|Time - money - source of funding - personal factors - research subjects - research opportunity - personal danger
|Some methods take more time than others - e.g participant observation takes more time than social surveys
|Money can affect the number of researchers (training), the number of respondents (incentives) and the amount of research time. Some methods such as postal questionnaires are cheaper than others.
|SOURCE OF FINANCE
|Research sponsored by government, business etc reflects the concerns of these funding bodies
|Researchers may have careers, families etc so may not be able to do lengthy research
|Some groups such as criminals are less open, so structured research methods are not appropriate
|If a research opportunity suddenly appears, the research may have little/no time to prepare lengthy questionnaires or interview schedules
|Methods involving direct contact with a research group such as participant observation increase the possibility of danger to researchers
|What are the three ethical factors?
|Consent, confidentiality and effects on research subjects
|Why must researchers gather informed consent from their research subjects?
|The effects the research might have on them - it is wrong to manipulate of mislead people
|Research subjects have the right to _________
|What does this mean about the research subjects when the research is published?
|They should not be identifiable
|Give one reason why this may be hard to achieve
|If the group studied is small
|How may the research subjects be affected by sociological research?
|Research findings can be used by political groups in the media in ways that may damage the research subjects through embarrassment, harassment etc
|How can practical, ethical and theoretical factors be interrelated?
|Collecting qualitative data produces practical problems such as gaining trust and access Collecting quantitative data creates practical problems such as sampling frames, distribution of a sample etc
|What is triangulation?
|Combining qualitative and quantitative methods of research so that the strengths of one balances the weaknesses of the other
|What 5 factors affect a sociologists choice of topic?
|Practical factors Funding bodies Society's values Theoretical perspective Chance
|Some topics may not be easily studied, e.g high level political decision making
|Funding bodies will only fund for topics they consider to be important Governments are much more likely to fund research that links to their policies
|Society's values change and the interest in particular topics and issues moves with them
|A sociologists theoretical perspective is likely to influence their choice of topic e.g feminists are likely to study gender issues
|Sometimes sociologists find themselves in a potential research situation by pure chance e.g hospitalisation as a result of illness gave one researcher the opportunity to do a study of hospital ward