set out your question
work out the design
data collection, and analysis
TWO WAYS OF REASONING
Inductive (“hypothesis generating): go from specific to general. Go from the little things then reaching a
conclusion. Collect evidence then theorizing about it. A lot who to qualitative research adopt this
Ex. Data to theory
Deductive (“hypothesis testing): go from general to specific. Look at the theory collect your evidence
then going back to the theory again. Quantitative work typically uses this approach.... surveys.. statistical
analyses.. is your evidence supporting your theory or do you have to modify your theory that you started
off with? Ex. Mary waters in her older bookndthnic rdtions.thased on interviews. Interested in
assimilation. Argument that in the us the 2 and 3 and 4 generation immigrants become fully
assimilated in us culture. So they internalize American culture. Mary says this mainstream understanding
makes her uncomfortable and shes suspicious and doesn’t think that argument holds. Goes out to test that
statement and does interviews. Says that statement is too simplistic.
Ex. Theory to data to theory
Quantitative versus qualitative: theres some communication between them but theres differences...
quantitative data collection produces hard data.. numerical data. Qualitative data collection gives soft data
like images, documents, observations.... advantage of quantitative is you can summarize your findings in
the form of tables and charts etc. in qualitative your data will be more thick descriptions. Field work gives
you pages of descriptions. A lot of notes. Looking into the meaning of things. Its rich data. Analysis of it
is messier than statistical analyses.
The question you formulate determine what methods are best for you.
Fieldwork: anthro calls is ethnography. Key thing is to look at a group of people and how they interact
with each other and with people outside their group. Stick to the natural setting. Reach out to those people
and go to where they are. Observe them and talk to them and participate. Try not to disturb nature setting.
Trying to understand the meaning of their culture. This produces thick descriptions its qualitative.
Interviews: indepth interviews means getting to the meaning in the way that people behave and make
sense of the world. You ask open ended questions so ask them to elaborate are interested in learning
peoples stories. Not yes or no questions. Qualitative data
Content analysis: studying human or social artifacts. Tv programs, diaries, political speeches, historical
documents, movies, music, museums... can produce qualitative or quantitative data Surveys : quantitative data. Based on questionnaire. Looks like an interview... its a type of interview.
Have a set number of questions that you ask different people. Goal is to reach as many people as possible.
Can generalize from this data.
Experiments: quantitative data. All data is qualitative in nature when collected but these ones you can
quantify easily. Create an environment that stimulates real world. Done in labs. Controlled environment.
Want to isolate variables to look at a specific relationship between certain variables.
Secondary data analysis: use what other people have done. Focus groups are messy to analyze. You
recruit a group of people to put them in a space to discuss something. Get data out of discussion that is
created. Usually a moderator that keeps discussion running smoothly and ask questions that researchers
may want to know.
Can combine a bunch of different techniques. Referred to as triangulation.
THEORY AND RESEARCH
tend to think about these separately. But they are always really together. They feed from each other
Theory versus ideology:
Both contain a set of assumptions
Both seek to explain the social world
Are often based on political values or faith
Are closed systems (.. not space for questioning things) offering absolute certainties
Resists opposing evidence
Shows you the best way. Not much engagement with change or if that ideal can be reach or
Often protects the interests of a particular group
Changes based on evidence
Whenever you theorize your thinking of the empirical evidence
Seeks logical consistency
Systematically looks at multiple aspects of the world with the goal of explaining relationships and
processes and mechanisms of different variables.
Theory seeks to provide explanations
Abstract, but based on evidence
Weber: “the prophet and the demagogue do not belong on the academic platform” he understood that
researchers are human so theres some subjectivity and we do have ideological leanings that influence
research but he believed that ideology does not belong in the classroom. Job of social scientists in
classroom shows different things without taking any moral stand... remain detached. Present different
ways of seeing the world and let them make up their own minds. Theories are not laws. They change over time.
Elements of social theory:
1. Axioms (assumptions, go unstated,ex everybody wants to get rich and to be loved... these are
implied but not said, in the past they used to talk about their assumptions ex marx talked
about human nature saying we are good people etc, ), postulates: in-built statements about the
nature of concepts
2. Concepts: use all the time, used to explain observations. Pay attention to whats