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Establishing what to find.docx

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David Young

Establishing what to find  Choose a research topic o Interests, ideas and theories  (1) Explore an interest  Some people may be more prejudiced than other  (2) May also decide to examine an idea  i.e. examine the idea that social science students are more tuned to support womens right to support abortion in comparison to natural science students  (3) test aspects of a theory  Test Marxist ideas about factory workers being alienated  Any of these can be the starting point of a study  More people are inspired by interest, some with idea and few with theory o Connections between interests, ideas and theories  We could have an interest that leads to an idea that leads to a theory  In turn that theory can generate new ideas and interests  i.e. we are interested in labour issues  this could lead to the idea that there are differences between blue collar and white collar workers  we developed this idea on the basis on our interests on labour issues  this will lead us to theories to labour process in factories (blue collar workers) and offices (white collar workers)  use reference sources to find literature on the topic o look at chapter 17 and appendix a in o we need to be aware of three things: o (1) abstracts – take us to literature on our topic  Brief outlines of scholarly articles  These are published in academic journals  These outlines contain certain kinds of information  They will be descriptive – will describe the study, findings of the study and often some description of the methodology of the study  There are various compilations of abstracts  Sociological abstracts  Psychological abstracts  Communication abstracts  Much easier to find abstracts today as they are set up as computerized data basis  This makes it a three step process  1. Select key words connected to topic of study  2. Look at abstracts of articles listed under key works  3. Look up relevant articles in journals  Problem is that they are always out of date – missing most recent data  So you must look at most recent journals for most recent information o (2) Journals – contain most of the information on the topic  They are the principle means for scholars to get literature out  Books only contain a small portion of the information  Various sociological journals  Canadian review of sociology and anthropology  Canadian journal of sociology  These journals print a new issue every 3-4 months o (3) articles – published research papers  You can obtain them in two ways  ( 1) find the hard copy at the library  (2) online sources  If you get an online electronic version of the articles, get a pdf version (never use html – the pagination will look completely different in html, and pdf will look exactly like original article)  Older articles may not have been converted into electronic copy and the hard copy will need to be used  Conduct a review of the literature on the topic o Helps prepared a research proposal o Most research projects begin with a research proposal o Reviews only review and do not summarize the literature o You have to synthesize the literature – put it together in an interesting way by doing 2 things o (1) thematic discussion o Point out what the themes are and what stands out in the literature o (3) get into a critical discussion of the literature o This does not mean negative, but what is both good and bad o Key themes and critical issues to xero in on when reviewing literature o (1) unexplored areas – look for areas that are not explored or considered in the literature  this may mean that a certain variable or issue has been missed  this is important as it provides the basis for a good critical point as well as a focus for your own study  things that have not be explored before are more likely to be published o (2) consensus and debate  Look for both among researchers who have studied this topic  The agreements and disagreements may focus on what constitutes relevant issues, interpretations of the findings  This can provide for a good critical point  May point out that people on one side of the debate may have a stronger argument (points to include as a critical point)  Also provides for focus on own study – make your contribution, take one point of the debate, dwell into the issues being debated o (3) theories and methods  When you are doing the review, pay attention to the theories and the methods that have been emphasized or ignored  What theories and concepted have and have not been used  What methods have been used to study/explore the concepts and what have not been used  May include things like these theories have no
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