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Sociology 2Z03-Theory & Unobstructed Research

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McMaster University
Art Budros

Sociology 2Z03 th November 11 , 2011 Theory 1) Naturalism: Assumes that social reality is “out there” and can be communicated by research subjects. For example, Whyte’s street corner society. 2) Ethnomethodology: Questions people’s reports about their lives. Subjects tell socially constructed stories about themselves, so researchers “make sense” out of subject’s views of the world. Researchers identify the social meaning people attach to social interactions, allowing society to function in an orderly, taken-for-granted way (what makes our daily lives possible; shared meaning). With this type of research we cannot assume that subjects are giving us accurate answers; researchers need to be serious and do some exploring. For example, Garfinkel’s “rule breaking” studies (Studied social interactions with the simple example of buying a t-shirt at the store and complicating the situation so that the interaction becomes more challenging, difficult and unscripted). a) Individual level analysis. b) How interactions add up and function in society (accumulation of all our interactions; understanding one another). 3) Grounded Theory: Build theory from the actual patterns of social interactions observed by researchers. Let the data tell the theoretical story. It is important that with this method, we research in a more interactive way, which you do not start with a theory, collect information and let the theoretical process unfold as well as leave openings for changes. It is also important that once you decide your theory that you make sure it is right. For example, Conrad’s academic change. Unobstructed Research Unobstructed Research: Data collection that does not involve direct contact with units of observation. 1) Use published or unpublished research documents. 2)
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