Sociology 1101 – Lecture 6
Recap from last class
Sometimes use experimental method, but not often for 2 reasons;
- In the real world, what is called the ‘field, it is typically not possible for the
sociologist to manipulate the variables that need to be manipulated.
More often use the method of survey research. It can be used for 2 purposes
- To test hypothesis
- Statistically describe
o Typically we use questionnaires or interviews with questions that are
structured in nature. They are determined before hand and everyone
is asked the same question using the same words, in the same order.
Typically, the questions are closed-ended as opposed to open-ended.
o What makes a question a close-ended question is not that it is short or
easy, but that you give the respondent a finite number of categories to
chose from (ie. A,B,C or D).
o One of the problems with close ended questions in advance, they limit
what you can note. A second problem is that the categories might not
me exhaustive in nature. This means that the categories that you give
the respondent may not include the category that the respondent
might not want to use.
Ex. Sociologists have things that happen in society, and all of
the sudden you see a lot of sociologists looking at that. In the
1960s, an apprehension of revolution occurred.
All you get back is a checkmark in a box, and you may
misinterpret what they meant when they put in the box.
**Middle class people embraces more change and is more open to change. They put
a higher value on wealth and lower value on family.
Ethnographic Interviews (Qualitative Interviewing)
Not quantitative in nature, you cannot assign a number to the making of your
observations. Because you cant assign a number to it, you cannot use this method to
test hypothesis or to statistically describe a population.
- To come up with a rich (lots and lots of detail) understanding of a world of a
person or a people.
- The more detail there is, the better.
- This understanding that you come up with should include how the
respondents themselves see the world. You want to try to see the world
through their eyes, to better emphasize with them and put yourself in their
- Survey research – sample is large and random in nature - Qualitative Interviewing – sample size is small and not random in nature. It is
opportunistic in nature, you pick the people that you do for the interview
because you have access to those people.
o It is convenient and opportunistic in nature
- The area you want to investigate and ask questions about is decided in
advance. The interview varies from one respondent to another; no two
interviews are the same. The order in which you ask the question varies, as
does the wording in which you ask the questions from one case to another.
As you go through your interview(s), the respondent might cause you to
realize that there are other things that you would want to know about, and
then you may have questions about that. You could ask new questions as a
- With qualitative interviewing, you cannot quantitate the answers.
Evidence -> Verbatim
Verbatim: just as it was said.
- This different forms;
o You take something that the respondent said, and you put it in your
study as evidence exactly as it was said.
o Clipping things out of the interview
o Going back to original notebooks and putting notes in the report
exactly as your wrote