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Lecture 20

SOC100 Lecture 20.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Jayne Baker

April 4, 2013 Research Methodology Why do research? - It’s not right to assume we know our social world - We need to study the social world systematically - Especially in Sociology, it’s important to rely on systematic research - Research is the foundation of our discipline - Research uses evidence to prove/disprove a theory - Also an opportunity to develop new theories and concepts - Discipline isn’t just a static set of knowledge, it’s ongoing knowledge compiled from research. - Our world constantly changes, therefore our theories and concepts need to adapt to this change. Research Cycle - 1) Formulate Question  At least begin with something concrete that guides research - 2) Literature Review  Find what others have found  You want to contribute, not repeat.  Contribute by finding a gap - 3) Select Method  There are more than a dozen methods  Ex: Experiment, survey, using existing data, etc. - 4) Collect Data  If using existing stat, might not use this stage.  For most part, sociologists collect data - 5) Analyze Data  Compare to other data  Interpret transcript for interview  Develop and create new concepts from analysis - 6) Report Results  Based on whether it’s a solid piece of research Terminology - Relate to methods as a way to remember - Variable: Variable: “A concept that can take on more than one value.” (Brym and Lie 2012:21)  Ex: Cancept is Gender April 4, 2013  Values: Male or female  Citizenship is concept  Values: British, Canadian, age  Crime is the concept  Type or severity of crime - Independent variable: “The presumed cause in a cause-and-effect relationship.” (Brym and Lie 2012:22) - Dependent variable: “The presumed effect in a cause-and-effect relationship.” (Brym and Lie 2012:21)  Ex: Interested in whether workplace harassment policies reduce rates of workplace harassment  Independent: Policies  Dependent: Rate of harassment  Interested in whether divorce increases chance of crime for children  Independent: Divorce  Dependent: Crime and Deviance in children - Population: “The entire group about which the researcher wants to generalize.” (Brym and Lie 2012:22) - Sample: “The part of the population of interest that is selected for analysis.” (Brym and Lie 2012:22) - How do you sample?  Probability and non-probability sampling techniques  Probability sampling: using a mathematically; random technique (randomize)  Non-probability sampling: non-random techniques Methods - Covered in your textbook  Experiments  Surveys  Field Research  Analysis of existing documents and official statistics - Other sociological methods  Content analysis (qual and quant)  Historical-comparative  Ethnography  Secondary analysis April 4, 2013 Experiments - Method most associated with the natural sciences - Test X  Y via an experiment - Directly testing effect of x (dependent) on y (independent) - Control Group: - Experimental Group - Pro: One of the only, and strongest ways, to test for causality - Con: Experiments take place in a lab setting, which is a fake setting. Survey - A series of question which you answer - Widely-used method  Opportunity to ask about knowledge, attitudes and behavior - Open-ended, closed-ended questions - Look for association between X & Y  Not looking for causality, looking for relationship between x and y. - Pro: can be cost and time effective  Can go out to a larger group through le internetz - Con: Surveys have to be very well worded so it takes a lot of work to
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