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Lecture 5

week 5 Readings

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Mary Jo Nadeau

SOC221 – Lecture 5 Readings Doing Social Research – Chapter 1 (18-20) • Case Studies: research, usually qualitative, on one or a small number of cases in which a researcher carefully examines a large number of details about each case • Data-Collection Techniques o Quantitative Data-Collection Techniques  Experimental research: Research in which one intervenes or does some- thing to one group of people but not to another and then compares the results of the two groups.  Survey research: Quantitative social research in which one systematically asks many people the same questions and then records and analyzes their answers.  Content analysis: Research in which one examines patterns of symbolic meaning within written text, audio, visual, or other communication medium.  Existing statistics research: Research in which one examines numerical information from government documents or official reports to address new research questions. o Qualitative Data-Collection Techniques  Qualitative interview:Aone- on-one interview between a researcher and an interviewee that is usually characterized by being semi- structured and open ended.  Focus group:Atype of group inter-view in which an interviewer poses questions to the group, and answers are given in an open discussion among the group members.  Field research:Atype of qualitative research in which a researcher directly observes the people being studied in a natural setting for an extended period. Often, the researcher combines intense observation with participation in the people’s social activities.  Historical-Comparative research: Research in which one examines different cultures or periods to better understand the social world. Designing a Study – Chapter 5 (79-96) • Qualitative and Quantitative Orientations Toward Research o Soft Data: impressions, words, sentences, photos, symbols, etc o Hard Data: numbers o Qual & quant researchers often hold diff assumptions about social life & have diff objectives o Linear and Nonlinear Paths  Linear Research Path: research that proceeds in a clear, logical, step-by- step straight line. It is more characteristic of quant than qual approach  Nonlinear Research Path: research that proceeds in a circular, back-and- forth manner. More characteristic of qual than quant style o Preplanned and Emergent Research Questions  Qualitative researchers often begin with vague or unclear research questions and the topic emerges slowly during the study • Often combine focusing on a specific question w/ the process of deciding the details of study design that occurs while they’re gathering data  Quantitative Researchers narrow a topic into a focused question as a discrete planning step before they finalize the study design • Use it as a step in the process of developing a testable hypothesis & to guide the study design before collecting any data   • Qualitative Design Issues o The Language of Cases and Contexts  Qualitative researchers use a language of cases and contexts, examine social processes and cases in their social context, and look at interpretations or the creation of meaning in specific settings. • Rarely use variables, test hypotheses, or try to convert social life into numbers • Examine motifs, themes, distinctions, and ideas instead of variables, and they often adopt the inductive approach of grounded theory. o Grounded Theory  Theory is built from data or grounded in data • Conceptualization & operationalization occur simultaneously in data collection & preliminary data analysis • Makes qual research more flexible & allows data & theory to interact o Remains open to unexpected, willing to change direction or focus of project, may abandon orig question in middle of project • Builds theory by making comparisons o The Context is Crucial  What came before or what surrounds focus of study is imp  Place parts of social life into a larger whole; otherwise, the meaning of the part may be lost o The Case and the Process  Tend to use case-oriented approach, which places cases, not variables, center stage  Examine wide variety of aspects of one or a few cases  Passage of time is integral • Look at sequence of events & pay attention to what happens first, second, third, etc. o Interpretation  Assigning significance or a coherent meaning to something  Quant: gives meaning by rearranging, examining, and discussing the numbers by using charts and stats to explain how pattern in the data relate to the research question  Qual: gives meaning by rearranging, examining, and discussing textual or visual data in a way that conveys an authentic voice, or that remains true to the original people & situations that he or she studied • Greater emphasis on interpreting data • Quantitative Design Issues o The Language of Variables and Hypotheses  Variation and Variables • Variable: a concept or its empirical measure that can take on multiple values • Attributes: the categories or levels of a variable • Ex. “male” is not a variable; it describes a category of gender and is an attribute of the variable “gender.” Yet, a related idea, “degree of masculinity,” is a variable. It describes the intensity or strength of attachment to attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours associated with the concept of masculine within a culture.  Types of Variables • Independent variable: The first var
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