“Experience helps determine how we perceive reality, including what patterns we see and whether we are able to
see patterns at all.”
- Experience filters perceptions -> the single biggest problems for sociological research.
- Filtering occurs in 4 stages:
1) Our values often help us decide which problems are worth investigating. Values: class, race, gender,
region, historical period.
2) Our values lead us to formulate and adopt favoured theories for interpreting and explaining those
3) Sociologists’ interpretations are influenced by previous research.
4) The methods we use to gather data mould our perceptions.
Values -> Theories -> Previous research -> methods “Reality”
- Values, theories, previous research and research methods filter our perceptions.. we can never perceive
society in a pure or objective form.
- A healthy tension pervades all sociological scholarship.
- Researchers generally tend to be objective in order to perceive reality as clearly as possible.
The Research Cycle (6 steps):
1) The sociologist must formulate a questions
2) Review the existing research literature.
3) Select a research method.
4) Collect data.
5) Analyze the data.
6) Report results.
- Field research is research based on the observation of people in their natural settings.
- Detached observation: an approach that involves clarifying and counting the behaviour