48-101 Lecture Notes - Polskie Radio Program Iii, Content Analysis, Participant Observation

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Sociological Research
Experimental Method
- In an experiment, the research investigates cause-and-effect relationships under highly controlled
Types of variables:
1) Independent variables those variables that are thought to produce a change in some variable (e.g.,
2) Dependent variables - those variables that are influenced by independent variables (e.g., anger in a
Experimental group the group of subjects exposed to the independent variable
Control group the group of subjects not exposed to the independent variable
Survey Method
• In a survey, data is collected by having people answer a series of questions
• It is important to properly sample the population (the target group to be studied) in order to ensure
that the research can be generalized to the population of interest
There are two main ways to conduct survey research:
1) Questionnaires respondents answer questions on their own (e.g., mail surveys)
2) Interviews respondents are directly questioned by researchers (e.g., telephone surveys, face-to-
face/in-person interviews)
Field Research/Participant Observation
- In participant observation the researcher participates in a research setting while observing what is
happening in that setting
• Field researchers must balance the demands of being a participant, one who is involved in the setting,
with the demands of being an observer, one who adopts a more detached position in order to assess a
setting or situation more objectively
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