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Research Methods Lecture Notes.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2206A/B
William Marshall

thResearch Methods January 9 2013 What is scienceAn objective accurate systematic analysis of empirical data in order to discover recurring relationships and to advance human knowledgeObserve explain and predict TheoryGeneral way of looking at things under a particular situation Broad overview of the way you think things are Scientific theory Testable Formed by cause and effect independent and dependent variables Methodology Way of gathering information to evaluate the theory Need observations then analyze patterns from the data collected from observations Societal equilibrium theory by T Parsons Societies rules change over timeSociety changes because of stratification some people have more power and prestige than other people If we eliminate stratification then society will stay the same and never change equilibrium Theory developed 60 years ago and it is still around o Still around because we have never eliminated stratification therefore we cannot tell what would happen if we did so we keep it aroundSociology The study of human social behaviour which seeks to develop a body of interrelated generalizations that explain social behaviour and predict or aid in understanding behaviouro A body of interrelated generalizations theoryo Similar to science definition observe explain predict Walter Wallis Wheel of scientific researchOperationalization objective standards to measure a variable gender etc Theory comes from previous knowledgeresearcho Scholarly journalso Bookso Dissertationsresearch studies done as part of a PHD students course studyo Government documentso Policy reports and presented papers Goals of explanatory researcho Test a theorys predictionso Elaborate or enrich the theoryo Extend the theory to new issueso Support or refute an explanationo Link causes with general principles o Determine which explanations work bet Quantitative data is obtained througho Experimentsexplanatory research involving group comparisonso Surveysdescriptive research asks many people numerous questionso Content analysisassessment of written pictorial or symbolic material texto Existing statisticsusing previously collected information to examine old or create new findings Qualitative data is obtained througho Field researchcase studies of specific settings or contextso Historical comparative analysisexamining aspects of social life in a past historical era or across different cultures today Exploratory researcho Looking around to observeo If you dont know much about the topic then its a good idea to do exploratory research instead of explanatory research Time dimension in researcho Cross sectional research is like a snapshot gathering data at one point in time
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