SOC-1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Scientific Control

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12 Feb 2017
The methods of social research:
A method is nothing more than a strategy.
1. Experiments, highly controlled conditions.
2. Surveys, questionnaires, and interviews.
*The only reason we can infer a “casual” relationship is that all other possibilities have been
ruled out. This process is called “scientific control”
-Scientific control involves both logic and physics.
1. In general, a researcher cannot “mess around” with people’s lives.
2. People react to being studied.
3. Social experiments cannot be replicated in any meaningful way.
“Natural” or “field” experiments usually involve the replication of existing social research after
some event has taken place.
Survey Research
-Any method where subjects (respondents) respond to a sense of questions about their
attitudes or behavior. 2 types: questionnaires and interviews.
Survey research is the most widely used of all methods in social sciences.
Participant Observation
-Any situation where the researcher joins in the activities of those being studied while making
systematic observations.
2 types: Participant as observer- the researcher is involved in all phases of the groups behavior
without the group being aware they are being observed.
Observer as participant.
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