The Scientific Method & Qualitative Methods Pt.1

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 1000
Professor
Brueggemann
Semester
Spring

Description
Unit 1 – 1/27/2014 The Scientific Method Six Steps of Scientific Method: Step 1: Choose a topic for investigation/decide on your research question Ex: What are college student views on binge drinking?  Why are women more  likely than men to be in poverty in the United States? ­In developing a research question/topic, the researcher must decide on the appropriate  target population. ­Population refers to the large collection of people, households, or individuals that a  researcher intends to study. ­A sample is a subset or portion of the target population that a researcher focuses on for  the duration of the study. Ex: Binge drinking on college campuses in the U.S. ­In order to study your target population, we must obtain a sample that is both random  and representative. ­Random meaning that every person has an equal chance in being a part of the sample. ­Representative meaning that those in the sample have the same distribution of  characteristics (age, sex, ethnicity, etc.) as your target population. Ex: How many MU undergraduates participate in recreational drug use? Target Population: 27,000 MU undergrads Sample: 400 undergrads (100 from each grade level) Ex: How do single mothers and fathers manage childrearing and work? Target Population: U.S. single mothers and fathers Sample: 15 single mothers and 15 single fathers Step 2: Review relevant literature/literature review. ­Check for books and scholarly articles written on the topic/relevant to the research  question. ­Main reasons for reviewing literature: ­In order to obtain knowledge on the subject/topic ­To make sure you are not repeating what has already been said and that you have  something to add to the discussion and literature. Step 3: Choose a research design/research method. ­Your design/method will vary depending on:  ­Your research question and target population ­Funding ­Time ­Data availability 2 Step 4: Collect Data ­Gather any and all information that may be useful in answering your research question  or addressing your research topic. ­Data can take various forms (Newspapers, Blogs, TV or Radio Programs, Church  Bulletins, Diaries, Interviews, Sports Logos, Legislation, Cityscapes, Magazine Covers,  etc.) Step 5: Analyze Data ­Look for patterns and trends in your data, along with any meaningful links between the,  organizing the data so that comparisons and conclusions can be made. ­When analyzing qualitative data (interviews, observations, etc.) researchers employ the  technique of coding. ­When coding data, resear
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