SOC 110 Lecture 3: Research Methods and Historical Contexts

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How to approach a research question
1. Defining Process
a. What are the gaps in our understanding about the topic?
b. What puzzles haven’t been solved?
2. Reviewing Evidence
a. What questions raised?
b. How have others approached issue?
3. Making the Issue Precise
a. Formulating hypothesis that are testable
4. Work out a Design
a. Survey, interview, participant observation
5. Carrying out Research
a. Facts and data according to design
b. Dealing with unanticipated problems
6. Interpreting Results
a. Answering initial questions
b. Evaluating hypothesis
7. Reporting Findings
a. Research reports, articles, books
8. Repeat
Types of Questions
1. Factual/Empirical
2. Comparative
3. Developmental
4. Theoretical
Historical Context
University of Chicago, 1920s, sociology was extremely influential in shaping the discipline
Robert Park (interviews and observations)
Will Ogburn (more scientific and focused on statistics)
Ethnography
o Participant observation and interviews
o Rich, deep, data
o Typically not generalizable
Surveys
o A lot of data from large numbers
o Appropriate for statistical analysis
o Random sampling of population to generate sample, thus improving ability to generalize
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