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Introduction to Research Methods This note is a re-upload of the "research methods" note. It provides an introduction to different approaches to research, describing the content that is to be covered in the first part of the course.

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1000
Judith Adler Hellman
Study Guide

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Jan. 10, 2011
Introduction to Research Methods: Different
Approaches in Social Science
1. Study Documents
Can be found in libraries, archives, town halls, etc.
Eg. Historical demography (the study of past populations) vs.
contemporary demography
2. Massive Social Surveys
Most popularly cited as the basis of how we know what we know
3. Lab Experiments
Aside from classic scientific experiments with lab rats, cover
things like the Asch study and the Milgram study
4. Interviews
Elite interviews: Interviews with powerful people, those who have
influence and are opinion leaders
Interviewing people who are relatively powerless, poor,
marginalized, or ordinary
5. Observations in a Naturalistic Setting
i.e. fieldwork
1st part of the course:
How do you do fieldwork?
How do you become visible/invisible?
How do you know that your results are not being impacted by
the fact that you are observing the people?
oEg. Surprisingly, in Bohannan’s study of the Tiv, the
influence of the gender difference is more significant
than the impact of the racial difference
3 ways of presenting yourself while conducting an experiment:
oPlain Observation
You do not try to participate in any way; you may
complement observation with interviews, but you
do not enter the lives of those you are studying as
a member of the community
oParticipant Observation
The researcher actively participates in the live of
the community as a member of the community
People you will study will take you for
granted; people will less likely stage things
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