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.
Course CodeSOSC 1000
ProfessorJudith Adler Hellman
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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.
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
−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
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:
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
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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