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SOCI 211 (34)
Chapter 10

SOCI 211 - Chapter 10 - Unobtrusive Research.docx

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McGill University
Sociology (Arts)
SOCI 211
Yasmin Bayer

SOCI 211 CHAPTER 10UNOBTRUSIVE RESEARCH Unobtrusive research methods of studying social beh without affecting it This includes analysis of existing statistics content analysishistorical comparative research o Ex of an analysis of existing stats Durkheim on suicideIn content analysis researchers examine a class of social artifacts that are usually written documents such as newspaper editorialsHistorical comparative research is a form of research w an admired history in the social sciences Can be either qualitative or quantitative 1 ANALYZING EXISTING STATISTICSA variety of governmentalnongovernmental agencies provide aggregate statistical data for studying aspects of social lifeThey often have problems with reliability so they must be used w cautionDURKHEIMS STUDY OF SUICIDEHe found that provinces w the highest proportion of Protestants also had the highest suicide ratesHe created the concept of anomie normlessness or a general sense of social instabilitydisintegrationHe avoided the danger of ecological fallacy in 2 ways His general conclusions were based as much on rigorous theoretical deductions as on the empirical facts Also by extensively retesting his conclusions in a variety of ways he further strengthened the likelihood that they were correctUNITS OF ANALYSISThe units of analysis involved in the analysis of existing statistics are often NOT the individuals The units of analysis are GROUPSPROBLEMS OF VALIDITY2 characteristics are used to handle validity logical reasoningreplication o Durkheims strategy provides an example of logical reasoning Although he could not determine the religion of ppl who committed suicide he reasoned that most of the suicides in a predominantly Protestant region would be Protestants
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