Ten Steps in Sociological Investigation Sept.14 2012
1. What is your topic? Being curious and applying the sociological perspective can
generate ideas for social research at any time and in any place.
2. What have others already learned? You are probably not the first person with
an interest in the issue you have selected. Review the literature to determine the
theories and methods that other researchers have applied to your topic.
3. What, exactly, are your questions? Are you seeking to explore the unfamiliar
social setting? To describe some category of people? To investigate cause and
effect among variables? If your study is exploratory or descriptive, identify whom
you wish to study, where the research will take place, and what kinds of issues
you want to explore. If your study is explanatory, you also must formulate the
hypothesis to be tested and operationalize each variable.
4. What will you need to carry out research? How much time and moey are
available to you? Is special equipment of training necessary? Can you do the work
5. Are there ethical concerns? Not all research raises serious ethical questions, but
you must be sensitive to this possibility. Can the research cause harm or threaten
anyone’s privacy? How can you minimize the likelihood of injury? How will you
ensure the anonymity of your subjects.
6. What method(s) will you use? Consider all major research strategies, as well as
combinations of approaches. Keep in