Decide if research is o be qualitative or quantitative. Decide the research design which is the framework for collecting/analyzing data. Choose a research method which is the actual technique you will use for collecting and analyzing data. There are 5 popular research deigns: case studies. Focuses on a single case or situation. Looks at relationships and changes over time. Involves 2+ case studies: comparison / cross-sectional study. Examines their relationships: longitudinal comparison study. Are the two things different and has this changed over time: experiments. Are the differences between two things due to a variable. A type of concept that is capable of varying in amount or quantity. An independant variable affects but is not affected by the variation or occurrence of another variable. Dependent variable is cause or affected by the independent variable. Sociologist hold different opinions on how these variables should be measured. A way of organizing variables that have a lot of variety is operationalizing.