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SOC100H5 (538)
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Research Methods.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC100H5
Professor
Fiona Miller
Semester
Winter

Description
Research Methods Jan 9  pg 19­27 • Conducting Research o Research – The process of systematically observing reality to assess the validity  of a theory o Subjectively leads and objectively follows o  Leads to discovering of new problems and new solutions to old problems o Bias arises when we remain unaware of subjectivity. o Purpose of research  Become aware of a biases and to test theories against systematic  observations of the social world, in which other researchers can repeat • Philosophical Origins o Epistemology­ how do we know what we know  Important question to ask b/c think reality as a subjective thing that is  normal and natural  However there is nothing natural about it b/c we arrived her by evolving  and through series of processes o Ontology­ what is real and how do we know what is real and isn’t?  What determines what we succeed and fail in • Ex/ Characteristics, network, environment ­ ▯all aspects • Main aspect of academic success is parental education + income  b/c o Can help b/c they’re knowledgeable o Can afford higher education and provide extra resources • Not solid belief • Origin and source matter • Baseline – try to avoid but carries a lot of weight but won’t work  unless have ways to modify, analyze and contrast ideas • Dialectics of Research o Idiographic vs. Nomothetic  ▯Explaining a set of cases using varied factors   Explaining one case in great detail o Inductive vs. Deductive  ▯Moves from general to specific (narrow to focal)  Moves from particular observation to general (broad to generalize)   o Quantitative vs. Qualitative  ▯Context and depth  Generalization and prediction o Pure vs. Applied  ▯Interest in application by using knowledge  Interest in understanding = pure knowledge forsake of knowledge • Research Cycle o Formulate question  Must be stated so it can be answered by systemically collecting and  analyzing sociological data o Review existing literature  Stimulates researchers’ sociological imagination and prevent duplication  of effort o Select Method  Each data collection method has its strengths and weaknesses and each is  suited for solving particular types of problems o Collect Data  By observing subjects, interviewing them, reading documents produced by  or about them etc. o Analyzing Data  Most challenging, but confirms some of ur expectations and confound  others  Requires to think creatively and review method o Report Results  Has to be peer­reviewed to be critic – ideas making sense in grand scheme • Ethics in Sociological Research o Researchers must not do harm to subjects – right to safety  o Research subjects must have right to decide whether their attitudes and behaviour  can be revealed to public – right to privacy o Researchers cannot use data that allows them to be traced to a particular subject –  right to confidentiality o Subject must be informed on procedure to decide whether to participate b/c of  risks and how information they provide will be used – right to informed consent  Ex/ Plagiarism • Methodological Strategies o  Qualitative  Assumptions Reality is socially constructed; primacy of subject matter; variables are complex, interwoven, difficult to measure; insiders POV Purpose Contextualization; interpretation; understanding actor’s perspective Approach Ends with hypothesis/grounded theory; emergence and portrayal; researcher as instrument; naturalistic; inductive; search for patterns; minor use of numerical indices; descriptive write-up Researcher Role Personally involved and partial; empathic understanding Advantages Depth, detail, complexity, flexibility, adaptability, creativity, theory building Disadvantages Not generalizable, skills, rigor, time, expense, Hawthorne effect  Idea reality is socially destructive   Inductive ▯ o in with nothing  • Ex/Builds approach from ground up • Results  ▯end up w/ a generalized specific  o Not all can be generalized b/c not everyone can do,  depends on skills and time  Understanding perspective of those your studying   Fieldwork  ▯direct contact with subjects and interacting with subject +  environment  Don’t care about bias • People act differently when observed, changes behaviour b/c   you’re aware  ▯ LIMIT o  Quantitative  Assumptions Social facts have objective reality; primacy of method; variables can be identified and relationships measured; outsiders POV Purpose Generalizability; prediction; causal explanations Approach Begins with hypothesis/theory; manipulation and control; uses formal instruments; deductive; reduced data to numerical indices; abstract language in write-up Researcher Role Detached and impartial; objective portrayal Advantages Scale, generalization, validity and reliability, objectivity Disadvantages Lack depth and context, overly controlled and inaccurate, structural bias in questions, accuracy of data  Generalizable   Looking at cause and effect  Making a theory and test it out  Reliable and valuable  Objective  Overall c
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