SOCA02-Textbook Sociologists ResearchJan-31-2011
SCIENCE AND EXPERIENCE
•Experience filters perception is the biggest problem for sociological research.
We can never perceive society in a pure or objective form.
The filtering occurs in 4 stages
Our values help us decide which problems are worth investigating.
Our values lead us to formulate and adopt favored theories for explaining problems.
We are influenced by previous research.
The methods we use to gather data mold our perceptions.
We can use technology to interpret / gather data to provide a less biased result.
Scientific versus Unscientific Thinking
•In science, seeing is believing. In everyday life, believing is seeing.
•10 ways of seeing things unscientifically:
tradition (chicken soup gets rid of a cold, masturbation will blind you)
authority (newspaper bullshit)
casual observation (we're all careless observers)
Overgeneralization (my dad worked hard and became rich, so can I!)
Selective observation (I'm right because I can't think of any contrary cases)
Qualifications (exceptions to the rule)
Ego-defense (I just can't be wrong)
Premature closure of inquiry (The matter is settled once and for all!)
Mystification (There must be supernatural forces at work here)
The Research Cycle
1. formulate a research question (must be stated so it can be answered by systematically collecting
and analyzing sociological data)
2. review the existing research literature.
3. Selecting a research method
4. Collecting data
5. Analyzing the data
6. Publish the results
•The right to safety, ppl must have the right to decide whether they can be studied and in what
•The right to privacy.
•The right to confidentiality.
•The right to informed consent.
THE MAIN METHODS OF SOCIOLOGY
Field Methods: From detached Observation to “Going Native”