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Chapter 2

SOCA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Random Assignment, Sampling Frame, Convenience Sampling

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Mc Kinon

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SOCA02- Chapter 2- How sociologists do research (Compass)
Experience helps determine how we perceive reality; it filters the perception of
reality- this is a big problem in sociological research
In sociological research, the filtering occurs in 4 stages:
1. Values- they help decide which problems are worth investigating
2. Theories- our values lead us to form and adopt favoured theories for interpreting
and explaining those problems
3. Previous research- sociologists’ interpretations are influenced by previous
research which we consult to find out what we already know about the subject
4. Methods- the way we gather data mould our perceptions
We can never really perceive society in an objective manner; but we can use
techniques of data collection that minimize bias
Scientific vs. non-scientific thinking
10 types of non-scientific thinking:
1. Knowledge based on tradition. Science is required to separate valid from invalid
2. Knowledge based on authority. We often think something is true because we read
it in an authoritative source
3. Knowledge based on causal observation.
4. Knowledge based on overgeneralization.
5. Knowledge based on selective observation. We unconsciously ignore evidence that
challenges our firmly held beliefs
6. Knowledge based on qualification. These can be known as exceptions to the rule
7. Knowledge based on illogical reasoning
8. Knowledge based on ego- defence. I just cant be wrong.
9. Knowledge based on premature closure of inquiry. In science, matters are never
settled; theories are only temporarily true.

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10. Knowledge based on mystification.
Conducting research
The research cycle
1. Formulate a research question- the question should be stated so that it can be
answered by collecting and analyzing data
2. Review existing literature
3. Select a research method
4. Collecting data
5. Analyzing data
6. Reporting the results
The exact starting point and progression of research varies from one project to
Ethical considerations
Researchers must respect their subjects rights; the right to safety
Subjects must have the right to decide whether their attitudes and behaviours
may be revealed to the public; right to privacy
Researchers cant use the data in a way that allows them to be traced to
particular subject; right to confidentiality
Subjects must be told how the information they supply will be used; right to
informed consent
The main methods of sociology
Field methods
Field research is based on observation of people in their natural settings
Detached observation involves classifying and counting the behaviour of interest
according to a predetermined scheme
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