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How Sociologists Do Research? Chapter Five Henslin’s Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach (Rubinfield and Zumpetta)

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Presentation on theme: "How Sociologists Do Research? Chapter Five Henslin’s Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach (Rubinfield and Zumpetta)"— Presentation transcript:

1 How Sociologists Do Research? Chapter Five Henslin’s Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach (Rubinfield and Zumpetta)

2 How are topics selected? Sociologists perform research on almost every area of human behavior; large or small, routine or unusual, respectable or unrespectable.

3 Why is it needed? Sociological research is needed because common sense is highly limited as a source of knowledge and it’s insights are often suspect and contain value bias.

4 Eight Basic Steps of Social Research: 1. Selecting a topic 2. Defining the problem 3. Reviewing the literature 4. Formulating an hypothesis 5. Choosing a research method 6. Collecting data 7. Analyzing the results 8. Sharing the results

5 An Hypothesis An HYPOTHESIS is a statement of what one expects to find according to predictions from a theory. It predicts a relationship between or among variables – factors that change or vary from one person or situation to another. To be able to predict relationships between variables- hypotheses need Operational Definitions – precise ways to measure their variables.

6 Validity and Reliability Collecting data involves concerns over Validity – the extent to which an operational definition measures what it was intended to measure and… Reliability – the extent to which research produces consistent results. Imprecise operational definitions adversely affect validity and reliability.

7 Methods of research: 1. Survey 2. Participant Observation 3. Secondary analysis 4. Documents 5. Unobtrusive measures 6. Experiment

8 Selecting a sample of a targeted population… Random Sampling - a sample in which every member of the targeted population has an equal chance at being selected for A Stratified Sampling measures subgroups of a targeted population in which everyone in the subgroup has an equal chance of being included in the sampling.

9 Factors determining method used: Resources Access to subjects Purpose of research Researcher’s background

10 Impact of Gender on Research Gender can be a significant factor in social research and sociologists need to take careful steps to prevent gender differences from biasing their findings.

11 Ethics: Sociologists are expected to follow ethical guidelines such as honesty, truth and the protection of research subjects, but their studies can be extremely controversial.

12 Theories need to be tested… C Wright Mills argued that theory is empty without research and research pointless without theory. Theories require ethical research on the part of sociologists to be supported and validated or disputed.

13 Findings need to be explained… Requiring theory to explain and determine reasons for behaviors. “Research produces FACTS and THEORY provides a context for those facts.”

14 Ways of averaging: Mean - The numerical average of all responses gotten by totaling all data and dividing by the number of participants. Mode – This refers to the most frequently occurring piece of data collected. Median - Is the middle statistic. For ex. If the grades collected from a quiz are 67, 89, 91, 94, and 96, then 91 is the median score.

15 Mario Brajuha: Studied restaurant workers and took a stand to protect the confidentiality of his research participants from outside scrutiny by authorities, creating for him a great deal of personal conflict and stress in dealing with powerful authorities who wanted his information.

16 Lord Humphreys: Lord Humphreys studied the behavior or homosexual men in teahouses in the 1970’s. His research became extremely significant because he did not identify himself to the participants in his observational study. Was this ethical?

17 The Hawthorne Effect: At the Hawthorne Western Electric Plant (1920s) a study on productivity was performed. This study became significant in sociological study because it showed the impact on individual human behavior that can and does occur when study participants know they are being studied. This change in regular behavior due to observation is called ‘the Hawthorne Effect.’ named after this research projects findings. ********


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