Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 2 The Tools of Sociology. Chapter Outline Applying the Sociological Imagination The Basic Methods Analyzing the Data Theories and Perspectives."— Presentation transcript:
Chapter Outline Applying the Sociological Imagination The Basic Methods Analyzing the Data Theories and Perspectives
Steps in the Research Process In all research projects, certain basic steps must be completed, though not always in the order listed here: 1. Deciding on the problem. 2. Reviewing the literature. 3. Formulating research questions. 4. Selecting a method. 5. Analyzing the data.
Durheim’s Hypotheses of Suicide Émile Durkheim’s study of suicide provides a good example of the process by which a sociologist converts a broad question into empirical study.
Durkheim’s Hypotheses of Suicide These explanations are often stated in the form of a hypothesis - a statement that expresses an informed guess regarding the possible relationship between two or more phenomena. In his study of suicide, Durkheim demonstrated that he could predict where and when suicides would be more numerous.
Variables In sociology, a variable is a characteristic of individuals, groups, or entire societies that can vary from one case to another. Religion, education, marital status, and number of children are other variable examples.
Qualitative & Quantitative Methods Social researchers often distinguish between qualitative and quantitative fact-finding methods. Qualitative methods - generate many facts about a relatively small number of cases. Quantitative methods - are based on systematic counting and statistical analysis of as many cases as possible. Quantitative researchers often rely on the categories or ideas developed through qualitative research and attempt to count the frequency of observations in different categories.
Basic Research Methods MethodDescription Participant Observation Field observation in which the observer participates in the lives of the people being observed. Unobtrusive Measures Observational techniques that measure behavior but intrude as little as possible into actual social settings.
Basic Research Methods MethodDescription Controlled Experiment An experiment in which the researcher manipulates an independent variable to measure changes in a dependent variable. Field Experiment An experiment in which the researcher observes subjects in their natural setting.
OBSERVATION Qualitative sociological research requires direct observation of people being studied. The sociologists attempt to be both objective observers of events and actual participants in the social milieu under study—not an easy task for even the most experienced researchers.
OBSERVATION In such situations, the observers faithfully record their observations and interactions in field notes, which supply the descriptive data that will be used in the analysis and writing phases of the study.
Experiments Controlled experiments allow the researcher to manipulate an independent variable to measure changes in a dependent variable. Field experiments involve a “treatment group” of people who participate in the program and a control group of people who do not.
Survey Research Surveys ask people to give precise information about their behavior and attitudes. Survey techniques make it possible to generalize from a small sample of respondents to an entire population.
Basic Research Methods MethodDescription Survey Research in which a sample of respondents drawn from a specific population respond to questions in an interview or questionnaire.
Basic Research Methods MethodExample Participant Observation Sanchez-Jankowski spends many months with youth gangs, gaining their trust and learning gang norms. Unobtrusive Measures Media researchers learn about the listening tastes of different segments of the public.
Basic Research Methods MethodExample Field Experiment Rokeach meets three mental patients, each of whom believes he is Jesus Christ. He introduces them to each other to learn how they incorporate conflicting information into their self-presentations.
Basic Research Methods MethodExample Controlled Experiment The Manpower Research and Development Corporation conducts experiments to learn the types of training and job programs that reduce state welfare rolls.
Basic Research Methods MethodExample Survey A team of National Opinion Research Center sociologists survey the public about their sexual behavior and attitudes.
Research Ethics and the Rights of Respondents 1. Right of privacy - the right to define when and on what terms one’s activities should be revealed to the general public. 2. Confidentiality - the assurance that no information can be traced to a respondent. 3. Informed consent - statements about what respondents are being asked and how their responses will be used.
Analyzing the Data Survey research generates numerical data, which are displayed in tables. Frequency distributions indicate how many observations fall within each category of a variable. Percent analysis permits comparisons between categories by transforming absolute numbers into a proportion as a part of 100.
Theories and Perspectives A theory is a set of interrelated concepts that seeks to explain the causes of a phenomenon. Theoretical perspectives offer explanations for aspects of social behavior. Theoretical perspectives provide a framework of ideas and explanations.
1. The research process for sociologists a. always begins with the development of a theory. b. should be modeled on the classical experimental method. c. has few, if any, tangible benefits, while often exacting great personal costs. d. does not always proceed in the order of the exact steps specified in the text.
Answer: d The research process for sociologists does not always proceed in the order of the exact steps specified in the text.
2. Marital status, age, race, and income are important ________ within sociology. a. theories b. variables c. attributes d. hypotheses
Answer: b Marital status, age, race, and income are important variables within sociology.
3. Involvement in the day-to-day lives and activities of those you wish to study form the basis of which technique? a. survey research b. content analysis c. participant observation d. unobtrusive measurement
Answer: c Involvement in the day-to-day lives and activities of those you wish to study form the basis of participant observation.
4. Research typically used to estimate the demographic characteristics and social attitudes of a population employs a. a survey. b. unobtrusive measures. c. participant observation. d. the experimental method.
Answer: a Research typically used to estimate the demographic characteristics and social attitudes of a population employs a survey.