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A joke Two cows are standing in a field.One says to the other “What do you think of this mad cow disease?” “What do I care?” says the other. “I’m a helicopter.”

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Presentation on theme: "A joke Two cows are standing in a field.One says to the other “What do you think of this mad cow disease?” “What do I care?” says the other. “I’m a helicopter.”"— Presentation transcript:

1 A joke Two cows are standing in a field.One says to the other “What do you think of this mad cow disease?” “What do I care?” says the other. “I’m a helicopter.”

2 Question What is a longitudinal study?

3 Answer This involves the gathering of data on a particular group of people or person over a period of time. Information is gathered at the outset of the study and subsequent developments are traced in an attempt to isolate those social factors that affect person’s life chances or to monitor change in their behaviour. A recent example would that of the 7 up study

4 Question What are the disadvantages of a longitudinal study?

5 Answer It can be very time consuming. It can be expensive
People may drop out of the study. It could have an affect over the participants life. One’s recollection can be swayed.

6 Questions What are the advantages of a longitudinal study?

7 Answer It’s unstructured. You can see changes over time.
It shows trends over a period of time.

8 Question Identify two well known examples of observational research

9 Examples of this method include James Patrick’s study ‘A Glasgow Gang Observed’ and Laud Humphreys’ ‘Tearoom Trade’ "James Patrick" is a pseudonym. In the late 1950s this young sociologist obtained entry into a Maryhill area Glaswegian gang for four months, joining in twelve times (arguably short periods of time for participant observation). James Patrick left Glasgow quickly when the violence became too unacceptable for him and he felt threatened. By memory after the events he reproduced rich data on the speech and ways of the gang although the research itself was presented in a neutral and academic style. He was afraid of the gang and waited years before publishing; this was also to protect their identities. It was published in 1973: Patrick, J. (1973), A Glasgow Gang Observed, London: Methuen. Continued

10 As a doctoral candidate at Washington University, Laud Humphreys began researching what he referred to as "tea room trade" or the act of fellatio between two anonymous men in public restroom. Humphreys made himself a regular where these activities were displayed and offered to be a look-out and warn the participants about unexpected visitors such as police.

11 Question What issues are there surrounding the reliability and validity of observational research?

12 Regarding reliability
Participant observation (whether overt or covert) is not the most reliable research method. Such studies are, by their very nature, impossible to repeat and the data they produce is, when all's said and done, simply the opinion of one observer. In addition, the reliability of overt participant observation can be further questioned in terms of the extent to which the presence of the observer actually changes of behaviour of those being studied. However, while such studies may lack reliability it is evident that the validity of the data gained can be impressive due to its richness of detail

13 Regarding validity Participant observers study people in their natural environment, gaining a depth of insight into behaviour that comes not simply from close, detailed, observation but also from the researcher's own experiences within the group being studied - a technique that provides first hand insights into why people behave as they do.  In addition, participant observation does not prejudge issues and events (in the way a questionnaire may, for example) and, for these reasons it is possible to argue that such a method provides data that has a high level of validity.

14 Question What factors would influence your choice of Research Method?

15 Answer Time Money Previous research on a topic
The phenomena being researched is it researchable Ethical considerations Researchers career path Theoretical preferences, you could be a staunch feminist and so you’d want to research feminist issues

16 Question Identify a well known example of an informal interview and the advantages it gave them

17 Answer Anne Oakley’s ‘From Here to Maternity’ which study the effects of becoming a mother in British society. It enabled her to develop close relationships of trust and openness with the women concerned and it allowed the women to speak freely

18 Question Identify on example of ‘getting out’ of research and what type of research method requires the researcher to ‘get out’

19 Answer Covert observations and James Patrick ‘A Glasgow Gang Observed’

20 Question What is ‘methodological pluralism’ ? And identify a piece of research which used this method and why?

21 Answer It’s the term used to describe the use by sociologists of a variety of research methods in a single piece of research. Humphreys in ‘The Tearoom Trade’ in order to add to the validity of his findings as it produces a fuller more accurate picture of what’s being studied

22 Question Give an example of a case study and identify the favoured research method used in such studies. the difference between a case study and a life history

23 Answer A case study involves an intensive study of a single example of a subject area the sociologist wishes to study. A famous piece of research was undertaken by Paul Willis in a single school in Wolverhampton known as ‘Learning to Labour’. It looked at the formation of counter-school subcultures. Case studies can carried out using any method of research but it tends to be more interpretivist

24 Question Why and what are ‘Life History’ studies?

25 Answer Life histories are case studies which focus on one individual and are obtained through unstructured interviews but are backed up by personal documents such as diaries

26 Question What is the difference between a ‘sampling frame’ and sampling?

27 Answer A sample is a smaller representative group chosen from the whole group/population being studied, whereas a sampling frame is a list of names of all those included for example most researchers use the Register of Electors from which to choose people

28 Question Identify as many sampling methods as you can

29 Answer Random sample Systematic sampling Stratified random sample
Quota sample Multistage sample Snowball sample

30 Question Why might a sociologist choose a non-representative sample?

31 Answer This is when a sociologist seeks to examine the particular characteristics of a group who aren’t representative of a whole. For example if you want to study the lifestyles of black travellers in Britain. Such a group might be really small and not at all representative of ‘travellers’ in Britain

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