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Sociology. Research methods . Starter. Look at the picture below. What are some questions a sociologist would ask while interpreting this picture ? video/world/2012/08/27/pkg-damon-child-fighter-on-syria-lebanon-border.cnn?iref=videosearch.

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Research methods



  • Look at the picture below. What are some questions a sociologist would ask while interpreting this picture?

What did we talk about yesterday

What did we talk about yesterday?

Guess who round 2

Guess Who? – Round 2

Fact: Believed the structure of society intertwines with economic structure.

Sociologist: Karl Marx

Guess who round 21

Guess Who? – Round 2

Fact: Coined the term ‘function’ for the interrelated parts of society.

Sociologist: Emile Durkheim

Guess who round 22

Guess Who?- Round 2

Fact: Influenced heavily by Charles Darwin.

Sociologist: Herbert Spencer

Guess who round 23

Guess Who?- Round 2

Fact: Conceptualized social statics and social dynamics

Sociologist: Auguste Comte

Guess who round 24

Guess Who?- Round 2

Fact: Conceptualized the ‘ideal type’ as a key feature of societies.

Sociologist: Max Weber

How do sociologists gather info

How do sociologists gather info?

Through ‘social research’

Social research

Social research

  • Sociologists usually study the structure and function of various features in society.

  • Also interested in behaviors- their frequency in a given situation, and how groups of similar individuals act in a given circumstance.

  • It is usually a topic a sociologist is interested in that they conduct their research on.

Causation and correlation

Causation and Correlation

  • Causation= the causes behind an event.

  • Sociologists examine cause and effect by looking at the variables, or characteristics, involved.

  • Sociologists must also determine whether or not there is a correlation between two variables.

  • Correlation= a change in one variable regularly associates with a change in another variable.



Correlation does not equal causation!!!!

Example: A rise in ice cream sales leads to a rise in drowning victims.

The research process

The Research Process

  • Define the problem select a problem and clearly state what you want to study.

  • Review the Literature see what else is out there; you don’t have to come up with a completely new topic.

  • Form a Hypothesis it should be testable

    - hypothesis= statement predicting the relationship between two variables.

Research process cont d

Research Process (cont’d)

4) Choose a Research Design how are you going to collect data, and then analyze it?

5) Collect the Data can vary in amount of time; make sure to record everything!

6) Analyze the Data does the data that you collected support your research hypothesis?

7) Presenting Conclusions draw the conclusion and present your findings to others . By sharing your findings, you are adding to the body of sociological knowledge.

Research methods

Research Methods

  • Survey Method questionnaires, interviews.

  • Experiments

  • Observational studies

  • Analysis of existing sources

  • Historical method

  • Content Analysis

Existing sources

Existing Sources

  • Historical Method Use of an existing source to gather information; often used to discover trends from the past.


  • Content Analysis Used for recorded information; count the umber of times something appears in a dialogue.

    - Computers have improved the ease of this greatly.

Analyzing data

Analyzing data

  • Once you have gathered your data, it is important to analyze it in a meaningful way to draw the best conclusions.

  • If data is not analyzed correctly, or if there is incorrect data, it could lead to inaccurate results.



  • Validity= the extent to which a measurement procedure is capable of measuring what it is supposed to measure.

  • Reliability= the capability of a method to produce the same results over a period of time.

  • Applicability= can the results be applied to your hypothesis?

  • Bias= prejudice for or against.



  • American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics p. R2 in book.

  • 5 Principles that guide:

  • Professional Competence

  • Integrity

  • Professional and Scientific Responsibility

  • Respect for People’s Rights, Dignity and Diversity

  • Social responsibility

  • Guide sociologists as they conduct research- the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’

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