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Chapter 2. Sociological Research Methods. Chapter Outline. Why is Sociological Research Necessary? The Sociological Research Process Research Methods Ethical Issues in Sociological Research. Common Sense and Sociology: Suicide.

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chapter 2

Chapter 2

Sociological Research Methods

chapter outline
Chapter Outline
  • Why is Sociological Research Necessary?
  • The Sociological Research Process
  • Research Methods
  • Ethical Issues in Sociological Research
common sense and sociology suicide
Common Sense and Sociology: Suicide
  • Common sense may tell us that people who threaten suicide will not commit suicide.
    • Sociological research indicates that people who threaten to kill themselves may attempt suicide.
  • Common sense may tell us that suicide is caused by despair or depression.
    • Research suggests that suicide is sometimes used as a means of lashing out because of real or imagined wrongs.
common sense and sociology suicide1
Common Sense and Sociology: Suicide
  • Historically, the commonsense view of suicide was that it was a sin, a crime, and a mental illness.
  • Emile Durkheim related suicide to the issue of cohesiveness in society.
    • In Suicide, Durkheim documented his contention that a high suicide rate was symptomatic of large-scale societal problems.
    • His approach to research still influences researchers.
how much do you know about suicide
How Much Do You Know About Suicide?
  • True or False?
    • In the United States, suicide occurs on the average of one every 18 minutes.
how much do you know about suicide1
How Much Do You Know About Suicide?
  • True
    • A suicide occurs on the average of every 18 minutes in the United States.
    • This differs with respect to the sex, race/ethnicity, and age of the individual.
      • Men are four times more likely to kill themselves than are women.
how much do you know about suicide2
How Much Do You Know About Suicide?
  • True or False?
    • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
how much do you know about suicide3
How Much Do You Know About Suicide?
  • True.
    • Suicide is a leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults.
    • It is the third leading cause of death among young people between 15 and 24 years of age, following unintentional injuries and homicide.
question
Question
  • Within the past 12 months, how many people have you known personally that have committed suicide?
sociology and scientific evidence
Sociology and Scientific Evidence
  • Sociology involves debunking, unmasking false ideas or opinions.
  • Two approaches:
    • Normative
    • Empirical
the normative approach
The Normative Approach
  • The normative approach uses religion, customs, habits, traditions, and law to answer important questions.
    • It is based on beliefs about what is right and wrong and what “ought to be” in society.
the empirical approach
The Empirical Approach
  • The empirical approach attempts to answer questions through systematic collection and analysis.
    • This is referred to as scientific method, and is based on the assumption that knowledge is gained by direct, systematic observation.
sociology and scientific standards
Sociology and Scientific Standards
  • Two basic scientific standards must be met:
    • Scientific beliefs should be supported by good evidence or information.
    • These beliefs should be open to public debate and critiques from other scholars, with alternative interpretations being considered.
question1
Question
  • The scientific method is based on the assumption that knowledge is best gained by:
      • direct observation
      • systematic observation
      • the support of good evidence
      • the possibility for public debate
      • all of these choices
answer e
Answer: e
  • The scientific method is based on the assumption that knowledge is best gained by: direct observation, systematic observation, the support of good evidence and the possibility for public debate.
types of empirical studies
Types of Empirical Studies
  • Descriptive studies attempt to describe social reality or provide facts about some group, practice, or event.
    • Designed to find out what is happening to whom, where, and when.
  • Explanatory studiesattempt to explain cause and effect relationships and to provide information on why certain events do or do not occur.
theory and research cycle
Theory and Research Cycle
  • A theory is a set of logically interrelated statements that attempts to describe, explain, and (occasionally) predict social events.
  • Research is the process of systematically collecting information for the purpose of testing an existing theory or generating a new one.
  • The theory and research cycle consists of deductive and inductive approaches.
deductive approach
Deductive Approach
  • Researcher begins with a theory and uses research to test the theory:
    • Theories generate hypotheses.
    • Hypotheses lead to observations.
    • Observations lead to the formation of generalizations.
    • Generalizations are used to support the theory, to suggest modifications to it, or to refute it.
inductive approach
Inductive Approach

Researcher collects information or data (facts or evidence) and then generates theories from the analysis of that data.

  • Specific observations suggest generalizations.
  • Generalizations produce a tentative theory.
  • The theory is tested through the formation of hypotheses.
  • Hypotheses may provide suggestions for additional observations.
question2
Question
  • The _____ approach begins with a theory and uses research to test the theory.
      • inductive
      • deductive
      • quantitative
      • qualitative
answer b
Answer: b
  • The deductive approach begins with a theory and uses research to test the theory.
understanding statistical data presentations
Understanding Statistical Data Presentations
  • Sociologists use statistical tables to present a lot of information in a relatively small space.
  • To understand a table, follow these steps:
      • Read the title.
      • Check the source and explanatory notes.
      • Read the headings for each column and row.
      • Examine and compare the data.
      • Draw conclusions.
quantitative and qualitative research
Quantitative and Qualitative Research
  • Quantitativeresearch focuses on data that can be measured numerically (comparing rates of suicide, for example).
  • Qualitativeresearch focuses on interpretive description rather than statistics to analyze underlying meanings and patterns of social relationships.
conventional research model
Conventional Research Model
  • Select and define the research problem.
  • Review previous research.
  • Formulate the hypothesis.
  • Develop the research design.
  • Collect and analyze the data.
  • Draw conclusions and report the findings.
question3
Question
  • With _____research, interpretive description (words) rather than statistics (numbers) is used to analyze underlying meanings and patterns of social relationships.
      • inductive
      • deductive
      • quantitative
      • qualitative
answer d
Answer: d
  • With qualitative research, interpretive description (words) rather than statistics (numbers) is used to analyze underlying meanings and patterns of social relationships.
definitions
Definitions
  • Hypothesis - a statement of the relationship between two or more concepts.
  • The independent variableis presumed to cause or determine a dependent variable.
  • The dependent variable is assumed to depend on or be caused by the independent variable(s).
definitions1
Definitions
  • In random sampling, every member of an entire populationbeing studied has the same chance of being selected.
  • In probability sampling, participants are deliberately chosen because they have specific characteristics, possibly including such factors as age, sex, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment.
definitions2
Definitions
  • Validityis the extent to which a study or research instrument accurately measures what it is supposed to measure.
  • Reliability is the extent to which a study or research instrument yields consistent results when applied to different individuals at one time or to the same individuals over time.
question4
Question
  • In a medical study, lung cancer could be the _____ variable, while smoking could be the ______ variable.
      • dependant, independent
      • independent, dependant
      • valid, reliable
      • reliable, valid
answer a
Answer: a
  • In a medical study, lung cancer could be the dependant variable, while smoking could be the independent variable.
question5
Question
  • In the book Suicide, Emile Durkheim used the _____ as the independent variable to determine its influence on the dependent variable, the rate of suicide.
      • degree of social integration in society
      • proportion of mental illness in society
      • degree of the spread of hysteria in the late 19th century
      • degree of religious participation
answer a1
Answer: a
  • In the book Suicide, Emile Durkheim used the degree of social integration in society as the independent variable to determine its influence on the dependent variable, the rate of suicide.
qualitative research method
Qualitative Research Method
  • Researcher begins with a general approach rather than a highly detailed plan.
  • Researcher has to decide when the literature review and theory application should take place.
qualitative research method1
Qualitative Research Method
  • The study presents a detailed view of the topic.
  • Access to people or other resources that can provide necessary data is crucial.
  • Appropriate research method(s) are important for acquiring useful qualitative data.
research methods survey research
Research Methods: Survey Research
  • Describes a population without interviewing each individual.
  • Standardized questions force respondents into categories.
  • Relies on self-reported information, and some people may not be truthful.
research methods analysis of existing data
Research Methods: Analysis of Existing Data
  • Materials studied may include:
    • books, diaries, poems, and graffiti
    • movies, television shows, advertisements, greeting cards
    • music, art, and even garbage
research methods field research
Research Methods: Field Research
  • Study of social life in its natural setting.
  • Observing and interviewing people where they live, work, and play.
  • Generates observations that are best described verbally rather than numerically.
approaches to field research
Approaches to Field Research
  • Participant observation
    • Collecting observations while part of the activities of the group being studied.
      • Action Research
  • Ethnography
    • Detailed study of the life and activities of a group of people over a period of years.
approaches to field research1
Approaches to Field Research
  • Case Studies- An in-depth, multifaceted investigation of a single event, person, or social grouping.
    • A collective case study involves multiple cases.
  • An unstructured interviewis an extended, open-ended interaction between an interviewer and an interviewee.
grounded theory
Grounded Theory
  • Researchers who use grounded theory collect and analyze data simultaneously.
    • For example, after in-depth interviews with 106 suicide attempters, researchers in one study concluded that half of the individuals who attempted suicide wanted both to live and to die at the time of their attempt.
research methods experiments
Research Methods: Experiments
  • Study the impact of certain variables on subjects’ attitudes or behavior.
  • Designed to create “real-life” situations.
  • Used to demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship between variables.
question6
Question
  • A university asks you to participate in an interview asking questions about your cheating attitudes, experiences, and behaviors. The researchers assure complete confidentiality. How likely are you to agree to the interview?
      • Very likely
      • Somewhat likely
      • Unsure
      • Somewhat unlikely
      • Very unlikely
demonstrating cause and effect relationships
Demonstrating Cause-and-Effect Relationships

Three conditions must be fulfilled:

  • You must show that a correlation exists between the two variables.
  • You must ensure that the independent variable preceded the dependent variable.
  • You must make sure that any change in the dependent variable was not due to an extraneous variable—one outside the stated hypothesis.
correlation versus causation
Correlation Versus Causation
  • A study might find that exposure to a suicide hot line is associated (correlated) with a change in attitude toward suicide.
  • But if some of the students who were exposed to the hot line also received psychiatric counseling, the counseling may be the “hidden” cause of the observed change in attitude.
  • In general, correlations alone do not prove causation.
correlation versus causation1
Correlation Versus Causation
  • Observed Correlation

Possible Causal Explanation

triangulation
Triangulation
  • Triangulation is the term used to describe the approach of combining multiple methods in a given study.
  • Triangulation refers not only to research methods but also to multiple data sources, investigators, and theoretical perspectives in a study.
  • Multiple data sources include persons, situations, contexts, and time.
asa code of ethics
ASA Code of Ethics
  • Disclose research findings in full and include all possible interpretations of the data.
  • Safeguard the participants’ right to privacy and dignity while protecting them from harm.
asa code of ethics1
ASA Code of Ethics
  • Protect confidential information provided by participants.
  • Acknowledge research collaboration and disclose all financial support.
slide66
1. The unmasking of fallacies in the everyday and official interpretations of society is called:
  • defrauding
  • defeating
  • debunking
  • devaluing
answer c
Answer: c
  • The unmasking of fallacies in the everyday and official interpretations of society is called: debunking.
slide68
2. The approach where the researcher collects information or data and then generates theories from analysis of the data is called:
  • inductive
  • deductive
  • quantitative
  • qualitative
answer a2
Answer: a
  • The approach where the researcher collects information or data and then generates theories from analysis of the data is called inductive.
slide70
3. With _____ research, the goal is scientific objectivity, and the focus is on data that can be measured numerically.
  • inductive
  • deductive
  • quantitative
  • qualitative
answer c1
Answer: c
  • With quantitative research, the goal is scientific objectivity, and the focus is on data that can be measured numerically.
slide72
4. _____ exists when two variable are associated more frequently than could be expected by chance.
  • Multiple causation
  • Regression relation
  • Correlation
  • Spurious relation
answer c2
Answer: c
  • Correlation exists when two variable are associated more frequently than could be expected by chance.
slide74
5. Reliability is the extent to which a study or research instrument:
  • measures the phenomenon it is intended to measure.
  • yields consistent results.
  • approximates a true experiment.
  • relies on other variables to preserve validity.
answer b1
Answer: b
  • Reliability is the extent to which a study or research instrument yields consistent results.
slide76
6. Validity is the extent to which a study or research instrument:
  • accurately measures what it is supposed to measure.
  • yields consistent results.
  • approximates a true experiment.
  • relies on other variables to preserve validity.
answer a3
Answer: a
  • Validity is the extent to which a study or research instrument accurately measures what it is supposed to measure.