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Sociological Research: Designs, Methods

Sociological Research: Designs, Methods

❶When a correlation exists, changes in the value of one variable reflect changes in the value of the other. Because observation studies do not involve random samples of the population, their results cannot readily be generalized to the population.

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2.3 Research Design in Sociology

Sampling is quicker and cheaper than a complete census of a population. Social research is based on logic and empirical observations. Ragin writes in his Constructing Social Research book that "Social research involved the interaction between ideas and evidence.

Ideas help social researchers make sense of evidence, and researchers use evidence to extend, revise and test ideas. It should never lead or be mistaken with philosophy or belief. Social research aims to find social patterns of regularity in social life and usually deals with social groups aggregates of individuals , not individuals themselves although science of psychology is an exception here.

Research can also be divided into pure research and applied research. Pure research has no application on real life, whereas applied research attempts to influence the real world. There are no laws in social science that parallel the laws in natural science. A law in social science is a universal generalization about a class of facts.

A fact is an observed phenomenon , and observation means it has been seen, heard or otherwise experienced by researcher. A theory is a systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of social life. Concepts are the basic building blocks of theory and are abstract elements representing classes of phenomena.

Axioms or postulates are basic assertions assumed to be true. Propositions are conclusions drawn about the relationships among concepts, based on analysis of axioms. Hypotheses are specified expectations about empirical reality derived from propositions. Social research involves testing these hypotheses to see if they are true. Social research involves creating a theory, operationalization measurement of variables and observation actual collection of data to test hypothesized relationship.

Social theories are written in the language of variables, in other words, theories describe logical relationships between variables. Variables are logical sets of attributes, with people being the "carriers" of those variables for example, gender can be a variable with two attributes: Variables are also divided into independent variables data that influences the dependent variables which scientists are trying to explain.

For example, in a study of how different dosages of a drug are related to the severity of symptoms of a disease, a measure of the severity of the symptoms of the disease is a dependent variable and the administration of the drug in specified doses is the independent variable.

Researchers will compare the different values of the dependent variable severity of the symptoms and attempt to draw conclusions. When social scientists speak of "good research" the guidelines refer to how the science is mentioned and understood. It does not refer to how what the results are but how they are figured. Glenn Firebaugh summarizes the principles for good research in his book Seven Rules for Social Research.

The first rule is that "There should be the possibility of surprise in social research. In addition, good research will "look for differences that make a difference" Rule 2 and "build in reality checks" Rule 3. Rule 4 advises researchers to replicate, that is, "to see if identical analyses yield similar results for different samples of people" p.

The next two rules urge researchers to "compare like with like" Rule 5 and to "study change" Rule 6 ; these two rules are especially important when researchers want to estimate the effect of one variable on another e. The final rule, "Let method be the servant, not the master," reminds researchers that methods are the means, not the end, of social research; it is critical from the outset to fit the research design to the research issue, rather than the other way around.

Explanations in social theories can be idiographic or nomothetic. An idiographic approach to an explanation is one where the scientists seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or event, i. Nomothetic explanations tend to be more general with scientists trying to identify a few causal factors that impact a wide class of conditions or events. For example, when dealing with the problem of how people choose a job, idiographic explanation would be to list all possible reasons why a given person or group chooses a given job, while nomothetic explanation would try to find factors that determine why job applicants in general choose a given job.

Research in science and in social science is a long, slow and difficult process that sometimes produces false results because of methodological weaknesses and in rare cases because of fraud, so that reliance on any one study is inadvisable. The ethics of social research are shared with those of medical research. In the United States, these are formalized by the Belmont report as:. The principle of respect for persons holds that a individuals should be respected as autonomous agents capable of making their own decisions, and that b subjects with diminished autonomy deserve special considerations.

The principle of beneficence holds that a the subjects of research should be protected from harm, and, b the research should bring tangible benefits to society. By this definition, research with no scientific merit is automatically considered unethical.

The principle of justice states the benefits of research should be distributed fairly. The definition of fairness used is case-dependent, varying between " 1 to each person an equal share, 2 to each person according to individual need, 3 to each person according to individual effort, 4 to each person according to societal contribution, and 5 to each person according to merit.

The origin of the survey can be traced back at least early as the Domesday Book in , [6] [7] while some scholars pinpoint the origin of demography to with the publication of John Graunt 's Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality. While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality.

What has been called our positivism is but a consequence of this rationalism. Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide , a case study of suicide rates among Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. By carefully examining suicide statistics in different police districts, he attempted to demonstrate that Catholic communities have a lower suicide rate than that of Protestants, something he attributed to social as opposed to individual or psychological causes.

He developed the notion of objective suis generis " social facts " to delineate a unique empirical object for the science of sociology to study.

For Durkheim, sociology could be described as the "science of institutions , their genesis and their functioning".

In the midth century there was a general—but not universal—trend for U. American sociology to be more scientific in nature, due to the prominence at that time of action theory and other system-theoretical approaches. Merton released his Social Theory and Social Structure By the turn of the s, sociological research was increasingly employed as a tool by governments and businesses worldwide. In a negative correlation, one variable increases as the other decreases.

In a nonexistent correlation, no relationship exists between the variables. People commonly confuse correlation with causation. When a correlation exists, changes in the value of one variable reflect changes in the value of the other. The correlation does not imply that one variable causes the other, only that both variables somehow relate to one another. To study the effects that variables have on each other, an investigator must conduct an experiment.

A number of factors can affect the outcome of any type of experimental research. One is finding samples that are random and representative of the population being studied. Another is experimenter bias , in which the researcher's expectations about what should or should not happen in the study sway the results.

Still another is controlling for extraneous variables , such as room temperature or noise level, that may interfere with the results of the experiment. Only when the experimenter carefully controls for extraneous variables can she or he draw valid conclusions about the effects of specific variables on other variables. An advantage of this method of research is the opportunity it provides to study what actually occurs within a community, and then consider that information within the political, economic, social, and religious systems of that community.

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Types of Sociological Research

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Sociological Research: Designs, Methods Sociologists use many different designs and methods to study society and social behavior. Most sociological research involves ethnography, or “field work” designed to depict the characteristics of .

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Observational research, also called field research, is a staple of sociology. Sociologists have long gone into the field to observe people and social settings, and the result has been many rich descriptions and analyses of behavior in juvenile gangs, bars, urban street corners, and even whole communities.

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research design (noun) “[A] detailed, systematic method for conducting research and obtaining data ” (OpenStax College ). Audio Pronunciation: (re·search de·sign). The research design refers to the overall strategy that you choose to integrate the different components of the study in a coherent and logical way, thereby, ensuring you will effectively address the research problem; it constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement, and analysis of data.

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Start studying Research Design in Sociology. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The well-being of research participants is a foundational ethical principle and researchers need to carefully consider ways to design studies to minimize the potential for harm Justice People will be treated fairly, and equitably, and with respect.