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Happy Wednesday!
You will have a little time to put your
posters together
Research Methods
Background
Scientific Method: systematic,
organized series of steps that
ensures maximum objectivity and
consistency in researching a
problem
Rely on qualitative and quantitative
research
Very limited in laboratory
experiments
Step 1 and 2: Select a
topic & define a problem
What do you want to know about?
Narrow the topic- needs to be specific
enough to allow a researcher to
assess the concept
Example: spouse abuse- TOO BROAD
Why men are more likely than women to be
abusers- BETTER TOPIC
Step 3: Review the
Literature
Read what has been published
about your topic
Don’t waste time rediscovering what is
already known
Allows researchers to:
Refine the problem under study
Clarify possible techniques
Eliminate and reduce avoidable
mistakes
Step 4 &5: Formulate the
hypothesis & choose a
research method
Hypothesis- statement of what you
expect to find according to
predictions from a theory
Needs operational definition -precise
way to measure variables
State the procedure the researcher
will follow for collecting and
analyzing
Step 6: Collecting Data
Select a sample- a selection from a
larger population that is statistically
representative of that population
Random sample
Data must be valid and reliable
Ways to gather data:
Survey
Observation
Analyze existing data
Step 7: Analyze Data
Test your hypothesis in this step
Is hypothesis supported?
Must not allow personal preference to
be involved
Step 8: Share results
Hypothesis is formally accepted,
rejected or modified
All work is published so others can
verify and duplicate
Research Designs
The method you choose depends
on the questions you want to
answer
Goal is to find the “average” in your
study
Surveys
Example: Gallup Poll
Asking individuals a series of questions
2 main forms: Interview or
Questionnaire
Interview can obtain a higher response
rate
People find it more difficult to turn down
personal requests
Interviewers can go deeper into questions
Questionnaires are cheaper
Surveys (continued)
Must create questions that allow
respondents to express their own
opinions
Closed-ended question- followed by a
list of possible answers
Open-ended question-allows people
to answer in their own words
Establish a rapport
Observations
Collect information by direct
participation or closely watching a
group or community
Major challenge: CANNOT allow
close association or friendships
influence the subjects behavior or
the conclusion of the study
Secondary Analysis
Use of previous collected and
publically accessible information
and data
Not influenced by people’s behavior
Relies on someone else’s work,
and may not be what is needed
Ethics in Research
Sociologists abide by the American
Sociological Association (ASA)
Need to be certain they are not
invading their subjects privacy
Use of human subjects must be
overseen by a review board
Principles of Sociological
Research
Maintain objectivity and integrity
Respect the subject’s rights to
privacy and dignity
Protect subjects from personal harm
Principles of Soc.
Research (continued)
Preserve confidentiality
Seek informed consent
Acknowledge research
collaboration and assistance
Disclose all sources of financial
support