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Flashcards in Research Method Deck (12):
1

Positivists

They argue that there is a measurable, objective social reality that exists out there. They see our behaviour as the result of social forces shaping what we do, their aim is to discover the underlying causes of our behaviour.

2

Types of methods of research Positivist uses:

Questionnaires
Structured interview
Structured observation
Official statistics

This enables them to obtain reliable and representative quantitative data. General pattern and trends are identified in our behaviour, from which they produce cause and effect explanations.

3

Interpretivists clam

They claim that there is no objective social reality, just the subjective meanings that social actors give to events. Therefore, the aim of research is to uncover actors meaning or worldview.

4

Types of interpretivists research methods:

Unstructured interviews
Participant observation
Personal documents

This produces valid and qualitative data.

5

Three key concept to judge the usefulness of a research method

Reliability: for a method to be reliable it must be replicable by using a standardise form of measurement. Positivist favour a scientific approach.
Representativeness: the characteristics of the sample need to be the same as those of the wider group. This means they will be able to make generalisations. Positivist favour representativeness.
Validity: refers to how authentic and true the data is . Interpretivists want to revel the meaning people hold.

6

Primary data

Is evidence collected by sociologists themselves for their own sociological purpose: using methods such as
Questionnaires
Observation
Interviews

7

Secondary data

Is any information that has already been collected by someone else for their own purpose: such as
Official statistics
Business records
Media reports
Diaries
Personal documents

8

Three main factors that influence the sociologist choice of research method

The methodological preference of the sociologists
Practical aspects of research
Ethical concerns

9

Three key concept to judge the usefulness of a research method

Reliability: for a method to be reliable it must be replicable by using a standardise form of measurement. Positivist favour a scientific approach.
Representativeness: the characteristics of the sample need to be the same as those of the wider group. This means they will be able to make generalisations. Positivist favour representativeness.
Validity: refers to how authentic and true the data is . Interpretivists want to revel the meaning people hold.

10

Primary data

Is evidence collected by sociologists themselves for their own sociological purpose: using methods such as
Questionnaires
Observation
Interviews

11

Secondary data

Is any information that has already been collected by someone else for their own purpose: such as
Official statistics
Business records
Media reports
Diaries
Personal documents

12

Three main factors that influence the sociologist choice of research method

The methodological preference of the sociologists
Practical aspects of research
Ethical concerns