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Flashcards in Research Methods Deck (14):

What are the disadvantages of questionnaires?

-suffer low response as people can't be bothered to complete them
-difficult to go into an depth as the questions need to be as clear and simple as possible
-People may lie or be partial
-There are always going to be some social groups who won't respond positively to a questionnaire


What's the difference between participant and non participant observation?

Non participant - involves the researcher sitting and observing an activity

Participant observation- when the sociologist immerses themselves in the lifestyle group they are observing


What's the difference between a structured and an unstructured interview?

Structured interviews involve the researcher reading a list of closed questions from an interview schedule and the interviewer isn't allowed to deviate from the questions.

Unstructured interviews are more like a guided conversation,the interviewer has more of a informal conversation and doesn't normally have a structured interview schedule


What's an overt and covert observation?

Overt observation involves the sociologist joining in with the everyday life of those they're watching,however they are open about the research

Covert observations involves a sociologist going undercover and pretending to be a member or group e.g James Patrick Glasgow gang


What do positivists see is the purpose of reasearch?

Scientific,objective,to investigate cause and effect,discover social laws


How do positivists research?

Primary-social surveys,experiments,questionnaires,formal interviews
Secondary-official statistics and content analysis


What do interpretivists see is the purpose of research?

Non scientific,subjective,gain rich insight detail and understanding


How do interpretivists research?

Primary-observation,informal interviews
Secondary-personal documents,content analysis


What are the advantages of questionnaires?

-Used to reach a larger and more representative sample
-postal questionnaires can be used
-less time consuming & cheap to carry out
-positivist sociologists are keen on using them as they argue they're scientific as they are high in reliability


What are the advantages of participant observation?

1)It results in highly valid research as the observer can see things through the eyes of and actions of people in the group

2) there is no change of the Hawthorne effect

3)generates new ideas and lead to new insights


What are disadvantages of participant observation?

-Difficult to gain entry to a group and get trust
-May be observer or researcher effects
-Many ethical issues as it lies to people and may be dangerous


What is reliability?

If a method is reliable it means that anyone else using the method should get very similar results


What is validity?

This is when the sociologist has to see if the data they have collected has measured what it set out to measure


What does generalisability mean?

If something applies fairly universally