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A2 Sociology > Research Methods and Concepts > Flashcards

Flashcards in Research Methods and Concepts Deck (41):
1

Content analysis

Analysis of texts/media pieces; usually quantitative but may be qualitative
Disadv - subject to interpretation = low reliability

2

Official statistics

Secondary source
Some sociologists say they are socially constructive
Use normative definition of deviance
Useful as background info to inform research

3

Longitudinal

British Cohort Study
Longitudinal mixed methods, Positivist/Realist, methodological pluralism/triangulation
aims to uncover relationships between factors to improve social policy

4

Operationalisation

Breakup concepts into measurable indicators

5

Sample attrition

Dropout rate in a longitudinal study

6

Methodological pluralism

Use of two or more methods to add detail and/or range to a study

7

Triangulation

Use of two or more methods to check validity or improve reliability of a study

8

Documents

Public, personal, historical
Consider: authenticity, credibility (was it written FOR the research?), representiveness, meaning (interpretation/subjective)

9

Value freedom/laden

The belief that research can/cannot be separate from the researcher's values and beliefs

10

What did Becker (interactionist) say about research?

He used a 'committed approach', asking 'what side are we on?'. He was committed to giving powerless people a voice

11

What does reflexivity do?

Allow researcher to reflect on how their values impacted their research (subjective influence), make research more transparent, acknowledges that research affects both participant and researcher

12

Which approach thinks research is inevitably value laden?

Interpretivism

13

Name some practical issues

Time and money (scale of research, employees needed)
Funding requirements (is it needed in a certain format?)
Skills/characteristics of sociologist
Subject matter (consider gender/literacy/background of participants and researcher)
Research opportunity (may limit study type options)

14

Name some ethical issues

Consent
Avoidance of harm
Confidentiality
Avoidance of deception
Results (what happens to them?)
Leaving the sample

15

Name some theoretical issues

Methodological perspective (realist/pos/int/fem)
Val/rel. rep/gen
FItness for purpose of study

16

Same some sampling types

Snowball
Cluster (series of places, researcher chooses a sample at random from the 'cluster' of people there)
Convenience
Quota
Probability/Random
Stratified
Systemic (every nth same from sampling frame)

17

Name some things which can raise validity

Researcher presence (for clarity)
Positive researcher characteristics
Well opperationalised indicators
Pilot study
Place/environment
Anonymity and confidentiality
Respondant validation

18

Name some things which can lower validity

Sensitive topics
Unclear questions
Leading questions
Researcher imposition (value laden research)
Social desirability (social bias)
Subjective bias of researcher
Interviewer effect/bias
Group interviews

19

What is social desirability/social bias?

The respondant answering questions in a way that will make them seem 'better' due to worries about how they appear - lowers validity

20

Name some things which can raise reliability

Pilot study
Well worded questions
Standardized environment
Lower researcher involvement

21

Name some things which can lower reliability

Poorly worded questions
Researcher involvement
No standard environment

22

What does Lyotard (postmodernist) think?

Research is no more than one person's view or interpretation - he rejects this as a metanarrative

23

Which Positivist believed in the scientific approach?

Durkheim - value free sociology - eg 'suicide study' (uses OCS)

24

Which factors may affect the values of the research?

Influences of funding body
Personal opinions and experiences of sociologist
Aim of sociologist (eg career progression)

25

Explain the process of research

Topic choice
Literature review
Hypothesis (Pos) or Research aims (int)
Method and sample selection
Operationalizing concepts
Pilot study
Research
Collect, code and analyse
Conclusion
Evaluation

26

What is respondant validation?

Asking the sample to check results - eg Willis with the anti-school subculture
(increases validity, checks ethical issues, reflexitivity, overcomes prac/eth issues of leaving a group)

27

What is researcher imposition

Bias in research due to researcher's own views, eg leading questions and non verbal cues
Overcome by pilot studies, triangulation, respondent validation

28

How can subjective bias be overcome?

Researcher triangulation
Data triangulation (to cross check results)
Reflexivity

29

What are two examples of researcher imposition?

Leading questions and non verbal cues

30

What is an example of a case study?

In depth study of one individual/group
e.g. Willis; Dawn Butler

31

What are some advantages/reasons to use a case study

Usually uses one than more method, increasing validity
High verstehen and validity
Allows voice of powerless to emerge
Can research a hard to access group

32

Name some researchers who used reflexivity

Lumsden; Valerie Hay; Mac an Ghaill

33

Name some researchers whose research was affected by access to sample

Hay
Mac an Ghaill

34

What are trends?

Patterns over time
Overcomes snapshot view, can see effect of social or policy changes/factors

35

What is cause and effect and who uses it?

A positivist data analysis technique which tries to find reasons for something - but difficult to know the direction of causation.
However may increase funding potential as preferred by government (can implement policies)

36

Name some examples of people who used personal documents?

Valerie Hey (notes)
Dawn Butler

37

What are focus groups?

Group interviews but less formal.
Group dynamic may mean new ideas emerge; saves time and money; useful research starting point

38

What is ethnography?

Observation, usually participant

39

What is triangulation?

Using two or more methods to check and verify results
(researcher triangulation reduced bias)
Realist approach

40

What is methodological pluralism?

Using two or more methods to add breadth, depth and deeper understanding to a study

41

What is fitness for purpose?

When the method suits the aim of a study