Flashcards in Research Methods and Concepts Deck (41):
Analysis of texts/media pieces; usually quantitative but may be qualitative
Disadv - subject to interpretation = low reliability
Some sociologists say they are socially constructive
Use normative definition of deviance
Useful as background info to inform research
British Cohort Study
Longitudinal mixed methods, Positivist/Realist, methodological pluralism/triangulation
aims to uncover relationships between factors to improve social policy
Breakup concepts into measurable indicators
Dropout rate in a longitudinal study
Use of two or more methods to add detail and/or range to a study
Use of two or more methods to check validity or improve reliability of a study
Public, personal, historical
Consider: authenticity, credibility (was it written FOR the research?), representiveness, meaning (interpretation/subjective)
The belief that research can/cannot be separate from the researcher's values and beliefs
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
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
Which approach thinks research is inevitably value laden?
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)
Name some ethical issues
Avoidance of harm
Avoidance of deception
Results (what happens to them?)
Leaving the sample
Name some theoretical issues
Methodological perspective (realist/pos/int/fem)
FItness for purpose of study
Same some sampling types
Cluster (series of places, researcher chooses a sample at random from the 'cluster' of people there)
Systemic (every nth same from sampling frame)
Name some things which can raise validity
Researcher presence (for clarity)
Positive researcher characteristics
Well opperationalised indicators
Anonymity and confidentiality
Name some things which can lower validity
Researcher imposition (value laden research)
Social desirability (social bias)
Subjective bias of researcher
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
Name some things which can raise reliability
Well worded questions
Lower researcher involvement
Name some things which can lower reliability
Poorly worded questions
No standard environment
What does Lyotard (postmodernist) think?
Research is no more than one person's view or interpretation - he rejects this as a metanarrative
Which Positivist believed in the scientific approach?
Durkheim - value free sociology - eg 'suicide study' (uses OCS)
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)
Explain the process of research
Hypothesis (Pos) or Research aims (int)
Method and sample selection
Collect, code and analyse
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)
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
How can subjective bias be overcome?
Data triangulation (to cross check results)
What are two examples of researcher imposition?
Leading questions and non verbal cues
What is an example of a case study?
In depth study of one individual/group
e.g. Willis; Dawn Butler
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
Name some researchers who used reflexivity
Lumsden; Valerie Hay; Mac an Ghaill
Name some researchers whose research was affected by access to sample
Mac an Ghaill
What are trends?
Patterns over time
Overcomes snapshot view, can see effect of social or policy changes/factors
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)
Name some examples of people who used personal documents?
Valerie Hey (notes)
What are focus groups?
Group interviews but less formal.
Group dynamic may mean new ideas emerge; saves time and money; useful research starting point
What is ethnography?
Observation, usually participant
What is triangulation?
Using two or more methods to check and verify results
(researcher triangulation reduced bias)
What is methodological pluralism?
Using two or more methods to add breadth, depth and deeper understanding to a study