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Flashcards in Studying Society Deck (40)
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Identify on similarity and one difference between sociology and journalism

Like sociologists, journalists carry out research in order to try and answer key questions. however, they are different as sociological reserch is subject to peer review (other sociologists check the work produced) and sociologists should be very un-biased in their work, unlike journalists.


Identify one similarity and one difference between sociology and psychology

Both studies study people, drawing on key concepts such as personality or agression. hwever, psychology looks as an individual persons behaviour whereas sociology looks at a groups behaviour.


Define the word Culture

The word 'culture' refers to the whole way of life of a particular society. It includes the values, norms, customs, beliefs and language of a society.


Define the word Values

Values are ideas and beliefs that people have about what is desierable and worth striving for. For example, privacy and respect for human life are highly valued by most people in Britain.


Define Norms

Values provide us with general guidelines for conduct; norms are more specific to particular situations. Norms are what are considered normal in society.


What is Primary Socialisation

Primary socialisation refers to learning during early childhood when, as babies and infants, we learn th bascis of behaviour patterns, language and skilss that we will need in later life.


What is secondary Socialisation

Secondary Socialisation begins in later childhood and continues throughout our adult live. through this process, we learn society's norms and values.


What is an Agency of Primary Socialisation

This term refers to the groups or instutions responsible for primary socialisation. These are usually families and parents.


Explain what sociologists ment by the term Socialization

The process through which we learn the culture and appropriate behaviour (the norms and values) of the particular group or society we are born into.


What are Pilot studies

Pilot studies are test runs of a study to see if it could give accurate results.


Identify and explain two reasons why researchers use pilot studies

•Can save time
•Can save money
•Can save effort
•Helps overcome potential problems such as badly worded questions


What is a representative sample?

A sample which is typical of the population in general


What is a generalisation?

General statements and conclusions that apply to the whole population


Identify and explain two reasons why researchers might find it difficult to obtain a representative sample

•When there is no sampling frame for a group, snowball sampling where one member introduces the interviewer to another member and the research stems from there, it is nearly impossible to obtain a representative sample.
•If sampling frames are innacturate, it will be difficult to obtain a representative sample


Explain with examples a difference between primary and secondary sources of data

Primary Data:
Collected by yourself using one or more research techniques, such as questionaires, structured and unstructured interviews and observation.

Secondary Data:
Collected by a second party, someone who isn't you. Examples of this is official statistics, the mass media, letters, diaries, photographs and other sociological studies.


Identify two ways of delivering questionaires

•Postal questionaires, where a self-competion survey is posted or e-mailed to respondents
•Hand-delivered questionaires, where a researcher gives the questionaire to the respondent and returns to collect it later
•Formal/Structured Interviews, where the interviewer reads questions from the interview scedule and the respondent gives their answer there and then. These interviews can be carried out face to face or on the telephone.


Explain one difference between open and closed questions, and summarise the benefits and negatives of each

Open ended questions allow people to elaborate on a matter, meaning they can talk in depth about their opinion. This means that although you get answers which are more detailed and full of content, they cannot usually be converted into statistics.

Closed question have simple answers, such as yes and no, or how much on a scale of 1 to 10 which have only a few pre-set answers. This means that there is no detail or elaboration in closed questions, although they can be easily turned into statistics, which is very valuable.


Imagine you are investigating how much time women and men spend on housework and childcare. You are going to use a self-completion postal questionaire.

Explain one problem you may face

•Questions could be misunderstood
•The respondent may not complete all the questionaire
•You can never be sure that the correct person completed the questionaire, a group could have worked on it together for example
•Postal questionaires would be unsuitable for some populations, such as the homeless and people with literacy problems.
•Postal questionaires consist of pre-set questions, at least some of which are fixed choice or closed. In this case, the researcher has already decided the questions and the possible answers in advance
•Closed questions do not allow anyone to develop their answers
•The response rate is typically low


Explain one advantage and one disadvantage that postal interviews consist of when compared to postal or e-mailed questionaires

•People may speak more openly than in postal questionaires
•Interviewers are trained and can rephrase and explain questions, as well as clear up any other misunderstandings
•The interviewer can also make sure that all sections are filled

•People may be less honest, to appear normal to the interviewer, or for other reasons such as to impress the interviewer.
•The interviewers themselves may misunderstand or have previous judgements about the subject matter.
•Closed questions in structured interviews limit opportunites for the person being interviewed to go into detail.


Explain fully one advantage and one disadvantage of unstructured (or informal) interviews

•Unstructured interviews are much more flexible than standardised methods. The interviewer can clarify questions, rephrase them and clear up any misunderstandings. Interviewers can also prompt, probe and ask additional questions in response to what interviewes tell them.
•Interviewees have the opportunity to talk at length in their own words. They can develop their answers fully and introduce issues that they consider important but the interviewer might not have thought of. So, informal interviews provide a more in-depth account of the topic through which sociologists can obtain detailed data. Concequently, informal interviews allow you to explore more complex issues than standardised methods do.
•Unstructured interviews are relatively time consuming and expensive to conduct. For example, interviewers must be trained, and their salary and travel expenses paid.
•Even with trained interviewers, informal interviews are difficult to conduct successfully. They require a skilled interviewer who is able to keep the conversation flowing smoothly and encourage interviewees to open up. Where interviewees are unresponsive, the quality and quantity of data will be less.
•Unstructured interviews may be affected by interviewer bias, where the answerer gives responses the interviewer wants to hear, or responses that they think will put them in a positive light.
•Each unstructured interview is unique, so it would be difficult to repeat to verify the accuracy of data
•Fewer interviewers can be undertaken, meaning it is more difficult to apply findings to wider populations.


Identify and explain one advantage and one disadvantage of group interviews.

•Group interviews enable researchers to access a wider range of views and experiences, and so provide a rich source of info
•Individuals may be recruited for later individual surveys
•Individuals may feel more comfortable putting their thoughts forward in a group setting, as they are supported by other members.

•Group interviews must be handled carefully, especially when dealing with a sensitive topic
•In a group setting, interviewees may influence eachother. Some may dominate the discussion, and some may not be heard at all.
•Interviewers cannot promise that the contents of a group interview will be confidential, as there is many interviewees.


What is a longitudinal study?

Studies of the same group of people (often a cohort) conducted over a period of time.


Explain one advantage and one disadvantage of a longitudinal study.

•Londitudinal studies allow researchers to examine social changes over time, such as changes in individuals' daily lives, experiences, behavior, values, opinions, attitudes and expectations.

•The timescale involved makes them relatively expensive
•Involvement in a longitudinal study may affect the behavior of parpicipants. They might behave differently from the way they would have if they had not been involved in the study.
•There can be problems maintaining contact with the individual over time. Some may move, leave home or otherwise dissapear for some time.
•People can change their minds and stop parpticipating.


What is meant by participant observation?

In Parpicipant Observation, the researcher joins a group and participates in its full activities on a daily basis in order to investigate it.


What is the difference in covert and overt parpicipant observation?

In Overt PO, the researcher 'Comes clean' and so that the group is aware of their research activities.

In covert PO, the researcher joins the group without informing the members of their research activities.


Imagine you are undertaking research on the levels of sexism in a local college or school using participant observation...

Identify and explain one advantage of Participant Observation in this situation.

•It allows the group to study a group in its natural everyday settings and observe its activities as they occur. PO is therefore seen as less artificial than other methods.
•By participating in its activities, the researcher can see things from the group's perspective and develop a deeper understanding of the group, its behavior and its activities. This enables the researcher to obtain a better picture of the group.
•Some groups such as religious cults, violent football supporters or users of illegal drugs may refuse to be interviewed. In this case, PO may be the only method.


Imagine you are undertaking research on the levels of sexism in a local college or school using participant observation...

Identify and explain one problem you may encounter when carrying out this investigation.

•At the start, it may be difficult to gain entry to the group in question.
•Once entry is achieved, it could be hard to gain acceptance and trust from the group.
•Researchers will often not be able to make notes as it happens, they must rely on memory in order to make notes. This is especially the case with overt PO.
•PO tends to be both an expensive and time consuming research method.
•Often data collection can take over a year, so once the data is published it could be outdated.
•With Overt PO, the presence of the interviewer could inluence the group.
•The researcher could become too involved with the group and its activities, which could bias and invalidate the findings.
•Each PO is unique, and cannot be repeated for accuracy.


Imagine you re undertaking research on students' behavior in classrooms in a local primary school using non-participant observation...

Identify and explain one advantage of non-participant observation when carrying out this investigation.

•Non-participant observers may be more objective than participant ovservers, less influenced by the group.
•Non-participant observers are less likley to be be drawn into the group's activities.


Imagine you re undertaking research on students' behavior in classrooms in a local primary school using non-participant observation...

Identify and explain one problem you may encounter when carrying out this research.

•It is more difficult for the non-participant observers to see the world through the group members' eyes, so the researcher is less likely to understand things in the same way as group members
•The observer effect may still apply


Explain with examples what is meant by 'Response Rate'

The amount of people sent a survey which respond. For example, in the Family Resource survey, the response rate was 63%, meaning that 63 percent of people who were sent the survey responded.