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SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS - Kaynak Klein Hugh Sociology...

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Kaynak: Klein, Hugh. Sociology, Barron's EZ 101 study keys, 1992, USA, sf. 48-78 Theme 4 SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS The keys in this theme are designed to explain how sociologists do research. Several of the major social research-related concepts (including random sampling, convenience sampling, bias, validity, reliability, generalizability, operationalization) are explained, as is their relevance to the performance of sociological investigations. In addition, several of the keys in this theme explain various social research methodologies and the advantages and disadvantages of employing each. The goal here is not only to help the readers understand how sociologists do their research, but also to explain to readers the kinds of research-related issues that are faced by people who wish to study human groups. INDIVIDUAL KEYS IN THIS THEME 28 Quantitative vs. qualitative research designs 29 Using qualitative and quantitative research designs 30 Social research method 1: Survey research 31 Social research method 2: Experimental research designs 32 Social research method 3: Ethnographic research 33 Social research method 4: Content research 34 Single-methodology vs. multiple-methodology studies 35 Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal research designs 36 Random sampling 37 Convenience sampling 38 Research bias 39 Validity, reliability, and generalizability 40 Operationalization 41 Hypothesis testing and statistical significance 42 Type I and type II errors Key 28 Quantitative vs. qualitative research designs OVERVIEW Research designs in sociology can be divided into two types: quantitative and qualitative studies. Quantitative research designs are numbers oriented, usually involving the collection of large amounts of numerical data that will be interpreted via statistical analysis. Qualitative research designs are more gestalt-oriented, that is, they are designed to help the researcher develop an overall feeling and a totalistic understanding of the phenomena at hand. Quantitative vs. qualitative research: Quantitative research involves providing assessments of likelihood or probability and/or the comparisons of various groups along certain dimensions. When making a decision to utilize a quantitative research design, the sociologist is trying to understand the phenomena at hand by numericizing or quantifying them. Qualitative research rarely involves the recording and statistical analysis of hard (numerical) data. In qualitative research, the phenomena to be understood are examined directly, usually over an extended period of time, and notes are taken throughout the observation process. KEY EXAMPLE Suppose that a sociologist wants to study college-student drinking patterns. A quantitative approach would be to design a questionnaire including numerous questions about students' drinking habits (how often they drink, where they drink, how much they usually drink, how they feel about drinking, and so forth) and then ask a population of college students to complete the questionnaires.
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