Sociological Questions.docx - Chapter 2 Asking and...

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Chapter 2: Asking and Answering Sociological Questions Sociology today: Relies increasingly on statistical studies that use big data sets Studies are relying on statistical or quantitative methods and computer programs that make it possible to analyze the vast amounts of data the Internet generates o quantitative methods - approaches to sociological research that draw on objective and statistical data and often focus on documenting trends, comparing subgroups, exploring correlations These methods allow sociologists to process more data than ever before Qualitative methods - rely on observations, personal interviews, and archival data Principles/Standards of Sociological Research: 1. The goal of sociological research is inference . 1. Be able to generalize. In other words, while sociologists cannot collect data about the whole world, they are able to use more limited data to make broader claims about phenomena they cannot directly observe b. Sociologists must ensure that other researchers can retrace the paths to their findings. 1. The procedures researchers use for collecting and analyzing data should be made public and explicit to the scientific community, allowing other researchers to learn the methods used and address the limitations of these methods b. The conclusions of all scientific research, including sociology, are uncertain. 1. Sociologists need to specify all the possible sources of uncertainty in their study Reflexivity - for social scientists, it is important to acknowledge that the investigator is a crucial part of the world she studies and cannot necessarily
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divorce herself from it. This includes power dynamics among subjects and the ways in which personal values or personal identity influence both the nature of the questions asked and the interpretation of data 7 Stages of the Research Process 1. Define the research problem 1. All research starts with a research problem. Select a topic for research. 2. Best research starts with problems that are puzzles - having a gap in our understanding b. Review the Literature 1. Familiarize yourself with existing research on the topic b. Formulate a hypothesis c. Select a research design 1.
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