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1) Key Issues

Reliability – This is whether, if you repeated the experiment, you would get the same results. Validity – This is how far the findings of the research actually provide a true picture of what is being studied. Data can be reliable without being valid Ethics – this is the morality of the of study. This … Continue reading

2) Factors that affect the choice of research methods

There are several factors that can influence what type of research method a sociologist chooses to use, these factors include: Time and money available – large surveys or observations can be time consuming and expensive to complete and take a long time to analyse Aims of the researcher – researchers could sometimes try and twist … Continue reading

3) Qualitative Secondary Sources

A secondary data is that which is found by another researcher that you then use yourself. Where you get this data from is known as the secondary source. Qualitative secondary sources could be newspapers, novels, art, autobiographies, diaries, TV programmes, historical documents, school reports, as well as many other examples. Advantages of qualitative secondary data … Continue reading

4) Quantitative Secondary Sources

A secondary data is that which is found by another researcher that you then use yourself. Where you get this data from is known as the secondary source. Quantitative secondary data could be birth and death rates, census data, crime rates or unemployment rates. The sources for this data are normally companies, charities or governments. … Continue reading

5) Sampling methods

Every piece of research requires a sample, and there are many ways of finding a suitable sample. Before choosing a method the researcher must find a ‘sampling frame’, this is the collection of people the researcher will then choose their sample from. An example of this could be school or college. Random sampling – an … Continue reading

6) Questionnaires

A questionnaire is a list of pre-set questions to which the participants are asked to answer. A written questionnaire will require the participant to answer the questions in writing. A spoken questionnaire is an interview. Closed questionnaires – are very structured with the participant having a few set answers to choose from. Advantages of closed … Continue reading

07) Evaluation of structured interviews

Advantages ·         Interviewer can explain the questions and overcome illiteracy problems ·         Data can be seen as reliable as all the participants are answering the same questions ·         These interviews use pre-coded questions, which make the data easier to compute and analyse than the data gained in unstructured interviews ·         The interviewer has little interaction … Continue reading

8) Evaluation of unstructured interviews

Advantages The interaction between the participant and the interviewer allows for richer, more valid data. This is because the interviewer can ask follow up questions Also the interaction allow the interviewer to develop a relationship with the participant which could mean they are more open and honest with their answers Ambiguities in an answer can … Continue reading

09) Participant Observation

Participant observation is where the researcher joins in with the group she or he is studying. This method is usually favoured by interpretivists as they can understand the meaning behind the behaviour of the group they observe. By putting themselves in the shoes of the participants they can understand why people act in certain ways. … Continue reading

10) Non-Participant Observation

Some observations are carried out without the researcher participating. There are several reasons the researcher might choose to do this, one because it eliminates the risk that people will be affected by the presence of a researcher, or it could be that the groups might be unwilling to cooperate in research if you participate in … Continue reading