1. a. People already hold attitudes, beliefs and prejudices. When researching specific subjects in sociology the
research has to take into consideration the attitudes held by the subject that may be an influence on the
research. This is a key issue as they are trying to isolate the influence of each variable. Therefore, when
examining crime and deviance they have to be aware of the own personal beliefs of the subject. It is also
necessary to consider the personal attitudes, beliefs and prejudices of the researcher that may affect the
validity of their research.
b. People react to the environment that they are in. This examines how people being investigated by the
sociologist may act differently when they are in an artificial environment. Therefore, producing results that
may be invalid and an inaccurate representation of the subject. This is investigated in the Hawthorne effect
where subjects act simply towards being researched rather than acting how they normally would in any given
c. People interact with researchers. An issue with investigating humans in an experimental environment is that
they are not as able to build up a rapport with the subject. This may mean that they do not feel a close enough
connection to the researcher in order to tell them personal information that may have benefited their research.
This can be partially seen with the investigation of organisation involved in the process of crime and deviance
such as the police system which may see the researcher as an outsider or a spy that they do not feel they can
d. People have social backgrounds. Differences in social backgrounds can cause a lack of consensus between
the researcher and the subject. There is an also key issue involving the power and status of social
background professions which may make subjects such as lawyers in the legal profession unwilling to be
e. People think about things outside their immediate situation. When they are in the research environment they
may look around the key issues surrounding the controlled environment. In the crime and deviance system,
police officers can be concerned with the purposes of the research and therefore do not act in the interests of
the situation they are currently placed within.
f. People try to work things out and ‘second guess’. Within the Hawthorne effect sociologists examine how the
research itself can lead can produce artificial data. This is because they are concentrating on the findings
from the research and therefore answer points that they believe the sociologist would like to hear.
g. In the real world, people attention is distracted. It would be impossible to identify and control all factors within
the experiment and therefore the findings from the research may be influenced by other factors outside the
controlled environment. They are not as controllable as normal scientific experiments as therefore cause
validity and practical issues. This can be especially seen in Field Experiments that may be a lengthy
procedure in the search of the data they need to find due to people getting distracted by other key points.