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Sy4 research methods A2

  1. 1. A2 Sociological Research Methods
  2. 2. Reliability Whether results are consistent over time and accurate in terms of the population being studied. If research is reliable it will produce similar results if the same mythology is used by others.
  3. 3. Validity This is the extent to which a research project meets its aims and can be trusted to be an accurate measure of what the researcher aimed to discover. • Internal: if the researcher answers what is supposed to be answered. • External: can be applied to wider society.
  4. 4. Generalizability The extent to which set of conclusions about a population sample can be said to be true of the entire target population.
  5. 5. Representativeness  Does a sample have exactly the same characteristics as everyone else in the target population so that findings of the small group studied would be true of everyone else in that population?
  6. 6. Sampling  The selection of a small study group. The sample should have similar characteristics to the wider target population. Types of sampling: • Convenience : Researcher uses anyone who is available and willing to take part. • Systematic: Selection of a population within an ordered sampling frame. Every nth name. • Stratified: A sample that is drawn from a number of separate strata of the population, rather than at random from the whole population. • Cluster: The total population is divided into groups, then a random sample of the groups is selected. • Random: a sample in which every element in the population has an equal chance of being selected • Snowball: where existing study subjects recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances. (friend of a friends) • Quota: A sample taken from a stratified population by sampling until a pre-assigned quota in each stratum is represented. • Purposive: (Judgemental sample) Population selected based on their knowledge being purposeful. Selected because of a certain characteristic.
  7. 7. Ethics  this is the extent to which a research study can be said to protect everyone involved in a projects; participants, researchers and institutions from any source of potential harm. o Ethical issue examples psychologist Milgram, & The Tuskegee experiment
  8. 8. E.g.. Ethical issues within an experiment The Tuskegee Syphilis experiment, (1932-1972): The Tuskegee experiment was a study by the United States public health service, to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis (a chronic bacterial disease that is contracted chiefly by infection during sexual intercourse) for 6-9 months and then follow the treatment phase in a group of black men. The study used rural African American men, who believed they were receiving free health care from the United States government. The study began in 1932, when investigators sought 600 disadvantaged sharecroppers (tenant farmers who give part of their yield as rent) from Macon County in Alabama. 399 of the men had contracted syphilis before the study, and 201 did not have the disease. The benefits for participating were free medical care, meals and free burial insurance (funeral cost). The men were told they were being treated for ‘bad blood’ which was a local term used to explain illnesses such as anaemia, fatigue and syphilis. However were never told exactly what they had, and were never treated for the syphilis. By 1947 penicillin became the standard treatment for syphilis, nevertheless investigators continued with the study without treating the participants, or informing them of the drug. The study finally came to a standstill when a leak to the press eventually resulted in its termination. The study resulted in death of some participants; wives contracted the disease and children therefore born with congenital syphilis. Doctors of the time were fixated on African American sexuality and their willingness to continue sexual relations with those infected, and so blamed the individual. The doctors found ways to help the innocent infants born with the disease, blinded by the need to place blame.
  9. 9. Ethical issues: • To begin mutual respect and confidence was breached, as any citizen should be able to trust a medical practitioner, yet the practitioners were the enemy’s in the situation, causing the African American males to be victimised. • Generally the investigation was not considered from all standpoints; the experimenters caused unnecessary deaths after the cure for syphilis was brought in, breaking ethical codes that say consequences must be considered. • Consent was not given fully. The participants were only informed that they would be receiving free medical treatment for a disease type under the slang ‘bad blood’, so deception was breached. • Debriefing: the participants should leave in the same state they arrived, with the period of 40 years; this could not have been achieved. Some participants also died and harmed others outside the experiment. • It is unclear to whether participants were able to withdraw from the study, but why would they if they received free health care? They were debriefed and had no idea all their suffering could be cured, as far as they knew they were being treated. • Confidentiality: information of names, and notes from their progress were leaked into the media. • Protection of participants was one of the biggest ethical issues, laws state participants should not take part in the study if they have a medical condition which may be affected. • Other problems: • The study was racist to target Black African American men (The study made poor black people reluctant to seek medical help). After the experiment there were rumours spread, saying the government introduced the virus of AIDS/HIV into the Black community. • After the introduction of penicillin to treat syphilis, the study continued for a further 25 years. Researchers failed to treat patients appropriately. • The study lead to changes in the United States laws and regulation, involving the protection of participants in clinical studies, and studies now also require informed consent, communication and accurate reporting of test results.
  10. 10. Ethical issue definition Why is it important to not breach this ethical issue? study's deceit The action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth. Fielding 1993: national front. Covert participant observations. He deceived the people he was observing. sensitivity A person's feelings which might be easily offended or hurt So people fell understood Humphreys: impersonal, sex in toilets. Invasion of privacy No consent bias Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Will cause the results to be inaccurate. Barker: Moonies She became bias of them confidentiality the state of being secret; "you must respect the confidentiality of your client's communications Can cause problems legally. Invasion of privacy the wrongful intrusion by individuals or the government into private affairs with which the public has no concern. Informed consent by a patient to undergo a medical or surgical treatment or to participate in an experiment after the patient understands
  11. 11. Planning research! Choose a topic Define research question Design the study Do the research Sort results Evaluate findings and methods Write a report Choose sample Choose methodology Look at secondary sources • Plan for sociological research…
  12. 12. Stages of development before a final research method is selected. • Operationalising concepts: tuning the key idea into something that can be measure in some way. • Selecting a method: plan the research method carefully to ensure validity, reliability generalisability and be sure it is ethical. (a pilot study should be conducted before the final study.) • Accessing a population: arrangement of people to speak to, observe, question. Some people may be reluctant to participate. The population must be representative and generalisable. A gatekeeper is a good way to introduce a group of participants. • Sampling: the technique used to select a group of people to participate. Sampling ensures representativeness, generalisability, reliability and validity.
  13. 13. Key terms • Hypothesis: A prediction of the outcome of a study, experiment, interview etc. – Empirical: descriptive, explanatory, predictive. Its provable. (quantitative) – Conceptual: interpretive (qualitative) • Primary research: new original, conducted solely by the researcher. • Secondary research: existing data, has to be trustworthy. • Hawthorn effect: When people respond or act in a certain way, because of their awareness of the experiment, study, observation, interview etc. • Objective: not letting personal opinions and prejudices to enter into the research process. • Subjective: personal and potentially biased.
  14. 14. Key terms • False positive: a response that exaggerates the amount of behaviour that is being studied. • False negative: a response that undervalues the amount of behaviour that is being studied. • Quantitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quantity of something rather than its quality. • Qualitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity. • Ethnographic study: the study of people. • Longitudinal study: capturing data over a long period of time • Methodological plurality: using more than one method to ensure both reliability and validity – Pluralism: use of more than one sociological method in a single study to ensure reliability and validity. – Triangulation: using more than one social research method so that there is some form of check of one against the other. – Pioting: to conduct a small scale version of the research you plan to conduct in order to discover any unanticipated problems that may arise.
  15. 15. Experiments Experiment: we manipulate the independent variable to test the dependant variable whilst trying to control the extraneous variable. – Independent variable: the changeable variable that can be manipulated. – Dependant variable: measurable variable, stays the same. – Extraneous variable: variable may not correlate for anything , variables outside the ones being measured and tested. Something is not an experiment if a variable cannot be manipulated. Types of experiment: • Laboratory- highest control level. • Reaction times • High internal validity • Low external validity • Field- in the natural environment • Can be manipulated (independent variable) • Natural- in the environment. • Independent variable varies naturally (weather)
  16. 16. strengths weaknesses Reliable- it can be repeated, but results may not be exact (laboratory) Field experiment may not be as reliable because social settings change daily can be generalised
  17. 17. Questionnaires & Surveys • Contain open and closed questions written down and passed around to a variety of people, or a target group of people to gain feedback and statistics. • Generally questionnaire data is from closed questions. • They have high reliability. • They are however less useful for collecting qualitative data. • As a method it is seen as lower in validity, compared to interviews or observations. • Likert scale: a scale 1-5 or 1-10 on how strongly you feel about a certain topic. – These are good for numerical answers (quantitative data) • Open ended questions: an answer that can be an opinion of a topic.(qualitative data)
  18. 18. advantages disadvantages You can collect both types of data. Its harder to collect in depth quantitative data It is reliable Answers and limited. Ranking of questionnaires reliability 4 validity 2 geralisability 4 representativeness 1 operationalization 2 objectivity 3 subjectivity 3
  19. 19. Interviews • A method favoured by interpretive sociologists, because apart from structured interviews they tend to yield qualitative data. • Seen to generate highly valid data. • Seen as a method, to be lower in reliability compared to questionnaires. Types of interview: • Structured interview: similar to a questionnaire, no diversions/ extra evaluation is considered. – Every question is answered. – Clarification can be given. – Miss-understanding is minimised. • Semi-structured interviews: an interview that starts from a list of questions but then allows for diversity. • Unstructured interviews: interviews that have a general topic but have no structured questions to ask.
  20. 20. Type of Interview advantages disadvantages Interviews in • Opinionated answers • Can be recorded for further general used • Allows for a lot of qualitative data. • Not generalizable • Note taking may miss vital information. Unstructured interviews • Allows for more information and opinions • Going off on tangents may lead to you getting vital information you didn’t consider asking. • Less valid • Not all information you may have needed to be answered is. • Hard to compare if different questions are asked. Semi-structured interviews • Important questions wont be forgotten. • You may come across more question to ask in further interviews. • Irrelevant data. Structured interviews • You collect only the information you require. • The risk of the interviewee, or even the interviewer is minimised. • More quantitative • No as valid.
  21. 21. Observations • Covert: undercover observations, the group doesn’t know they are being observed. • Overt: the group knows they are being observed. • Participant: researchers involved in the observations. • Non-participant: researchers not taking part. Ranking of observations reliability 3 validity 5 geralizability 3 representativeness 3 operationalization 4 objectivity 2 subjectivity 5
  22. 22. Type of observation advantages disadvantages covert • Reliable • valid • unethical overt • Its ethical • The researcher may influence people to act differently when they know what they are being observed for. participant • Increases validity • Allows researcher to investigate deviant groups • Participants may be influenced to act differently. Non-participant • Without the researcher being involved the participants wont act any differently • Less valid • Less reliable
  23. 23. Secondary research A document: Personal: • Letters • Diaries • Autobiographies • Memories • Suicide notes Official: • School records • Social work records Mass media: • Newspapers broadsheets • Tabloids • News (TV) • radio 1. Content analysis • Systematically analysing communication e.g. how many times someone used a certain word in an interview and how many articles in a newspaper are about murder. 2. Qualitative interpretation • Simply reading a persons documents to create an idea of the persons life and opinions. Advantages Disadvantages Documents give you a lot of detail about a certain area. If the documents are old they may be hard to understand. Cheaper and easier than primary research. Could be issues with fake documents or letters. A good place to start research. Over exaggeration of the media. Could be difficult to interpret or compare qualitative data.
  24. 24. Official statistics • Produced by local governments, central government and government agencies such as the police. Two types of statistics: • HARD • Can not manipulate • Birth marriages etc.. • SOFT • Can manipulate • Poverty • Crime • unemployment Examples: • British crime survey questionnaire. • Census (fill in a form by law every 10 years) Non-official statistics: • TV ratings • Surveys set out by interest groups. • Surveys carried out by sociologists.
  25. 25. Official statistics advantages disadvantages Easy to obtain Some people have ulterior motives, (e.g. providing how bad gun crime is in the UK and then only looking at poor areas.) Hard stats are objective and easy to analyse Soft statistics can be manipulated to suit the needs of the researcher. Secondary data advantages disadvantages Quick and easy Exciting data might not be valid or reliable. You are stuck with the way research was originally done. Can easily compare secondary data Documents may not be authentic. Can compare past and present Official stats could be biased Don’t have to worry about informed consent. Might not be able to find the information you need in existing data Your values can get in the way of how you interpret that data.
  26. 26. Interpretivism & positivism interpretivism positivism take the view that since human beings think and reflect, scientific methods are inappropriate for the study of society sociology can and should use the methods of the natural sciences human beings can change their behaviour if they know they are being observed. So interpretivists argue that if we want to understand social action, we have to delve into the reasons and meanings which that action has for people. believe that sociologists should use quantitative methods and aim to identify and measure social structures e.g. crime statistics, unreliability. interpretivist would argue that sociologists need to understand what people mean by crime, how they come to categorize certain actions as ‘criminal’ and then investigate who comes to be seen as criminal in a particular society. e.g.Durkheim’s study of suicide.
  27. 27. Content Analysis • A mythology in the social sciences for studying the content of communication. Quantitative content analysis: – Word frequencies – Space measurements – Time counts – Key-word frequencies – Time counts – Keyword, frequencies
  28. 28. Content analysis test. • Hypothesis: I predict that a tabloid (Daily Express) will have more photographs, and that a broadsheet (The Times) with have more Colum inches. • Sampling frame: The times and The Daily Express, Friday 7th 2014 news's papers, comparison. Number of photographs compared to column inches. The Daily Express (8 articles on crime) Photographs Column inches 1 14 0 14 3 6 1 6 1 1.5 3 5 2 20 1 4.7 The Times(16 articles on crime) Photographs Column inches 3 31 3 38 1 12.5 2 14.5 0 9 3 4 0 9.5 1 8 1 12 1 7 2 18.5 2 41 1 33 1 29 1 10 1 30
  29. 29. Contrast of photographs compared to column inches in The Daily Express 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 photo's column inches Contrast of photographs compared to column inches in The Times 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 photo's Column inches 1 2 DE Photographs Times 1 2 Times DE Column inches
  30. 30. Conclusions • Overall my hypothesis was accurate, there were 0.1 more photographs on average in The Daily express, and 10.3 more column inches in The Times than the Daily Express on average. • If I were to repeat this content analysis I would compare more than 1 broadsheet to more than 1 tabloid, and do it over a weeks worth of papers to make my findings more accurate, reliable and valid. • If I were to take out this new content analysis I would expect to find still that tabloids have more photos but by a more significant amount that 0.1 on average more photographs.
  31. 31. Language codes experiment
  32. 32. Bernstein • Bernstein made a significant contribution to the study of communication with his sociolinguistic theory of language codes e.g. elaborated and restricted codes. • Bernstein’s theory shows how the language people use in everyday conversation both reflects and shapes the assumptions of a certain social group. Furthermore, relationships established within the social group affect the way that group uses language, and the type of speech that is used. • As an educator, he was interested in accounting for the relatively poor performance of working-class students in language-based subjects, when they were achieving scores as high as their middle-class counterparts on mathematical topics. In his theory, Bernstein asserts a direct relationship between societal class and language. • The restricted code is suitable for insiders who share assumptions and understanding on the topic, whereas the elaborated code does not assume that the listener shares these assumptions or understandings, and thus elaborated code is more explicit, more thorough, and does not require the listener to read between the lines. • Restricted: Within the restricted code, speakers draw on background knowledge and shared understanding. This type of code creates a sense of includedness, a feeling of belonging to a certain group. Restricted codes can be found among friends and families and other intimately knit groups. • Elaborated: the elaborated code spells everything out, not because it is better, but because it is necessary so that everyone can understand it. It has to elaborate because the circumstances do not allow the speaker to condense.” The elaborated code works well in situations where there is no prior or shared understanding and knowledge, where more thorough explanation is required. If one is saying something new to someone they’ve never met before, they would most certainly communicate in elaborated code.
  33. 33. Ruqaiya Hasan: (Bernstein's study repeated, with variations) • extended empirical examination of Bernstein's code theory. A 10 year project conducted at Macquarie University. He collected data from every day contexts of interaction between mothers and children from two socially separated locations. 1. families from higher autonomy professionals 2. lower autonomy professionals. Hasan found significant differences in the ways these families interacted, across social class lines there were major differences in how mothers and young children from working class vs middle class families framed questions and answers, commands and requests, and grounds and reasons in casual conversation in normal settings. And second, it showed that the usual mode of teachers’ talk with these children was if anything an exaggerated version of the typical middle-class ways of meaning.
  34. 34. Our experiment plan • Who? A mixed ability class of year 7 students. • When? During the school day on Monday 17th March. • Where? Away from other students, to observe and record data separately per child, room 112 (Textiles). • What? Observe and record data on how year 7 students explain things, whether they use elaborated or restricted code to explain 2 photographs to someone who has not seen the photograph and to the experimenter who has seen the photo before. • How? Observation, Recording and table to state whether the child is an elaborated or resrticted speaker.
  35. 35. Research Ethics Proposal Research Ethics Proposal Researcher Name: Miss Zoe Dobson Researcher’s Email: zoefrances1@yahoo.com Tittle of Research/ Experiment: Restricted and elaborated codes amongst mixed ability children. Supervisor Name/ Teacher: Mr P Shields Rationale for Research: The Research is to experiment restricted and elaborated codes amongst a mixed ability group of year 7’s (11-12 in age). The research will repeat a similar experiment to the Sociologist Bernstein however much more ethical, and valid as the group shall be much larger. The group will also be mixed ability to rule out any common results amongst the top sets or low sets in a class. And the Study is not about class but about how children communicate. Main Research Questions: children will be asked some background information first; this will not include their name so child’s name is not exploited. Age SATS Results Then 2 photographs shall be shown to the child (all sensible everyday situations, nothing inappropriate e.g. NO violence of sexual references). There shall be 2 rounds. Round 1 the researcher will explain that they have seen the photograph before, and then the child is asked to describe what happened or is happening in the photograph to the experimenter/ researcher. Round 2 the researcher hasn’t seen before and so the child is then asked to do the same and describe the photograph, to see if description type changes. A tally will then be taken on whether the child describes to the researcher in a restricted or elaborated code. Hypothesis: It’s expected that children of the age tested, 11-12, will more commonly use the restricted code in everyday conversations, but perhaps more elaborated whilst communicating with teachers and elders they may not know that well. During the experiment my hypothesis is that children will more commonly use restricted code with the researcher if the researcher explains they have seen the image before, however use a more elaborated vocabulary when they know the researcher hasn’t seen the picture. This may not be the case and we may find that children do not use elaborated at all at such a youthful age. Participants: Five male’s and five females of mixed ability, from a variety of English maths and science sets to make the research generalizable. They will be year 7 students from Bitterne Park Secondary School ages 11-12. Procedure: Student 1-1 with researcher. Round 1: a general comic strip photograph/ drawing of an everyday situation/ scene of people the student will be told that researcher/ I will have seen the photograph. Round 2: a general comic strip photograph/ drawing of an everyday situation/ scene of people I will have not seen this and the student will be made aware of that, to see if description changes. Date Analysis: Data will be taken and recorded in a table with notes attached for each student. The researcher will be observing as well as taking quantitative data. Notes and recordings will be written on what the children say. The table will have criteria such as whether they use restricted or elaborated codes, whether they use pronouns and how well overall they describe the. Elaborated students will describe in much detail, perhaps describing people clothing, exactly how many figures there are in the image as well as what the people are actually doing in the image. Restricted code students will just explain the general image; use filling words such as ‘like’ and ‘you know what I mean’ and use many pronouns. Sample: the sample of students is partly convenience sampling, being a group of year sevens that are available at the time, but it is also random because any mixed ability group could have been chosen to demonstrate language codes among year seven students. Disadvantages: Because a consent form has been sent out we are restricted to who will return the consent form. People who accept and who do not may affect results as there may be a correlation between language codes and organisation or opinion of research. Completing the research on just 11-12 year old is not going to give a real generalizable and valid result. If the research was larger we could take a random sample from each year group from play school age, when children are educated enough to explain an image to a researcher, up to 18 year olds, just before adulthood, this will give a more generalizable population to represent language codes amongst children. However being a student it is not accessible to do this, it would be time consuming and there would be a cost. A disadvantage to children will be 5 minutes out of class, for something that is not advantaging them. Debriefing: Students names will not be asked for or published during this research, also students will be notified on their right to withdraw from the 1-1 interview at any time if they feel uncomfortable or no longer want to continue for any reason. Consent forms: A consent form has been put together for parents/ carers and the student to sign and hand back to me at school/ college. The consent form has a brief overview of the research and reassures parents that their children will not be exposed or revealed because of results. Parents will also be informed that a fully qualified CIB checked teacher will be around observing at all times.
  36. 36. Consent form Consent Form (A2 sociology Study participant) Dear Sir or Madam, Your Son or daughter has volunteered to participate in a year 13 A2 Sociology study. The study will be supervised by Mr Shields (Sociology teacher). Your child will be required to describe a particular given situation to discover whether there are any variations of description between each student. Each child has the right for withdrawal if they wish to discontinue with the study. All transcripts from the study will remain anonymous and will be locked away after use. The study will last for approximately 5 minutes within school time, during an art & Design lesson. Sincerely Miss Zoe F Dobson & Miss Satveer K Rathore ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………................ I give ………………………… permission to take part in the study Parent signature……………………………………………………………………… Student signature……………………………………………………………………. Students SATS results: (For data analysis purposes) Maths……………………………………………… English………………………………………...
  37. 37. Protocol • Where? 112 Textiles room, with teacher present, Mrs Earnsure. The room is only down the hall from their class room. Teacher will send students by consent form one at a time to the room. • When? Period one Monday 17th March • How? Take students out of lesson one by one and have a 1-1 with researcher to ask the questions. • When entering the room (Debrief): Students will be welcomed and made to feel comfortable, and reminded that they have the right to leave at any point during the 1-1, they will also be asked if they would mind us recording there voice for a benefit, and that it will be deleted one report is finished. • While in the room: • Round one: Student will be asked kindly to describe both pictures and the video to the researcher, and will be told that I the researcher has seen the clips and pictures. • Round two: Student will be asked kindly to describe both pictures and the video to the researcher and will told that I the researcher has not seen these pictures and clip before. • When leaving: Say thank you for taking part, and let them make their way back to class.
  38. 38. What we are showing students Round 1: seen Round 2 : have not seen
  39. 39. Student SATS English SATS Maths Round 1 notes Round 2 notes Restricted or elaborated 1 3 3 R R R 2 4 5 R/E R R 3 4 4 R R R 4 5 5 R R R 5 6 6 R R R 6 5 6 R/E E E 7 6 5 E E E 8 5 4 R R R 9 5 5 R/E E E 10 3 4 R R R
  40. 40. Results: • 3/10 students used elaborated code. • 0/5 boys used elaborated code. • 3/5 girls used elaborated code • 3/10 students used a mixture of both codes in the first round. • within the sample girls got higher SATS results in English compared to boys, perhaps this is why the girls used elaborated code more than boys. • Students that used elaborated codes got above a level 5 in both English and maths. • The highest achieving boy in the sample however, with x2 level 6 used restricted code.
  41. 41. 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Overall number of students code. restricted elaborated number of students Overall, a majority of the students used restricted codes. One boy used a mixture of elaborated and restricted, but overall restricted and 3 girls used elaborated code. All 3 girls who used elaborated codes got at least a level 5 in there SATS for both English and maths. My hypothesis was correct, Students were less broad with their explanations of the first image, knowing we could see it, however all students improved in their language codes in the second round.
  42. 42. Limitations • To Improve this experiment/ Research I would use a large, random sample. Using only 5 boys and 5 girls meant that results may not represent all 11-12 year olds language codes. • I do believe that comparing language codes between the genders in this research is invalid because the sample is so small, I may just have boys of the same attainment range or girls. • Not all of the classes consent form were handed back so the study was based conveniently and reliably on who has consent, this may affect the result because perhaps a correlation could be made between the organised student who remembered there slips/ were allowed consent. Also to further my enquiry into language codes I would use a variety of ages, from 5-18 to represent children and perhaps from 18-64 for adults and then also to get a generational view of the evolution of language code get a random sample of 65-90 year old to represent the elderly.