Sociology Research Methods

  1. Qualitative
    Studies and data that is rich in detail and description, usually given in non-numerical data (words) rather than numbers. this allows for meanings and opinions to be explored.
  2. Quantitative
    Studies and data that is numerical and statistical. It is more factual and precise.
  3. Experiment
    A research method involving a carefully designed situation in which the researcher studies the impact of certain variables on subjects’ attitudes or behaviour.
  4. Field research
    The study of social life in its natural setting: observing and interviewing people where they live, work, and play.
  5. Functionalist perspective
    Sociological perspective based on the assumption that society is a stable, orderly system.
  6. Interview
    A research method using a data-collection encounter in which an interviewer asks the respondent questions and records the answers. It can be structured and/or unstructured.
  7. Participant observation
    A research method in which researchers collect systematic observations while being part of the activities of the group they are studying.
  8. Postmodern perspectives
    The sociological approach that attempts to explain social life in modern societies that are characterized by postindustrialization, consumerism, and global communications. It's about choice.
  9. Questionnaire
    A research method containing a series of questions to which subjects respond. They can be open and/or closed.
  10. Reliability
    In sociological research, the extent to which a study or research instrument yields consistent results. It can reproduce similar results it the method was repeated.
  11. Secondary analysis
    A research method in which researchers use existing material and analyse data originally collected by others.
  12. Survey
    A large scale reaseach method aiming to make general statements about a particular population.
  13. Longitudinal Survey
    A survey that is conducted over a period of time on the same group of people.
  14. Pilot
    A testing method carried out before the main one, to iron out any problems.
  15. Primary analysis
    Research methods carried out by the researcher themselves.
  16. Validity
    The extent to which a study or research instrument accurately measures what it is supposed to measure.
  17. Feminist perspectives
    Sociological perspectives that focus on the significance of gender in understanding and explaining inequalities that exist between men and women in the household, in the paid labour force, and in the realms of politics, law, and culture.
  18. Quota Sampling
    Where a representative sample of the population is chosen using known characteristics of the population.
  19. Random Sampling
    Where a representative sample of the population is chosen by entirely random methods.
  20. Sampling Frame
    A list used as the source for a random sample; or in selecting a sample.
  21. Snowball Sampling
    Where a sample is obtained using a series of personal contacts.
  22. Ethical Issues
    This refers to moral concerns about the benefits and potential harm of research - to the people being researched, to the researcher themself, and to society.
  23. Marxist Perspective
    An approach to Sociology that stresses the exploitation of the majority by a small and powerful 'ruling class'.
  24. Top-down Theory
    Macro, structural; believe it is important to look at society as a whole.
  25. Bottom-up Theory
    Micro, interpretive; analyses society by studying the ways in which individuals interpret the world.
  26. Covert Observation
    Where the researcher does not admit to being a researcher.
  27. Overt Observation
    Where the researcher is open about doing research.
  28. Non-Participant Observation
    Where the researcher simply observes the group but does not join in with the activities.
  29. Interviewer Bias
    The influence of the interviewer on the way a respondent replies.
Card Set
Sociology Research Methods
AS Level keywords and questions about methods in Sociology.