The main factors that influence a sociologist’s choice of research method depend on two different theoretical approaches to the study of society; positivism and interpretivism. Positivism is an approach in sociology that believes society can be studied using similar scientific techniques to those used in the natural sciences, such as physics, biology and chemistry. Interpretivism is an approach emphasizing that people have consciousness involving personal beliefs, values and interpretations that influence the way they act and that they do not simply respond to forces outside them.
These two theoretical approaches often use different research methods because they have different assumptions about the nature of society, this influences the type of data they are interested in collecting. Practicality, ethics, theory and subject of study also contribute to the methods used for research. There are various methods sociologists use to carry out a research on society. The two common forms are quantitative and qualitative research methods. I will begin by analysing the meanings behind the words, qualitative and quantitative.
Quantitative methods are used by people that support the use of scientific investigation, it usually includes numerical statistical methods; the purpose is to expand and utilize mathematical techniques, conjecture and hypothesis. In contrast to this the qualitative research method. This is usually used by sociologists that support the use of humanistic research. It differs from quantitative methods in the sense that, qualitative research methods depend on specific reasons behind the way some people in society behave.
Business researchers utilize various forms of approaches to analyze and obtain information and data, and two of the most popular approaches used are the qualitative research approach and quantitative research approach. Each approach can be beneficial or in some cases may cause inconclusive results depending on the type of research being conducted and what the nature of the study is. The following ...
Using the qualitative method however, they are prone to ask questions like, ‘why? or ‘how? ’ compared to the quantitative data which would more likely ask straight forward questions like, ‘what? ’ or ‘where’. In qualitative methods the research usually focuses on small samples instead, unlike quantitative research on the other hand, focus lacks and the methods usually inhabits a large, random sample. Unlike a quantitative method where the research depends restrictedly on the investigation of arithmetical or quantifiable statistics, data from qualitative research comes in many medium e. g. moving images, text or sound.
Qualitative research was first recognised in the 1970s. Examples of Qualitative data are participant observation, direct observation, unstructured interviews, case studies etc. Examples of Quantitative data are questionnaires, surveys, attitude scales or standardised tests. They are practical issues that affect the methods sociologist may use. These can come from a range of financial issues to ethical issues.
* Coaching Interviewers is comparatively clear-cut and economical however it cost more to merely redistributing questionnaire to people. Surveys that resort to structured interviews can cover great group of people with restricted resources because they are moderately cheap to administer however they cannot match the huge numbers reached by postal questionnaire. * Questionnaire and interviews collect straight forward factual information * Questionnaire results are quantitative because they are closed-ended questions with coded answers. This makes them suitable for hypothesis- testing. Sometimes there are specific factors could cause problems amongst certain research methods.
Assess the position that in sociological research quantitative research methods are superior to qualitative research methods. Sociologists have a number of different types of research that can be used to acquire data. They can be traced back to Max Weber (1864) regarded as the founder of interpretivism, was opposed to the idea that human behavior is exactly quantifiable. Human behavior is based on ...
Such as: * Time – Questionnaires would be more time consuming while the workload of surveys can be shared by a team * Money -researchers need an income and costs large scale. Social surveys are more high-priced than small focus groups. * Characteristics and skills of the research some situations may be risky and not all sociologist could cope handle this, a woman may have difficulty doing P. O in a monastery access and opportunity. If there is no access to certain groups then secondary sources may have to be used as an alternative.
An example of this is when you get researchers hoping to cover a survey on a specific gang or cult. This could be dangerous especially if that gang may have a record of crime and callous behaviour. The researcher may find it really hard if not impossible to get access into the gang or cult; and if he was to get access he could be in immense trouble especially if he went under cover. * Some issues include ethical issues, sometimes certain research is taken on an undercover basis. This could be seen as illusory.
Some people would argue that researchers should be 100% honest with the people they are researching on, it is only ethical, moral and honest that this form of sincerity is shown amongst whom the research is based on nevertheless when doing a research as an undercover researcher the questions of ethics arises. Is it morally correct that someone should be studied and researched on without consent or acknowledgement of such thing? The law is that undercover research can only be approved as long as there is no other alternative that is available.
Posivists like their research to be scientific whereas Interprevists like to get into the shoes and go through the situation. Feminists, Ann Oakley decides her choice of methods and topic according to her own experience of childhood and motherhood. As a feminist she avoided methods which she described as having a male-stream bias (positivism).
She selected the more qualitative and intimate methods of unstructured interviews and participant observation. She deems that the commission of sociology is to include the lives of the respondents.
19 April 2002 GANG INTELLIGENCE METHODS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT The American headlines of any large city will site killings on street corners, robberies, assaults, intimidation, and drug interaction. While not all-criminal activity is associated with gangs, the 780, 000 strong members do account for a large majority of the problems that are plaguing America. There is no one-way to stop gang activity in ...