Sociology Research Methods Revision Notes

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The distinction between Primary and Secondary Data, and between Quantitative and Qualitative Data.| Primary Data: Data collected by the researcher 1. Surveys- Questionnaires or Interviews = Quantitative Data 2. Observations- Participant and Non-Participant Observation = Qualitative DataSecondary Data: Refers to data that is already available to sociologists 1. Official Statistics = Quantitative Data 2. Personal Letters and Diaries = Qualitative Data 3. Media- TV/Newspapers/Radio/ Internet = Qualitative 4. Historical documents = Quantitative & QualitativeQuantitative Data: Liked by PositivistsQuantitative data is anything that can be expressed in statistical or number from or can be measured in some way e.g. length, weight, height, volume, time, temperature. Quantitative data is usually gathered by surveys/questionnaires or by official statistics. Qualitative Data: Liked by InterpretivistsQualitative data is information which is concerned with meaning. For example, diary accounts, open-ended questionnaires, unstructured interviews and participant observations.| Sources of data, including Questionnaires, Interviews, Participant and non-participant observations, Experiments, Documents and Official Statistics – Strengths and Limitations of these sources.The relationship between Positivism and Interpretivism and sociological methods – the nature of social facts| Questionnaires: Advantages: 1. Can reach large sample 2. Personal influence of researcher in sight 3. Produces Quantitative, reliable and representative data.Dis- advantages: 1. Response rates may be low 2. Answers may be incomplete 3. Data may not be valid or even truthful 4. Cannot be sure who completed the questionnaire 5. Limits possible answers the participants can giveStructured Interviews:Advantages: 1. Higher response rates 2. Can ‘probe’ the participants responses by asking follow-up questions 3. Can assess truthfulness of...
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