Practical Issues Are the Most Important -Sociology

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Examine the extent to which practical issues are the most important influence when selecting research methods and a research topic (20 marks) Practical issues are considered to be of most importance when choosing what research method to use. Different methods require different amounts of time and money which may influence the sociologist’s choice as large-scale surveys have to employ dozens of interviewers and staff costing a lot of money where as a small-scale project involving a lone researcher may be cheaper to carry out however, this then may take more time. The funding of research comes from institutes, businesses and other organisations requiring quantitative data to be produced, this means that the method used will have to be capable of producing such data such as questionnaires or structured interviews. Sociologists require different personal skills which may affect their ability to use different methods as participant observation usually requires the ability to mix easily with others, observation and recall skills whereas interviews require the sociologist to establish a rapport with the interviewee. Not all sociologists may have these qualities or skills so may have difficulty using certain methods. Another practical issue is subject matter as it may be much harder to study a particular group or subject by one method than another .Research opportunity can be an issue as sometimes to opportunity to carry out research occurs unexpectedly meaning that it may not be possible to use structured methods such as questionnaires which would take longer to prepare whereas in other circumstances the researcher might have been able to set up the research opportunity carefully beforehand and have plenty of time to select their methods. Before sociologists decide which method to use they need to decide what topic they wish to study, practical factors may affect this choice. A practical issue influencing choice of topic may be the inaccessibility of certain situations...
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