Pre Release Answer for 2012 as Sociology Exam

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Sociology Pre-release 2012
Using the pre-release material and your wider sociological knowledge, explain and evaluate the use of qualitative methods (ethnography/ semi-structured interviews/ observation) to research the values of young working class males. Within Nayak’s study he used ethnographic methods such as observation and semi-structured interviews. The aim of ethnographic research is to get close to the people being studied so that the researcher can experience the social world in the same ways. If this is successful then verstehen can be achieved. One method used is observation. There is non-participant observation and participant observation. Non- participant observation is where the sociologist simply observes the group but does not seek to join in their activities. Participant observation is where the sociologist joins a group of people and studies their behaviour. Nayak used participant observation for his research into values of young working class males. He observed his target population around the run around estate near one of the schools, and also observed some during nights out in the city centre. The other method Nayak used was semi-structured interviews. These contain some pre-set standardised questions as well as the opportunity for additional questions to be asked when necessary. The questions are mostly open and are a lot more structured than unstructured interviews. Nayak used semi-structured interviews in both schools to try and gain a better understanding. They took place in the school setting, with small groups of boys. These interviews helped gain qualitative data. This piece of research that Nayak produced can be seen as high in validity. Validity is the extent to which the research provides a true picture of the social reality of those being studied. So in Nayak’s study the validity is based on whether he provided a full picture of the lives of the ‘Charvers’ and ‘Real Geordies’. Naka’s study is high in validity as the students who...
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