Topics: Sociology, Scientific method, Observation Pages: 1 (696 words) Published: October 27, 2014

Sociologists have a variety of methods to collect data for studying social institutions. Some of these methods are surveys, experiments, and participant observation. One of the methods to collect data are surveys, and it is used to focus on the population of who they are studying. Surveys contain a series of questionnaires in which the respondent taking the survey must answer either by interviews or by just answering the questions. To carry out this method the researcher needs a sample of respondents, which is a portion of the population that represents the population as a whole. Instead of having researchers study a large number of respondents, they focus on acquiring a small portion of the population to later represent the whole population. Another method used to collect data are experiments. “An experiments is a procedure for studying the relation between two or more variables under controlled conditions” (Curry 35). This type of method usually conducts an investigation of cause and effect. The researchers test the hypotheses to experiment why certain things happen and to see the relationship between the two variables. Participant Observation is also a method used by sociologists to study social institutions and this method will be explained further more into detail. Participant observation is used to study and gain in-depth information of the participants (Curry 37). This method consists of researchers observing the participants’ everyday routine and engaging in their everyday activities. The researchers also analyze their behavior while they are being observed and this can have an advantage because the participants who are being studied might reveal how their behavior changes when they are alone or when people surround them. Most of the time participant observations takes place in social settings where a researcher can choose a variety of people to study. The people can range from young children, young adults, adults, the elderly or groups of poeple....
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