Two broad research methods commonly used in sociology and cultural anthropology are qualitative and quantitative. Researchers from almost every field utilize these two data-collection methods while conducting research. These methods include interviews, group observations, surveys, and census taking. These methods will produce efficient, realistic, logical, and thorough outcomes. A qualitative method used in sociology is participant observation. These subjective observations will focus on an interpretive approach on describing a situation and or a detailed look of a group’s day by day activities, history, personal accounts, and similarities. The result of this method of research communicates a through and detailed description and observation and is more in depth than doing interviews and or surveys. But the findings could be tainted by the researcher’s bias. ("Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology," 2011) A social survey is a quantitative method that uses objective statistical data. It is a more scientific-style form of research that results in information with correlations and trends. This information can go out to larger groups in forms of questionnaires, and its data can be used to make comparisons between different groups, but the response rate could be low. ("Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods," 2011)
Sociological researchers will base their work on single or multiple philosophical justifications depending on what research methods are valid for the study that is being conducted. Participant observation is more of a naturalistic subjective approach. Its data sources are similar to fieldwork and include observations and interviews, along with the reactions and impressions of the researcher. This research is presented in a descriptive narration in an attempt to make a better understanding of an interaction of commonly shaping influences and hypotheses and theories that can be changed and developed during the observation process. It uses multiple realities about the world to understand social situations from the perspectives of participants that are inductive in nature. The researcher participates and will immerse themselves in the social setting and is considered a primary mechanism of the data collection and its analysis. They try to collect their data in a non-interfering manner and study real life situations as they unfold naturally without using any conditions or restraints that would change the study and its outcomes. This type of research can be time consuming and often difficult to replicate. Its success depends largely on the relationships that develop between the group’s participants and the researchers. ("Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology," 2011
Like sociology, anthropology uses the qualitative method of participant observation. The anthropologist will not only observe the culture that they have immersed themselves in but they will also participate in the group’s culture. They feel that the researcher cannot fully understand another culture just by observing it; they must also experience it by living within a culture for an extended period of time. Observations could last anywhere from months to several years or even generations. Participant observation and participation will develop a deeper trusting rapport resulting in a better understanding and a more in depth gathering of information. It attempts to understand a group’s culture by understanding why people do what they do. ("Anthropology Research Techniques," 2011)
Cross-cultural comparative studies will use field data from many different cultures. It will use a large amount of statistical data that can be used to form a hypothesis and make correlations about different relationships and or shared traits within cultures. Using data from several cultures will result in a wider range of complexity in cultural evolution. These studies are more objective due to the person that has done the field studies and the one that is making...
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