Research Methods in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology

Topics: Sociology, Scientific method, Research methods Pages: 4 (1382 words) Published: November 6, 2014
Research Methods in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology

Social Science is the study of human nature and social relationships. Sociology is the study of human social behavior whereas Cultural Anthropology studies human cultures. Sociology and Cultural Anthropology rely upon specific investigational methods. Here we will discuss several of those methods. Two research methods used in Sociology are Longitudinal Studies and Cross Sectional Studies. In Longitudinal Studies the same subjects are tested or observed over a period of time. The same data is collected at each new observation and then combined at the end of the study. These studies that span over a period of years to decades, have the capability to allow collection of a large amount of data over time. Having this additional data can help prove or disprove hypothesis related to changes in the data over time. In Cross Sectional Studies, scientists study a group of individuals with similar traits or characteristics in one observation, at a single time. This method provides immediate data to analyze. The downside of a Cross Sectional Study is that there is not much data collected that can show cause and effect. Longitudinal Studies are a form of observational study, where no manipulation of the study or subjects takes place. There are both positives and negatives to the Longitudinal Study. One of the positives, as mentioned earlier, is the study’s ability to collect large amounts of data. This data can be used to prove or disprove a hypothesis related to change over time. For example, the longest running longitudinal study is Terman's little geniuses, this study has spanned well over 75 years. IN 1921, Dr. Lewis M. Terman, a Stanford University psychologist and a pioneer of the I.Q. test, scoured California's schools to identify 1,521 children who scored 135 or over on his new intelligence test, the Stanford-Binet. Additional interviews were conducted every 5 to 10 years on each of the study participants....
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