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Associations or even friendships that inevitably develop or influence the conclusion of the study.


Surveys. Almost all of us have responded to surveys of one kind or another. A survey is a


study, generally in the form of an interview or a questionnaire, which provides sociologists with


information concerning how people think and act.


Each of these forms has its own advantages. An interview can obtain a high response rate


because people find it more difficult to turn down a personal request for an interview than to


throw away a written questionnaire. On the other hand, questionnaires have the advantage of


being cheaper. Also, since the questions are written, the researcher knows that there is some


guarantee of consistency, whereas five interviewers can ask the same question in five different



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Unobtrusive measures. They include a variety of research techniques that have no impact

On who or what is being studied. Social scientists and students from the University of Arizona

studied people's spending and eating habits by examining household garbage left out on the

Street. This is an unconventional example of the use of unobtrusive measures in social scientific


The basic techniques of unobtrusive measures are the use of statistics and studying cultural,

Economic and political documents, including newspapers, periodicals, radio and television tapes,

Diaries, songs, folklore and legal papers, to name a few examples.

It is important to realize that research designs need not be viewed as mutually exclusive.

Two or more methods used together may be especially informative. For example, unobtrusive

Methods have proved to be valuable as a supplement to other research methods. One investigator

Wished to examine the relationship between reported and actual beer consumption. He obtained

a «front door”measure of consumption by asking residents of houses how much beer they drank

each week. At the same time, a «backdoor» measure was developed by counting the number

Of beer cans in their garbage. This backdoor method produced a considerably higher estimate

Of beer consumption.


Ethics of research. Most sociological research uses people as sources of

Information — as respondents to survey questions, participants in experiments or subjects of

Observation. That is why in conducting research sociologists must abide by the code of ethics

that puts forth the following basic principles:

Maintain objectivity and integrity in research.

2. Respect the subject's right to privacy and dignity.

Protect subjects from personal harm.

Preserve confidentiality.

Acknowledge research collaboration and assistance.

Disclose all sources of financial support.

The ethical considerations of sociologists lie not only in the methods used, but in the way

The results are interpreted. We recognize that sociologists will be influenced by their own

Personal values in selecting questions for research but under no condition can a researcher

Date: 2015-12-24; view: 1551

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