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Examine some of the factors that influence a researchers choice of method (20 Marks)

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Examine some of the factors that influence a researcher?s choice of method (20 Marks) When a sociologist is carrying out research, they must take the following factors into consideration. These are practical, ethical and theoretical factors. These factors must always be used to determine which research methods should be used. If these factors are not met and fully considered before carrying out the research, then it will lead to major problems arising later on in the research. All of these factors must be well balanced and one should not be focused on more than the others. They are all equally important and must be considered when evaluating results found. The practical methods which must be taken into consideration when carrying out research are varying and wide ranging. One of the main factors that is important is funding. The funding limits the scale of research that can be carried out. For example, if a sociologist gains a large amount of funding, they can conduct their research on a large scale and gain a collection of information. Funding can influence the opportunities available to researchers, for example, if a researcher has lots funding, they can use incentives for people to comply with their research. ...read more.


The British Sociologists Association (BSA) have a set of guidelines for which they expect their members to conduct their research within. It fits into the mnemonic DRIPP. D - Deception - Participants should not be misled or lied to about the nature of the research being carried out. * R - Right to withdraw - Participants can withdraw at anytime and have their data withdrawn. * I - Informed consent - Participants should know about the research that is being carried out on them. * P - Protection - Participants should be protected from any physical or emotional harm. * P - Privacy - Personal information should be kept confidential and their identities kept anonymous. If a sociologist does not conform to all of these guidelines, their work is considered unethical and they could be struck off the BSA register. However, some sociologists go against these guidelines. One example of this is D. L. Rosenhan's study in 1973. Even though his research was carried out in America before these guidelines were established, his work was still considered gravely unethical. He persuaded eight mentally 'normal' people to enter different psychiatric hospitals claiming they heard voices in their head. ...read more.


The 'shocks' ranged all the way from 12 volts (a car battery) up to 450 volts (a lethal dosage). Milgram chose this method of positivist research as it was the best way of gathering information in his opinion and position. It would have been hard for him to do this in an Interpretist way as an experiment was the only way to get a true reaction of how people reacted. Before hand he carried out a questionnaire on other Psychology professors who believed only 4% would go to the maximum voltage. In reality, 90% of the test subjects went to full lethal force. His finding in the test proved that different types of research methods must be used as there is not one type that is suitable for all types of research. In conclusion, there are many factors which affect the way sociologists conduct their research. There are many different practical, ethical and theoretical factors which must be taken into consideration before a plan or research is carried out. Throughout, planning and experience are important factors also to consider when choosing a research method in order to gather the best, well founded and valid research results. In my opinion, all aspects must be looked at equally before a research method is chosen. ...read more.

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