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Revision Notes on Research Methods for Studying Society

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Research Aims and Hypotheses Sociologists ask questions about the social world. When they carry out research, they put these questions in the forms of research aims and hypothesis. Research aim set out what the researcher is planning to investigate and give a clear focus to the study. A hypothesis is a hunch or informed guess. It is usually written as a statement that can be tested and then either supported by the evidence or refuted (proven wrong). Pilot Studies A pilot study is a small scale trial run carried out before the main research. It can save time, money and effort in the long run because the researcher can check whether the chosen research method (interview, questionnaire, etc.) ...read more.


Secondary data is information that already exists and has previously been collected by other people such as Official Statistics collected by the Government, the work of other sociologists and the mass media. Qualitative Data - This type of data is presented verbal form, for example, as words or quotes. This type of data usually consists of word for word accounts from the people being studied. Quantitative Data - This type of data is presented in numerical form, for example as graphs or tables of statistics which count of measure something (such as the responses to a questionnaire question). The Research Process Research can generate large amounts of data, such as interview transcripts and completed questionnaires. ...read more.


There are three main ways of delivering questionnaires; Hand-delivered Questions: the researcher hands the questionnaires out. Formal or structured Interviews: the interviewer reads out the questions from the interview schedule, this can be done face to face or through the phone. Postal Questionnaires: the self-completion questionnaire is mailed or emailed and then sent back to the researcher. Closed or Fixed-choice Questions Respondents choose between a number of given answers often by just ticking the appropriate box in response to a question. Researcher has to be sure to include all possible answers and ensure questions are worded so that the meaning is clear. Do not provide in-depth, detailed information Open-ended Questions Respondents can give their own answer to the question instead of selecting an answer. Responses to this type of question can vary to give deeper understanding. Responses are likely to be very varied so are more difficult to convert into statistics. ...read more.

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