Revision Notes on Research Methods for Studying Society

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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.) is likely to be useful.

How Do Sociologists Collect And Analyse Data And Evaluate Their Research?

Generalisation - …are general statements and conclusions that apply to the whole population, not just the sample.

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Representative - …is when the sample used is typical of the population in general.

Data Collection

Once a researcher has carried out a pilot study, made any necessary changes to it and selected a sample, he or she is ready to begin the process of gathering data. Data can be collected by using one or more methods from a range of research methods such as questionnaires, interviews and observations. When data is collected by doing research in this way, it is known as primary data.

Primary data is information that is generated and collected first hand by the researcher using ...

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