Doing Sociological Research

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Doing Sociological Research (37:00)
Item# 40138

This multi-segment program focuses on the world of education as it addresses aspects of how to conduct sociological research. After defining what exactly constitutes research, the video defines the concepts of reliability, validity, and representativeness through a study of social interaction in schools; sheds light on essential ideas in survey research via a study of educational inequalities; considers decision-making and social capital in education while presenting the use of interviews in sociological research; and illustrates ethnography in action as it tracks a study of surveillance in schools using observational methods. Viewable/printable educational resources are available online. A part of the series Understanding Sociology. (37 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (13)

1. Doing Sociological Research: Subjective and Objective Knowledge (02:32)
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Research includes asking questions and observation. Sociological research requires more detail and a more systematic approach than other research and includes both subjective knowledge and objective knowledge.

2. Research Methodology: Reliability (02:30)

Sociologists use criteria as a benchmark to determine how they judge someone and how they evaluate their research. A key criteria used in a sociologist's research includes reliability. Data is considered reliable if similar results are gained by different researchers asking the same questions to similar people.

3. Research Methodology: Validity (01:34)

Validity is a key criteria used to determine a sociologist's research method and refers to the degree to which a study accurately reflects or assesses the specific concept that the researcher is attempting to measure.

4. Research Methodology: Representativeness (02:59)

Representativeness is a key criteria that sociologists use when conducting research. Sociologists use sampling when the information they collect about the smaller group can be applied to a larger group who share the same general characteristics.

5. Sociological Research - Survey Research (02:17)

Sociologists use surveys to help obtain information. Questionnaire methods allow researchers to obtain information from a large population fairly easily.

6. Survey Research: Using Indicators (02:47)

Occupation is one indicator researchers use to determine a person's socio-economic status. Other indicators such as a person's home, cars, and holidays are often used by researchers to determine socio-economic status.

7. Measuring Motivation Using Questionaires (03:15)

Measuring a student's level of motivation allows the researcher to look for correlations between a student's socio-economic background and level of motivation to determine if socio-economic status impacts a student's success.

8. Research by Interview (02:42)

Researchers use interviews to obtain information and can be structured or not. Structured interviews are similar to a postal questionnaire; however, in a structured interview respondents verbally respond to the researcher's questions.

9. Interviews: Asking the Right Questions (02:28)

Interviews can be structured or unstructured and include a set of pre-planned questions; however, the researcher can ask additional questions to obtain more information. Researcher's must establish a rapport with the respondent and must avoid asking leading questions.

10. After the Interview: Analyzing the Data (04:12)

After the interviews are complete the researcher reviews the answers to determine whether of not a common theme exists.

11. Ethnography: Observational Research (02:42)

Ethnography is a form of research focusing on gaining sociological meaning through close field observation.

12. Observational Research: Participant or Non-Participant (02:01)

Observational research can be participant or non-participant. Non-participant research involves observing from afar, whereas, participant observation involves direct interaction between the researcher and the group being studied.

13. Observational Research: The Results of Research (03:41)

Using the observational research method, the researcher is able to determine that Internet abuse was not prevalent in the classroom he was observing.

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