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1.4 Doing Research on Social Problems

❶Can August Comte be viewed as the father of sociology?

Sociological Research: Designs, Methods

What Are Some Basic Sociological Concepts?
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What Are Some Examples of Sociological Imagination?

For example, of society determines that it is not ideal to commit adultery and a lot of people are, it fulfills this criteria. A significant portion of the population must define it as a social issue.

If only a small number of people are speaking out against it, then it is not a social issue. There must be a way for society to correct the condition. If there is no way of changing what is happening, it is not a social issue.

Learn more about Social Sciences. Give Examples of Sociological Imagination? One example of sociological imagination is for a person to imagine he is living several hundred years earlier, and how that changes his perspective about p You May Also Like Q: Why Do People Take Risks?

What Are the Different Branches of Humanities? What Are Examples of Invasive Species? What Does Global Village Mean? Several classical social problems studies of this type exist, many of them involving people in urban neighborhoods Liebow, ; Liebow, ; Whyte, In nonparticipant observation, the researcher observes a group of people but does not otherwise interact with them.

If you went to your local shopping mall to observe, say, whether people walking with children looked happier than people without children, you would be engaging in nonparticipant observation. Similar to experiments, observational studies cannot automatically be generalized to other settings or members of the population.

Sometimes sociologists do not gather their own data but instead analyze existing data that someone else has gathered. The US Census Bureau, for example, gathers data on all kinds of areas relevant to the lives of Americans, and many sociologists analyze census data on such social problems as poverty, unemployment, and illness. Sociologists interested in crime and the criminal justice system may analyze data from court records, while medical sociologists often analyze data from patient records at hospitals.

Analysis of existing data such as these is called secondary data analysis. Its advantage to sociologists is that someone else has already spent the time and money to gather the data. A disadvantage is that the data set being analyzed may not contain data on all the topics in which a sociologist may be interested or may contain data on topics that are not measured in ways the sociologist might prefer.

This section began by stressing the need for sound research in the study of social problems. But what are the elements of sound research? At a minimum, such research should follow the rules of the scientific method.

An overriding principle of the scientific method is that research should be conducted as objectively as possible. Researchers are often passionate about their work, but they must take care not to let the findings they expect and even hope to uncover affect how they do their research. This in turn means that they must not conduct their research in a manner that helps achieve the results they expect to find. Such bias can happen unconsciously, and the scientific method helps reduce the potential for this bias as much as possible.

This potential is arguably greater in the social sciences than in the natural and physical sciences. The political views of chemists and physicists typically do not affect how an experiment is performed and how the outcome of the experiment is interpreted. In contrast, researchers in the social sciences, and perhaps particularly in sociology, often have strong feelings about the topics they are studying.

Their social and political beliefs may thus influence how they perform their research on these topics and how they interpret the results of this research. Following the scientific method helps reduce this possible influence. Tell them who I am: The lives of homeless women. The specific deterrent effects of arrest for domestic assault.

American Sociological Review, 49 , — The social structure of an Italian slum. University of Chicago Press. This is a derivative of Social Problems: Continuity and Change by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution, which was originally released and is used under CC BY-NC-SA.

For uses beyond those covered by law or the Creative Commons license, permission to reuse should be sought directly from the copyright owner.

Learning Objectives List the major advantages and disadvantages of surveys, observational studies, and experiments. Explain why scholars who study social problems often rely on existing data. Large surveys are expensive and time consuming. Although much information is gathered, this information is relatively superficial. Experiments If random assignment is used, experiments provide fairly convincing data on cause and effect.

Because experiments do not involve random samples of the population and most often involve college students, their results cannot readily be generalized to the population. Observation field research Observational studies may provide rich, detailed information about the people who are observed. Because observation studies do not involve random samples of the population, their results cannot readily be generalized to the population. Existing data Because existing data have already been gathered, the researcher does not have to spend the time and money to gather data.

The data set that is being analyzed may not contain data on all the variables in which a sociologist is interested or may contain data on variables that are not measured in ways the sociologist prefers. Surveys The survey is the most common method by which sociologists gather their data. Experiments Experiments are the primary form of research in the natural and physical sciences, but in the social sciences they are for the most part found only in psychology.

Observational Studies Observational research, also called field research , is a staple of sociology. Existing Data Sometimes sociologists do not gather their own data but instead analyze existing data that someone else has gathered.

The Scientific Method and Objectivity This section began by stressing the need for sound research in the study of social problems. Key Takeaways The major types of research on social problems include surveys, experiments, observational studies, and the use of existing data. Surveys are the most common method, and the results of surveys of random samples may be generalized to the populations from which the samples come.

Observation studies and existing data are also common methods in social problems research. Observation studies enable the gathering of rich, detailed information, but their results cannot necessarily be generalized beyond the people studied.

Research on social problems should follow the scientific method to yield the most accurate and objective conclusions possible. For Your Review Have you ever been a respondent or subject in any type of sociological or psychological research project?

If so, how did it feel to be studied? Which type of social problems research method sounds most interesting to you? Understanding Social Problems 1. Social Patterns of Poverty 2. Racial and Ethnic Inequality 3. A Historical Prelude 3. Rape and Sexual Assault 4.

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Quick Answer. Sociological issues are issues that a large part of society feel are wrong or problematic. Examples include issues that everyone view as a problem, like murder, and those that some may disagree on, like smoking in public places.

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“Social Problems” is the title of an undergraduate course taught at many colleges; a typical course discusses what is known about a series of conditions considered social problems. In contrast, the sociology of social problems defines social problem differently and .

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A research problem is the main organizing principle guiding the analysis of your paper. The problem under investigation offers us an occasion for writing and a focus that governs what we want to say. It represents the core subject matter of scholarly communication, and the means by which we arrive at other topics of conversations and the discovery of new knowledge and understanding. Sociology Research is a subcategory of Social Sciences Research. Read the description and explore the various fields of sociological research. Study the examples to see what others have done.

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Outline some of the issues of value neutrality in sociology; Introduction to Sociological Research. In the university cafeteria, you set your lunch tray down at a table, grab a chair, join a group of your classmates, and hear the start of two discussions. Main Sociological Research Methods. Sociological research methods have advantages and. Sociology is a comparatively new subject for many students, so choosing sociology essay topics and writing sociology essays can be rather challenging. Keep in mind that sociology is an empirical science, and all sociological papers (including your essay) should be based on thorough research .