AQA AS Research Method Keywords

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  • Created by: holly
  • Created on: 12-05-13 18:02
where the views of the researchers affect the research
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Causal relationship
where there is a relationship between two social events with one causing the other
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a statistical relationship between things. It doesn't necessarily mean that one causes the other
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the info uncovered by research
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if the group sociologists chose to study are representative of the population as a whole, then they will be able to make generalizations about the whole society.
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the process of undertaking research using the appropriate sociological methods
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quality achieved when a researchers values do not affect their work
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Primary data
information obtained directly by the sociologist
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Qualitative data
info from a range of sources which are not statistical such as observation.
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Quantitative data
statistical info
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quality of repeatability; it would produce the same results if it were repeated by a different sociologist
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situation where the people sociologists study are a cross section of the group they wish to generalize about
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Secondary data
info obtained from sources originally collected by someone other than the researcher conducting the research
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Sociological theory (Theorizing)
an explanation of how different parts of society or different events relate to one another
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the extent to which data give a true picture of the subject being studied
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Bottom-up Theories (Micro)
sociological theories that analyse society by studying the ways in which individuals interpret the world
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Ethical Issues
moral concerns about the benefits and potential harm of research to the people being researched, to researchers and to society
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Feminist Sociology
an approach within sociology that concerns itself with studying the way in which women are oppressed by men
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an approach within society that stresses society is based on a general agreement of values
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Interpretive sociology
an approach favouring the sue of qualitative methods, such as participant observation, that allow the researcher to see the world from the same perspective as those being studied
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Marxist sociology
an approach within sociology that stresses the exploitation of the majority of the population by a small and powerful 'ruling class'
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the oppression of women by men
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the view that sociology should try to use more 'scientific approaches'
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Qualitative methods
participant observation, methods that produce primarily written data and allow the researcher to see things from the same perspective as those being studied
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Qualitative methods
methods, such as questionnaires that produce primarily statistical data
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Top-down theories (Macro)
sociological theories that believe it is important to look at society as a whole when studying it
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term often used to describe the use of multiple methods in research.
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Case study
a highly detailed study of 1 or 2 social situations or groups
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Cluster sampling
the researcher selects a series of different places and then chooses the sample at random within the cluster of people within these areas
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Comparative method
a comparison across countries or cultures; sociology's version of an experiment
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Cross-sectional survey
a survey conducted at 1 time with no attempt to follow up the people surveyed over a longer time
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a highly controlled situation where the researchers try to isolate the influence of each variable. rarely used.
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Field experiment
an experiment undertaken in a community rather than a controlled environment
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Longitudinal survey
a survey carried out over a considerable number of years on the same group of people
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Pilot survey
a small-scale survey carried out before the main one to iron out any problems
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the belief that the methods of the natural sciences are best suited to the study of society. positivists prefer to use statistics
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Quota sampling
where a representative sample of the population is chosen using known characteristics of the population
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Random sampling
where a representative sample of the population is chosen by entirely random methods
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a sample in representative if it is an accurate cross section of the whole population being studied
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Sampling Frame
a list used as the source for a random sample
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Snowball sampling
where a sample is obtained using a series of personal contacts. usually used for the study of deviant behaviour
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Stratified sampling
where the population under study is divided according to known criteria such as sex and age, in order to make the sample more representative
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Systematic Sampling
where every nth name on a list is chosen
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Theoretical sampling
where an untypical sample of the population is chosen to illustrate a particular theory
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Covert observation
where the sociologist doesn't admit to being a researcher
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describes the work of anthropologists who study simple small-scale societies by living with the people and observing their daily lives.
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Field diary
a detailed record of events, conversations and thoughts kept up by participant observers, written up as often as possible
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person who can allow a researcher access to an individual, group or event
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Non-participant observation
where the sociologist simply observes the group but doesn't seek to join in their activities
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Open Questions
allow respondents to express themselves fully
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Participant observation
where the sociologist joins a group of people and studies their behaviour
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Qualitative research
a general term for approaches to research that are less interested in collecting statistical data and more interested in observing & interpreting the ways in which people behave
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Overt observation
where the sociologist is open about the research role
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Closed questions
require a very specific reply (Yes/No)
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questionnaire replies are given a number or code making it easier for the researcher to construct statistics from them
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something easily measurable that can stand for a particular concept
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Interviewer bias
the influence of the interviewer on the way the respondent replies
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Open questions
allow respondents to express themselves fully
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Operationalizing concepts
the process of defining concepts in a way which makes them measurable
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quality achieved when all questionnaires and interviews have been completed consistently. data gathered from each can be accurately compared
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Response rate
the proportion of the questionnaires returned
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Structured interview
where the questions are delivered in a particular order and no explanation or elaboration of the questions is allowed by the interviewer
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the process of writing up interviews that have been recorded
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Unstructured interview
where the interviewer is allowed to explain and elaborate on questions
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quality achieved when questions provide an accurate measurement of the concept being investigated
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where the material reflects a particular viewpoint to the exclusion of others, this may give a false impression of what happened and is a particularly important problem for secondary sources
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Content analysis
exploring the contents of the various media in order to find out how a particular issue is presented
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Literature Search
the process whereby a researcher finds as much published material as possible on the subject of interest
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a secondary analysis using all or most of the published information on a particular topic
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Secondary data
data already collected by someone else for their own purposes
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Card 2


where there is a relationship between two social events with one causing the other


Causal relationship

Card 3


a statistical relationship between things. It doesn't necessarily mean that one causes the other


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Card 4


the info uncovered by research


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Card 5


if the group sociologists chose to study are representative of the population as a whole, then they will be able to make generalizations about the whole society.


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