The episode, as I recall, centered on a child who was bullied at school because she had two mothers. In the show, the lawyers discuss research on parenting that was published in the American Sociological Review.
Sometimes we might come across sociological research and not even realize it. Remember our discussion of the Walmart case in Chapter 1 "Introduction"? As you may recall, Professor William Bielby testified as a sociologist on behalf of the plaintiffs in the case. The Walmart case is a great example of sociology playing a role in matters of everyday life even when we may not realize it.
Sociologists have participated as expert witnesses in numerous other cases as well. As a sociologist who studies workplace harassment, I was once called upon to offer the sociological perspective in sexual harassment suit. Sociologists as expert witnesses in the criminal justice system. In addition to offering their expert testimony in court cases and law suits, sociologists also play a role in shaping social policy.
Finally, Dr. What is a trailblazer? Darlene Iskra, adjunct instructor, sociology, is a Navy pioneer. Columbia College Spotlights. Another way that we might inadvertently come across sociology is when we encounter the ever-popular armchair sociologist. Now that you are equipped with a better understanding of how we know what we know, and in particular how sociologists know what they know, you are well prepared to question the assumptions of the armchair sociologists you meet.
Understanding sociological research methods is excellent preparation for questioning the everyday assumptions that others make. Previous Section.How to Write a Sociological Research Paper
Table of Contents. Next Section. Describe how having a background in sociological research methods is useful for our everyday encounters with sociology. Key Takeaways Sociological research appears in many areas of our lives and sometimes in unexpected locations. Having an understanding of sociological research methods can be of benefit in areas of your life outside of the classroom.
Exercise Find evidence of sociological research in a location where you did not expect to find it or may not have found it if not deliberately seeking it out. Ask two or three of your peers to do the same and then swap stories. Where did you find sociology? How did you find it? What relevance does sociology have to the example that you found? How did your knowledge about research methods help you identify or understand the instance of sociology that you found?Sociologists should take all necessary steps to protect the privacy and confidentiality of their subjects.
In any sociological research conducted on human subjects, the sociologists should take all the steps necessary to protect the privacy and confidentiality of their subjects. For example, when a survey is used, the data should be coded to protect the anonymity of the subjects.
In addition, there should be no way for any answers to be connected with the respondent who gave them. These rules apply to field research as well. For field research, anonymity can be maintained by using aliases fake names on the observation reports.
Cuyahoga County U. Census Form from : Following ethical guidelines, researchers keep individual details confidential for decades. This form, fromhas been released because the information contained is too old to have any likely consequences for people who are still alive. Even seemingly trivial information should be kept safe, because it is impossible to predict what the repercussions would be in the event that this information becomes public.
Unless subjects specifically and explicitly give their consent to be associated with the published information, no real names or identifying information of any kind should be used.
Any research notes that might identify subjects should be stored securely. It is the obligation of the researcher to protect the private information of the research subjects, particularly when studying sensitive and controversial topics like deviance, the results of which may harm the participants if they were to be personally identified.
By ensuring the safety of sensitive information, researchers ensure the safety of their subjects.
Sociology Research Paper Example
Identify the core tenet of research ethics, the importance of research ethics, and examples of ethical practice. Ethical considerations are of particular importance to sociologists because sociologists study people. Thus, sociologists must adhere to a rigorous code of ethics. In the context of sociological research, a code of ethics refers to formal guidelines for conducting research, consisting of principles and ethical standards concerning the treatment of human individuals.
Ethical Guidelines for Research Involving Children : Sociologists must follow strict ethical guidelines, especially when working with children or other vulnerable populations. The most important ethical consideration in sociological research is that participants in a sociological investigation are not harmed in any way. Exactly what this entails can vary from study to study, but there are several universally recognized considerations. For instance, research on children and youth always requires parental consent.
All sociological research requiresinformed consent, and participants are never coerced into participation. Informed consent in general involves ensuring that prior to agreeing to participate, research subjects are aware of details of the study including the risks and benefits of participation and in what ways the data collected will be used and kept secure.
Participants are also told that they may stop their participation in the study at any time. Institutional review boards IRBs are committees that are appointed to approve, monitor, and review research involving human subjects in order to make sure that the well-being of research participants is never compromised. They are thus intended to assess such factors as conflicts of interest—for instance, a funding source that has a vested interest in the outcome of a research project—and potential emotional distress caused to subjects.
While often primarily oriented toward biomedical research, approval from IRBs is now required for all studies dealing with humans. If a researcher deceives or conceals the purpose or procedure of a study, they are misleading their research subjects.The following titles are considered extremely influential and are widely taught. From theoretical works to case studies and research experiments to political treatises, read on to discover some of the major sociological works that have helped define and shape the fields of sociology and the social sciences.
The work was translated into English in In it, Weber examines the ways in which Protestant values and early capitalism intersected to foster the particular style of capitalism that's since become synonymous with the cultural identity of the United States.
The Asch Conformity Experiments also known as the Asch Paradigm conducted by Solomon Asch in the s demonstrated the power of conformity in groups and showed that even simple objective facts cannot withstand the distorting pressure of group influence. In it, Marx and Engels present an analytical approach to class struggle and the problems of capitalism, along with theories about the nature of society and politics. This groundbreaking work in the field of sociology details a case study in which Durkheim illustrates how social factors affect the suicide rate.
The book and study served as an early prototype for what a sociological monograph should look like. First published in"The McDonaldization of Society" is a more recent work, but is considered influential nonetheless. Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" was published in two volumes, the first inand the second in Focusing on a variety of topics including religion, the press, money, class structureracismthe role of government, and the judicial system, the issues it examines are just as relevant today as they were it was first published.
Foucault raised important questions and presented provocative and lasting theories to counter those assertions. In his book, "The Tipping Point," Malcolm Gladwell examines how small actions at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people can create a "tipping point" for anything from a product to an idea to a trend that can be adopted on a mass scale to become part of mainstream society.
Erving Goffman's "Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity" published in centers on the concept of stigma and what it's is like to live as a stigmatized person. It's a look into the world of individuals who, regardless of how great or small the stigma they've experienced, are considered to be outside societal norms at least on some level. It's considered a must-read for anyone interested in socio-economic inequality or the sociology of education.
The book presents compelling evidence that attempts to explain why Americans are so engrossed with "fear of the wrong things. In it, Starr examines the evolution of the culture and practice of medicine in America from the colonial era through the last quarter of the 20th century.
Updated by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph. Share Flipboard Email. By Ashley Crossman. Updated November 05, Sociologists examine the world, see a problem or interesting pattern, and set out to study it. They use research methods to design a study—perhaps a detailed, systematic, scientific method for conducting research and obtaining data, or perhaps an ethnographic study utilizing an interpretive framework.
Planning the research design is a key step in any sociological study. When entering a particular social environment, a researcher must be careful.
There are times to remain anonymous and times to be overt. There are times to conduct interviews and times to simply observe. Some participants need to be thoroughly informed; others should not know they are being observed. This is called the Hawthorne effect —where people change their behavior because they know they are being watched as part of a study. The Hawthorne effect is unavoidable in some research. In many cases, sociologists have to make the purpose of the study known. Subjects must be aware that they are being observed, and a certain amount of artificiality may result Sonnenfeld That option is not available to a researcher studying prison behaviors, early education, or the Ku Klux Klan.
In situations like these, other methods are needed. All studies shape the research design, while research design simultaneously shapes the study. Researchers choose methods that best suit their study topics and that fit with their overall approaches to research.
Every research method comes with plusses and minuses, and the topic of study strongly influences which method or methods are put to use. As a research method, a survey collects data from subjects who respond to a series of questions about behaviors and opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire.
The survey is one of the most widely used scientific research methods. The standard survey format allows individuals a level of anonymity in which they can express personal ideas. Questionnaires are a common research method; the U.
Census is a well-known example. At some point, most people in the United States respond to some type of survey. The U. Census is an excellent example of a large-scale survey intended to gather sociological data. Not all surveys are considered sociological research, however, and many surveys people commonly encounter focus on identifying marketing needs and strategies rather than testing a hypothesis or contributing to social science knowledge.
A good contrast to these are the Nielsen Ratings, which determine the popularity of television programming through scientific market research. American Idol uses a real-time survey system—with numbers—that allows members in the audience to vote on contestants. Sociologists conduct surveys under controlled conditions for specific purposes. Surveys gather different types of information from people. While surveys are not great at capturing the ways people really behave in social situations, they are a great method for discovering how people feel and think—or at least how they say they feel and think.
Surveys can track preferences for presidential candidates or reported individual behaviors such as sleeping, driving, or texting habits or factual information such as employment status, income, and education levels.
A survey targets a specific populationpeople who are the focus of a study, such as college athletes, international students, or teenagers living with type 1 juvenile-onset diabetes.
Most researchers choose to survey a small sector of the population, or a sample: that is, a manageable number of subjects who represent a larger population. The success of a study depends on how well a population is represented by the sample. In a random sampleevery person in a population has the same chance of being chosen for the study. According to the laws of probability, random samples represent the population as a whole. For instance, a Gallup Poll, if conducted as a nationwide random sampling, should be able to provide an accurate estimate of public opinion whether it contacts 2, or 10, people.
After selecting subjects, the researcher develops a specific plan to ask questions and record responses.A Swedish social experiment recently showed only one person of 53 reacting to what seemed like a scene of domestic abuse in a lift. Researchers set up a hidden camera in a lift while members of the group played an abusive boyfriend and his victim. The male actors swore at the women and physically assaulted them while members of the public were in the lift.
In this experiment two young male actors, dressed in a similar manner, one white the other black take it in turns to act out stealing a bike which is chained to a post in a public park. When the black actor acts out the same thing, within seconds, a crowd of people has gathered to stop him, with many whipping out their mobiles to phone the police. When the experiment is reset, the same thing happens again. Towards the end of the film, a third actor steps in — an attractive young, blonde female — people actually help her to steal the bike!
This experiment seems to have quite good reliability — there are some examples of similar experiments which get similar results…. Researchers sent nearly 3, job applications under false identities in an attempt to discover if employers were discriminating against jobseekers with foreign names. They found that an applicant who appeared to be white would send 9 applications before receiving a positive response of either an invitation to an interview or an encouraging telephone call.
Minority candidates with the same qualifications and experience had to send 16 applications before receiving a similar response. Using names recognisably from three different communities — Nazia Mahmood, Mariam Namagembe and Alison Taylor — false identities were created with similar experience and qualifications. Every false applicant had British education and work histories. All the job vacancies were in the private, public and voluntary sectors and were based in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester.
The report concludes that there was no plausible explanation for the difference in treatment found between white British and ethnic minority applicants other than racial discrimination. In which college students take on the role of either prison guards or prisoners and spend time in an artificial prison. Inpsychologist Philip Zimbardo and his colleagues set out to create an experiment that looked at the impact of becoming a prisoner or prison guard.
The simulated prison included three six by nine foot prison cells. Each cell held three prisoners and included three cots. Other rooms across from the cells were utilized for the prison guards and warden. One very small space was designated as the solitary confinement room, and yet another small room served as the prison yard. The 24 volunteers were then randomly assigned to either the prisoner group or the guard group.
Prisoners were to remain in the mock prison hours a day for the duration of the study. Guards, on the other hand, were assigned to work in three-man teams for eight-hour shifts.
Some (Relatively) Recent Examples of Participant Observation Studies
After each shift, guards were allowed to return to their homes until their next shift. Researchers were able to observe the behavior of the prisoners and guards using hidden cameras and microphones. While the prisoners and guards were allowed to interact in any way they wanted, the interactions were generally hostile or even dehumanizing. The guards began to behave in ways that were aggressive and abusive toward the prisoners, while the prisoners became passive and depressed. Five of the prisoners began to experience such severe negative emotions, including crying and acute anxiety, that they had to be released from the study early.
The Stanford Prison Experiment demonstrates the powerful role that the situation can play in human behaviour. Because the guards were placed in a position of power, they began to behave in ways they would not normally act in their everyday lives or in other situations.
The prisoners, placed in a situation where they had no real control, became passive and depressed. The aim of this research was to isolate and measure the effect of high teacher expectation on the educational performance of pupils. All of the pupils were re-tested 8 months later and he spurters had gained 12 IQ points compared to an average of 8.
It was suggested that the productivity gain occurred because the workers were more motivated due to the increased interest being shown in them during the experiments. An Introduction to Experiments — covering key terms related to experiments, such as hypotheses, and dependent and independent variables. Swedish social experiment shows people ignoring domestic abuse in a lift — The Guardian.
Double standard bike thief experiment highlights racism — The Root.Three popular social research designs models are. On the positive side, case studies obtain useful information about individuals and small groups.
On the negative side, they tend to apply only to individuals with similar characteristics rather than to the general population.
The high likelihood of the investigator's biases affecting subjects' responses limits the generalizability of this method. As with most research methods, survey research brings both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include obtaining information from a large number of respondents, conducting personal interviews at a time convenient for respondents, and acquiring data as inexpensively as possible.
Disadvantages of survey research include volunteer bias, interviewer biasand distortion. Volunteer bias occurs when a sample of volunteers is not representative of the general population. Subjects who are willing to talk about certain topics may answer surveys differently than those who are not willing to talk.
Interviewer bias occurs when an interviewer's expectations or insignificant gestures for example, frowning or smiling inadvertently influence a subject's responses one way or the other. Distortion occurs when a subject does not respond to questions honestly. Observational research has limitations, however. Subject bias is common, because volunteer subjects may not be representative of the general public.
Individuals who agree to observation and monitoring may function differently than those who do not. They may also function differently in a laboratory setting than they do in other settings. A social researcher can use case studies, surveys, interviews, and observational research to discover correlations.
In a negative correlation, one variable increases as the other decreases. In a nonexistent correlation, no relationship exists between the variables. People commonly confuse correlation with causation.
When a correlation exists, changes in the value of one variable reflect changes in the value of the other. The correlation does not imply that one variable causes the other, only that both variables somehow relate to one another. To study the effects that variables have on each other, an investigator must conduct an experiment. A number of factors can affect the outcome of any type of experimental research. One is finding samples that are random and representative of the population being studied.
Another is experimenter biasin which the researcher's expectations about what should or should not happen in the study sway the results. Still another is controlling for extraneous variablessuch as room temperature or noise level, that may interfere with the results of the experiment.Brittany has lived on the Big Island of Hawaii for most of her life and enjoys writing meaningful content that is helpful to others.
Sociology is a fascinating field of study. If you're taking a sociology class or interested in doing some independent research, this list can help you get started. Sociology is the study of groups of people and their cultures, customs, practices. Because this topic is so broad, and our culture is always changing, the possibilities for writing and research are endless.
With sociology, you can research just about anything, from Beyonce to Scientology. This list will also guide you to make your own, original topic. The top ten sociological subjects are listed below with plenty of ideas for your research. The list is organized around 10 umbrella topics, each with its own set of mini-topics. These umbrella topics include:. Race, nationality, and ethnicity are some of the most written about subjects in sociology.
The classical sociologist Emile Durkheim discussed the effects of origin on a person and the solidarity that they feel with others from the same or similar origin. Sociologists like to study these bonds as well as the effects of difference. Census data provides raw data for literally thousands of research papers.
The following are some sociological topics on race, nationality, and ethnicity:. One of the most interesting topics of sociological research is the media. What we see on television, in magazines, and in theaters has an effect on us as members of society. There are endless topics to study in the media.
Below is a list of topic ideas. Food culture is a very interesting topic to research not only because of how food is produced and distributed but also because of how it's consumed. Here are some possible research topics for those of you who want to learn more about how our food is grown, distributed, and consumed.
Youth culture is another fascinating sociological topic. Young people belong to many subcultures, which they illustrate in their attitude, clothing, music, and more. Studying these cultures allows us to understand how our world works—particularly how the media affects youth because the majority of American media consumers are between the ages of 14 and The gender divide has been one of the most important subjects that sociologists study because it exists in every culture around the world.
Men and women have always been opposites in society, which has contributed to numerous inequalities. The following is a list of sociological research topics on gender. Studying social movements and revolutions can illuminate how communities that share the same beliefs and goals form. Social movements are always surfacing, which makes them current as well as historical, so choosing a topic is easy!