Lesson 2 Writing Assignment – Approaches to Sociological Research
When sociologists apply the sociological perspective and begin to ask questions, no topic is off limits. Every aspect of human behavior is a source of possible investigations. Sociologists question the world that humans have created and live in. They notice patterns of behavior as people move through the world.
Use information from this lesson to complete the following written assignment:
Think of a broad topic that you are interested in and that would make a good sociological study—for example, ethnic diversity in a college, homecoming rituals, athletic scholarships, or teen driving. Take that topic through the first steps of the scientific method. For each step write down a few sentences or a paragraph.
1.Write down the first three steps of the scientific method.
2.Ask a question about the topic.
3.Do some research and write down the titles of some articles or books you’d want to read about the topic.
4.Formulate a hypothesis.
5.You will need to cite your references. See the Online Library Learning Center for correct writing protocol in the college environment.
•Your paper should be two, double-spaced pages in length, in Arial or Times New Roman, 12 point type.
•Save your document as lesson2_paperYourName.doc or lesson2_paperYourName.docx.
•Attach and submit your paper here to the Lesson 2 Writing Assignment – Approaches to Sociological Research dropbox folder.
•Be sure to reference course materials and other resources correctly. You must cite your sources to receive full credit for this assignment.
Steps of the Research Process
The following presents the eight steps of the research process as they might be used in a classic deductive study.
•Select a Topic
It must be a topic that can be investigated by scientific methods.
•Define the Problem
Broad topics must be narrowed down to specific research questions.
•Review the Literature
The literature is not Moby Dick or Great Expectations but rather the journal articles and books that document what research has already been done on this topic.
•Formulate a Hypothesis
In elementary school you probably learned that a hypothesis is an “educated guess.” Here is a more specific and useful definition for our purposes. A hypothesis is a prediction about the relationship between two or more variables. Defining the variable in a way that it can be measured empirically is called operationalizing the variable.
•Choose a Research Method
Research methods are the different ways that sociologists gather data about the variables they are measuring. The textbook presents seven different methods that are discussed in the next section. Often it is useful to employ more than one variable to study a problem. Using multiple methods to get at a problem is called triangulation.
•Collecting the Data
It is important that the collection of data maintains validity and reliability. The study is valid if it measures what it set out to measure. It is reliable if the same results are found when the study is repeated for the same population.
•Analyze the Results
The data must be organized and analyzed to determine if the hypothesis was proved or disproved. Often computers are used to perform statistical analysis of the data. Statistics is the math of sociology.
•Share the Results
Researchers publish descriptions of their projects along with the findings and conclusions in technical journals. The main difference between these refereed journals and other popular publications (such as newspapers and magazines) is that the article cannot be published until it is reviewed and approved by several professionals/ experts in the field. Usually one research project only answers a part of the research question and it suggests new questions which stimulates further research. In this way research is like a cycle.