Connecting Sociology and YOU!

Chapter 2: Sociological Inquiry

Resource Details:


Goal of Sociology: to use a systematic approach to investigate the interrelationships among human interactions to understand society better. 

Auguste Comte: was the developer of the concept of sociology. He sought to provide understanding and solutions to political, social, and moral issues that can be as a result of the French Revolution.

Scientific method- this process used by sociologists is used to develop and test theories (it includes 8 steps) 

1. Define the question or problem: The first thing for this step is finding a topic you would want to research. This topic doesn’t necessarily have to focus on addressing a social problem, it could deal with anything human behavior related…for example, “staying safe or staying popular” was a topic that was researched on when covid-19 was at its peak.

2. Review the literature: this step deals with investigating what has already been written about on your topic, this means going above and beyond in your research and looking for information outside of the internet like academic sources that have undergone peer review. Looking for these other methods for your research ensures that you will have reliable and legitimate sources.

3. Develop hypothesis: a hypothesis is essentially an educated guess about a relationship between two or more situations, events and or factors. For example…children of divorced parents are likelier to expire Renee divorce in their marriage. Independent variable: a factor that causes change in another variable. Dependent variable: a factor that is changed by another variable. In the topic of divorce the independent variable would be being a child of divorced parents. Validity: the extent that the study measures what it claims to measure. Operational definition: a clear and concise and observable measure of the variable. The constitutes the understanding and measure of a variable (so majority of people are on the same page with what the variable consists of). Reliability: the extent to which a study yields the same result in repeated studies.

4. Choose a research design and method: first step in choosing a research design is determining if you hypothesis best fits something which is called a quantitive research design: data collection that focuses on exploring correlations by using systematic, numerical, and other objective measures to generalize across groups of people. Usually the goal in this is to better understand a specific concept rather than test the hypothesis. Representative sample: a subset of the population whose characteristics accurately reflect those of the larger population from which it is drawn.

5. Collect the data: A research proposal review is what is required before collecting data. Institutional Review Board (IRB): a committee that reviews research proposals to protect the rights and welfare or human participants in research. What the IRB committee does is that it ensures that there will be no physical, emotional, psychological, legal and or economic risk to the participants in which are being monitored or studied. Informed consent is required by the IRB to continue with the process of collecting data. This consent ensures that the participants know of the risks in which will be taken during the process of collecting data, and that they are able to withdraw from the procedure at anytime, in majority of the cases the risks are very minimal. Anonymity: concealing the identities of participants within the research project. Confidentiality: guarding who has the right of access to the data provided by the participants. Both anonymity and confidentiality are both ways in which protect the identities of the participants.

6. Analyze the data: once the data is collected and ready to analyze it is important to go back to the question asked in step 1, which is “what am i trying to discover?”

7. Develop conclusions: based on your analysis you can begin to draw conclusions and maybe even generalize and apply the result to a larger population. 

8. Report results and pose new questions: once conclusion is drawn now you have to determine how to report your results. For example, many sociology professors report their findings through academic journals or at conferences. After presenting your findings it is typical that you begin to pose new questions from where you left of (or from where your findings ended off).

Quantitative data aims to get information on the general public (larger groups)

Qualitative data: aims to get more personal information and find the underlying reasonings from individuals and or groups.

Sustainability: the idea that current and future generations should have equal or greater access to social economic and environmental resources 

Snowball Sampling: a process in which people in the group being studied introduce the researcher to other people to study.

Time diary method: a research method in which subjects track their actions at various points in time over several days.

Hawthorne effect: the tendency of people to change their behavior where they know they are being watched.

Ethics: principles of conduct about how you are supposed to behave in a given situation.

Debriefing: a follow-up review of the research

code of ethics: a set of guidelines of appropriate behavior established by an organization for its members to follow

Objectivity: the effort to eliminate bias from the research 

Sample of convenience: a research sample based on the ease of accessibility of the research subjects.

Case study: an in depth analysis of a particular person, place or event over a significant period.

Verstehen: an empathetic approach to understanding human behavior.

Liberal feminism: contends that sex discrimination and sex biased laws are a product of prejudice and stereotyping by society. 

Radical feminism: argues that the root of the problem is the intersection. Of various types of oppressions in society and men’s patriarchal control over woman’s reproduction and sexuality.

Marxist/Socialist Feminism: believes that the root of the problem is patriarchy and capitalisms role in society.