Chapter 2: Sociological Research

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Key terms and Chapter review.

Causal Logic

The relationship between a condition or variable and a particular consequence, with one event leading to the other.

Code of Ethics

The standards of acceptable behavior developed by and for members of a profession.

Content analysis

The systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale.

Control group

The subjects in an experiment who are not introduced to the independent variable by the researcher.

Control Variable

A factor that is held constant to test the relative impact of an independent variable.

Correlation

A relationship between two variables in which a change in one coincides with a change in the other.

Cross-tabulation

A table or matrix that shows the relationship between two or more variables.

Dependent variable

The variable in a causal relationship that is subject to the influence of another variable.

Ethnography

The study of an entire social setting through extended systematic observation.

Experiment

An artificially created situation that allows a researcher to manipulate variables.

Experimental Group

The subjects in an experiment who are exposed to an independent variable introduced by a researcher.

Hawthorne Effect

The unintended influence that observers of experiments can have on their subjects.

Hypothesis

A speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables.

Independent Variable

The variable in a causal relationship that causes or influences a change in a second variable.

Interview

A face-to-face or telephone questioning of a respondent to obtain desired information.

Mean

A number calculated by adding a series of values and then dividing by the number of values.

Median

The midpoint or number that divides a series of values into two groups of equal numbers of values.

Mode

The single most common value in a series of scores.

Observation

A research technique in which an investigator collects information through direct participation and/or by closely watching a group or community.

Operational definition

An explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to allow a researcher to assess the concept.

Qualitative Research

Research that relies on what is seen in field or naturalistic settings more than on statistical data.

Quantitative research

Research that collects and reports data primarily in numerical form.

Questionnaire

A printed or written form used to obtain information from a respondent.

Random Sample

A sample for which every member of an entire population has the same chance of being selected.

Reliability

The extent to which a measure produces consistent results.

Research design

A detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically.

Sample

A selection from a larger population that is statistically representative of that population.

Scientific method

A systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem.

Secondary Analysis

A variety of research techniques that make use of previously collected and publicly accessible information and data.

Survey

A study, generally in the form of an interview or questionnaire, that provides researchers with information about how people think and act.

Validity

The degree to which a measure or scale truly reflects the phenomenon under study.

Value neutrality

Max Weber's term for objectivity of sociologists in the interpretation of data.

Variable

A measure trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions.

The first step in any sociological research is to

Define the problem.

An explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to allow a researcher to measure the concept is a(n)

Operational definition.

The variable hypothesized to cause or influence another is called

The independent variable.

A correlation exists when...

A change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable.

Through which type of research technique does a sociologist ensure that data are statistically representative of the population being studied.

sampling.

In order to obtain a random sample, a researcher might...

Study the attitudes of registered democratic voters by choosing every 10th name found on a city's list of registered Democrats.

A researcher can obtain a higher response rate by using which survey??

An interview.

When sociologists want to study a possible cause-and-effect relationship, they may engage in what kind of research technique?

An experiment.

Emile Durkheim's statistical analysis of suicide was an example of what kind of research technique?

Secondary analysis.

Unlike the typical citizen, the sociologist has a commitment to the use of the ____ method in studying society.

Scientific.

A(n) ____ is a speculative statement about the relationship between two or more factors known as variables.

hypothesis.

______ refers to the degree to which a measure or scale truly reflects the phenomenon under study.

Validity.

In order to obtain data scientifically, researchers need to select a research __

design.

If scientists were testing a new type of toothpaste in an experimental setting, they would administer the toothpaste to a(n) _____ group, but not to a(n) ____group.

experimental, control.

The term ___ ___ refers to the unintended influence that observers of experiments can have on their subjects.

Hawthorne Effect.

Using census data in a way unintended by its initial collectors would be an example of ______

secondary analysis.

Using content analysis, ___ ___ conducted a pioneering exploration of how advertisements in 1979 portrayed women as being inferior to men.

Erving Goffman.

The american sociological association's Code of ____ requires sociologists to maintain objectivity and integrity and to preserve the confidentiality of their subjects.

Ethics

As part of their commitment to ____ neutrality, investigators have an ethical obligation to accept research finding even when the data run counter to their own personal views or widely accepted beliefs.

Value.

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