How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

24 terms

"You May Ask Yourself" Chapter 2

BU Summer Bridge Program
STUDY
PLAY
Research methods
Standard rules that sociologists use when investigating questions. These are approaches social scientists use to get answers.
Quantitative methods
Methods that seek to gain information about the social world in numerical form, or in a form that can be translated to numbers. Uses statistics and seeks to answer questions by adhering to strict scientific methods.
Qualitative methods
Methods that seek to gain information about the social world that cannot be converted to numerical form. These methods use description and subjective interpretation, and seeks to get at the deeper meanings of reality. These methods give the researcher a "thick description".
Deductive approach
A research approach that starts with a theory, forms a hypothesis, makes empirical observations, then analyzes the data to confirm, reject, or modify the original theory. Known as "theory testing".
Inductive approach
A research approach that starts with empirical observations, seeks to find a pattern, forms a tentative hypothesis, and then works to form a theory. Known as "theory building".
Correlation
Exists when change (variation) is observed in two things simultaneously.
Causality
The idea that change in one factor results in a corresponding change in another factor.
Reverse causality
When a researcher believes that A results in a change in B, but B is causing A.
Independent variable
A measured factor that the researcher thinks has a causal impact on the dependent variable. This is the variable that is believed to influence or cause changes.
Dependent variable
The outcome the researcher is trying to explain; the variable believed to be influenced by the independent variable.
Hypothesis
Proposes a relationship between two variables; between two or more aspects of social relationships.
Operationalization
The process by which a researcher specifies the parameters and defines how a variable will be measured. This is when a precise method for measuring a term occurs.
Validity
The extent to which an instrument measures what it is intended to measure.
Reliability
The likelihood of obtaining consistent results using the same measure.
Generalizability
The extent to which we can claim our findings inform us about a group larger than the one we studied.
Reflexivity
Analyzing and critically considering our own role in, and affect on, our research. This is being aware of the affect you may be having on the people or social situation.
Population
The entire group of individual persons, objects, or items from which samples may be drawn.
Sample
The subset of the population from which you are actually collecting data.
Participant observation
A qualitative research method that seeks to observe social actions in practice.
Survey
An ordered series of questions intended to elicit information from respondents.
Comparative research
Methodology by which two or more entities which are similar in many ways but differ on one question, are compared to learn about the dimension that differs between them.
Experimental methods
Methods that seek to alter the social landscape in a very specific way for a given sample of individuals and then track what results that change yields. These often involve comparisons to a control group that dd not experience such an intervention.
Content analysis
A systematic analysis of the content rather than the structure of a communication, such as a written work, speech, or film.
Public sociology
An overall practice of sociological research, teaching, and service that seeks to engage a non-academic audience for a normative, productive end.