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Introduction to Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 5
STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION
The research process requires a sequence of steps. By and large, the following steps are undertaken in a
sociological investigation.
1. Broad Area of Interest Identified: Broad problem area refers to the entire situation where one
sees a possible need for research and problem solving. The specific issues that need to be
researched within this situation may not be identified at this stage. For example the broad area of
interest may be the entire field of education, or within education could be the examination system,
student teacher relations, the extra-curricula activities, course contents, and so on.  Within the
broad area of education, look at one observation about the mass failure of students in their
graduate examination of different universities.  Such identification may be based on ones
experiences and or on general observations in which one may have sensed that certain changes are
occurring or certain changes need to take place for the improvement of the situation. When the
observed phenomena are seen to have potentially important consequences, then one could proceed
to the next step.
2. Exploration/Consultation: This step involves preliminary information gathering on the issue
that has been observed. In our example of students' mass failure at graduate level, this could be
done by having informal consultations with several people in the education department (teachers,
examiners, administrators), students, as well as with their parents exploring the perceived reasons
for the existing situation. Additionally one could go to Internet and see if some previous studies
relevant to the issue have been conducted nationally or internationally. Professional journals,
research reports, students research work in the library could be a big help in clearly identification of
the research problem.
3. Problem Definition: Problem definition or problem statement, as it is often referred to, is a clear,
precise, and succinct statement of the question or issue that is to be investigated with the goal of finding an answer or
solution. In our example, problem definition could pertain to finding the reasons for such a mass
failure of students at the graduate level.
4. Theoretical Framework: Theoretical framework is an attempt to integrate all information in a
logical manner, so that the factors responsible for the problem can be conceptualized and tested.
In this step the critical factors are examined as to their contribution or influence in explaining why
the problem occurs and how it can be solved. The network of associations identified among
different factors (variables) would then be theoretically woven together with justification as to why
they might influence the problem under study. This will give us a theoretical model of the study.
5. Hypothesis (es)/ Research Question (s): The formulation of hypothesis (which is a testable
statement) or a number of hypotheses is the next logical step. From the theorized network of
associations among the factors (variables), certain testable hypothesis or hypotheses can be
generated. In place of hypothesis one could also go for the formulation a question or questions to
be researched. For example is students' mass failure due the existing examination system? Is mass
failure due to the existing study patterns of the students? One could go for many more questions.
6. Research Design: At this stage the researcher spells out the procedure for data collection with
the help of which the formulated hypothesis could be tested or the answers to the questions could
be found. The researcher clearly tells whether he will set up an experiment, or conduct a survey, or
follow some other technique of data collection. He will also tell what tools of data collection will
be used and how the data shall be analyzed.
7. Data Collection: Once the technique of data collection has been finalized then the next step is the
actual data collection in the field.
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
8. Testing the Hypothesis (es) / Answering question (s): Once the data have been collected
then it has to be processed, analyzed, and hypothesis (es) tested. The same data is to be used to see
the extent to which it is possible to find answers to the research questions. In our example the data
are likely help in identifying the factors for the mass failure of students.
9. Report Writing: Report writing is the last step, which is expected to contain information on each
one of the steps that was taken for carrying out this research process. On the basis of the results of
the study one could diagnose the forces operating in the students' mass failure in our example.
This diagnosis will be utilized for making recommendations for the solution of the problem that
was in focus.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY:Auguste Comte, The Fields of Sociology
  2. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:Society affects what we do
  3. THEORETICAL PARADIGMS:Salient Paradigms, Critical Evaluation
  4. SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE:Empirical, Verifiable, Cumulative, Self-Correcting
  5. STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION:Exploration/Consultation
  6. SOCIAL INTERACTION:Social Status, ROLE, The Social Construction of Reality
  7. SOCIAL GROUPS:Primary and Secondary Groups, Reference Group, Networks
  8. ORGANIZATIONS:Utilitarian Organizations, Coercive Organizations
  9. CULTURE:Universality, Components of Culture, Symbols, Language
  10. CULTURE (continued):Beliefs, Norms, Cultural Diversity
  11. CULTURE (continued):Culture by social class, Multiculturalism, Cultural Lag
  12. SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATURE, Social Isolation
  13. UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALIZATION PROCESS
  14. AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION:The Family, The School, Peer Groups, The Mass Media
  15. SOCIALIZATION AND THE LIFE COURSE:CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE
  16. SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE:Crime, Deviants, Stigma, Labeling
  17. THE SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVIANCE:Cultural relativity of deviance
  18. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME:Sociological explanations
  19. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME -- CONTINUED:White-Collar Crime, Conflict Theory
  20. SOCIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME: EXPLANATIONS, Gender and Crime
  21. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE
  22. THEORIES OF CLASS AND STRATIFICATION I:Critical evaluation
  23. THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND STRATIFICATION II
  24. THEORIES OF CLASS AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION III
  25. SOCIAL CLASS AS SUBCULTURE
  26. SOCIAL MOBILITY:Structural factors, Individual factors, Costs
  27. THE FAMILY: GLOBAL VARIETY, Marriage Patterns, Patterns of Descent
  28. FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:Reproduction, Social placement
  29. FAMILY AND MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION:Family is losing functions
  30. GENDER: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, Gender socialization
  31. GENDER SOCIALIZATION:Role of family, Gender Stratification
  32. EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER INEQUALITY:Conflict Explanations, Feminism
  33. FUNCTIONS OF SCHOOLING:Cultural Innovation, School Tracking
  34. ISSUES IN EDUCATION:Low Enrollment, High Dropout, Gender Disparity
  35. POPULATION STUDY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:Crude Birth Rate
  36. THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH:Theory of Demographic Transition
  37. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN:World Population Growth
  38. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN (Continued):Age Distribution, Sex Composition
  39. IMPLICAIONS OF POPULATION GOWTH:Additional GDP needed per year
  40. POPULATION POLICY:Goals of Population Policy, Objectives, Strategies
  41. ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension
  42. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:Preserving Clean Water, Clearing the Air
  43. SOCIAL CHANGE:Social change is controversial.
  44. CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE:Culture and Change, Conflict and Change, Modernization
  45. MODERNITY AND POST MODERNITY:Cultural Patterns, Post-modernity