Sociology Research Methods

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THE RESEARCH PROCESS

 

How should you conduct a research? You should not approach a study and draw conclusions on the basis of your personal experience and perception; rather you should approach the study scientifically. In order to approach the study scientifically you should keep in mind that science has two main goals:

a. To describe in detail particular things or events

b. To propose and test theories that help us understand these things or events

Sociologists develop hypotheses, collect data and develop theories to help them understand social behavior. Sociologists try to answer two main questions: why did it happen? And under what circumstances is it likely to happen again?- that is, to explain and predict.

All research problems require their own special emphasis and approach. The research procedure is usually custom tailored to the research problem. Nonetheless, a sequence of steps called the research process is followed when designing a research project. In short, the research process involves:

defining the problem, reviewing the previous research on the topic, developing one or more hypotheses, determining the research design, defining the sample and collecting the data, analyzing and interpreting the data, and finally, preparing the research report.