Chapter 1 Discussion – The Sociological Perspective
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Chapter One: Sociological Perspective
Sociologists use a variety of methods to gather information about society.
Research Methods:
1. Survey: a way of cataloging how people think and act.
a. Methodology: questionnaires, interviews (face to face), mailings, online panels, and phone calls.
b. Positives: can be done quickly, easy to construct, usually inexpensive.
c. Negatives: dishonesty of participants, the bias of researchers, results can be manipulated.

2. Participant Observation: the study of an entire social setting.
a. Methodology: researchers role play; they join a group to study the group
b. Positives: firsthand information, a better understanding of what is going on.
c. Negatives: bias when the researcher becomes too involved with subjects, can be time-consuming.

3. Existing sources: analysis of others’ research.
a. Methodology: read over research and use in work
b. Positives: non-reactive (doesn’t influence behavior), research footprint is in place.
c. Negatives: can be hard to locate information, original research may be flawed.

4. Experiments: manipulation of a variable to see the effect on the group.
a. Methodology: a group is divided into two smaller groups; groups must be as similar as possible, variable is only a part of one group’s experience.
b. Positives: control allows for more precise information and no delay in gathering information.
c. Negatives: moral/ethical issues (subjects’ emotions can be negatively impacted), subjects may try to please researchers meaning the results can be unreliable.

Discussion Question: Even though most sociologists are very careful researchers, people often express no confidence in survey results. Why do people disbelieve in some survey results and not in others? Fully explain your reasoning.

Discussions play an integral role in monitoring your course participation throughout the term. You should check back to the weekly discussions multiple times throughout the week to engage in the discussion with your professor and peers. Participation is only counted during the week in which this discussion is assigned. Be sure to appropriately cite any sources you use to support your responses with standard APA citations. Answer the prompt question(s) thoroughly using a minimum of 150-200 words and respond to as many of your peers as possible – note that responses to 2 of your peers are required for full credit. Be sure to answer any additional questions asked by your professor in the discussion threads. Your initial post is due by Day 3 of the current week, and follow up posts to your peers are due on Day 7!

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