Quantitative Research Methods

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Sociologists have different types of research methods they can use to acquire data. The various forms of research methods include surveys, ethnography, experiments, biographical research and historical analysis. These research methods are quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research methods measure social phenomena by using statistical measures. Whereas qualitative research methods to gather rich, detailed data.
Quantitative research methods include surveys such as standardized/self-completion questionnaires. Questionnaires are delivered in a range of ways, including, by post, through email, or collected on the spot. Standardized questionnaires oblige respondents to answer questions that are pre-set. The questions are closed-ended; thus
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On the other hand, representativeness is by a low response rate, particularly if the individuals who give back their questionnaires contrast somehow from the individuals who do not. Surveys are appealing to positivist on the grounds that they yield on quantitative information about variables - this allows researchers to test a hypothesis and to identify a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables. However, some sociologist may prefer other surveys such as open-ended questionnaires - this gives respondents the opportunity to express themselves in their own words, instead of restricting them to a fixed choice of…show more content…
There are two types of experiments sociologist should consider: laboratory experiments and field experiments. Laboratory experiments take place in an artificial environment whereby the researcher controls the circumstances that are being studied. The purpose of this research method is to discover causal laws by controlling the two variables to see their effects. There are two groups in lab experiments - the experimental group (this group is exposed to the independent variable) and the control group (this group is not exposed to the independent variable). An advantage of laboratory experiments is that direct comparison of the two groups can be made allowing the researcher to test hypotheses and discover the cause of differences in behaviour. However, a disadvantage is the Hawthorne effect - this is when individuals’ behaviour change because they know they are being watched. Positivist favour laboratory experiments because they have high reliability. On the other hand, Interpretivist favour field experiments as it is more likely to reflect real life behaviour because of its natural setting, i.e. higher ecological validity than a lab
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