# 2.1 Approaches to sociological research  (Page 4/17)

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## Formulate a hypothesis

A hypothesis    is an assumption about how two or more variables are related; it makes a conjectural statement about the relationship between those variables. In sociology, the hypothesis will often predict how one form of human behavior influences another. In research, independent variables    are the cause of the change. The dependent variable is the effect , or thing that is changed.

For example, in a basic study, the researcher would establish one form of human behavior as the independent variable and observe the influence it has on a dependent variable. How does gender (the independent variable) affect rate of income (the dependent variable)? How does one’s religion (the independent variable) affect family size (the dependent variable)? How is social class (the dependent variable) affected by level of education (the independent variable)?

Examples of dependent and independent variables
Hypothesis Independent Variable Dependent Variable
The greater the availability of affordable housing, the lower the homeless rate. Affordable Housing Homeless Rate
The greater the availability of math tutoring, the higher the math grades. Math Tutoring Math Grades
The greater the police patrol presence, the safer the neighborhood. Police Patrol Presence Safer Neighborhood
The greater the factory lighting, the higher the productivity. Factory Lighting Productivity
The greater the amount of observation, the higher the public awareness. Observation Public Awareness

At this point, a researcher’s operational definitions help measure the variables. In a study asking how tutoring improves grades, for instance, one researcher might define a “good” grade as a C or better, while another uses a B+ as a starting point for “good.” Another operational definition might describe “tutoring” as “one-on-one assistance by an expert in the field, hired by an educational institution.” Those definitions set limits and establish cut-off points that ensure consistency and replicability in a study.

As the table shows, an independent variable is the one that causes a dependent variable to change. For example, a researcher might hypothesize that teaching children proper hygiene (the independent variable) will boost their sense of self-esteem (the dependent variable). Or rephrased, a child’s sense of self-esteem depends, in part, on the quality and availability of hygienic resources.

Of course, this hypothesis can also work the other way around. Perhaps a sociologist believes that increasing a child’s sense of self-esteem (the independent variable) will automatically increase or improve habits of hygiene (now the dependent variable). Identifying the independent and dependent variables is very important. As the hygiene example shows, simply identifying two topics, or variables, is not enough; their prospective relationship must be part of the hypothesis.

Just because a sociologist forms an educated prediction of a study’s outcome doesn’t mean data contradicting the hypothesis aren’t welcome. Sociologists analyze general patterns in response to a study, but they are equally interested in exceptions to patterns. In a study of education, a researcher might predict that high school dropouts have a hard time finding rewarding careers. While it has become at least a cultural assumption that the higher the education, the higher the salary and degree of career happiness, there are certainly exceptions. People with little education have had stunning careers, and people with advanced degrees have had trouble finding work. A sociologist prepares a hypothesis knowing that results will vary.

Once the preliminary work is done, it’s time for the next research steps: designing and conducting a study and drawing conclusions. These research methods are discussed below.

## Interpretive framework

While many sociologists rely on the scientific method as a research approach, others operate from an interpretive framework    . While systematic, this approach doesn’t follow the hypothesis-testing model that seeks to find generalizable results. Instead, an interpretive framework , sometimes referred to as an interpretive perspective, seeks to understand social worlds from the point of view of participants, which leads to in-depth knowledge.

Interpretive research is generally more descriptive or narrative in its findings. Rather than formulating a hypothesis and method for testing it, an interpretive researcher will develop approaches to explore the topic at hand that may involve a significant amount of direct observation or interaction with subjects. This type of researcher also learns as he or she proceeds and sometimes adjusts the research methods or processes midway to optimize findings as they evolve.

## Summary

Using the scientific method, a researcher conducts a study in five phases: asking a question, researching existing sources, formulating a hypothesis, conducting a study, and drawing conclusions. The scientific method is useful in that it provides a clear method of organizing a study. Some sociologists conduct research through an interpretive framework rather than employing the scientific method.

Scientific sociological studies often observe relationships between variables. Researchers study how one variable changes another. Prior to conducting a study, researchers are careful to apply operational definitions to their terms and to establish dependent and independent variables.

Write down the first three steps of the scientific method. Think of a broad topic that you are interested in and which would make a good sociological study—for example, ethnic diversity in a college, homecoming rituals, athletic scholarships, or teen driving. Now, take that topic through the first steps of the process. For each step, write a few sentences or a paragraph: 1) Ask a question about the topic. 2) Do some research and write down the titles of some articles or books you’d want to read about the topic. 3) Formulate a hypothesis.

## Further research

For a historical perspective on the scientific method in sociology, read “The Elements of Scientific Method in Sociology” by F. Stuart Chapin (1914) in the American Journal of Sociology : (External Link)

## References

Arkowitz, Hal, and Scott O. Lilienfeld. 2009. "Lunacy and the Full Moon: Does a full moon really trigger strange behavior?" Scientific American. Retrieved October 20, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Berger, Peter L. 1963. Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective . New York: Anchor Books.

Merton, Robert. 1968 [1949]. Social Theory and Social Structure . New York: Free Press.

“Scientific Method Lab,” the University of Utah, (External Link) .

how does population affect the social and economy policy of a country
I need more understanding about sociology.
The first social scientist to use the term sociology was a Frenchman by the name of Auguste Comte who lived from 1798-1857. As coined by Comte, the term sociology is a combination of two words. The first part of the term is a Latin, socius- that may variously mean society, association, togetherness
sekou
what is social contracts
Yusuf
more explain
Olausi
what make sociology a science?
Nanzing
sociology is a science because it uses science methodology in arriving at it's finding
ANIH
what is the medical sociology
correct cronology of study method suggested by August comte?
sociology is a scientific discipline, what make it a science?
Nanzing
we use scientific mathods with facts and real observations to study the society
Batch
what is the medical sociology
Krish
I think it the study of Medical organisation or institution, how they work, their Mathods etc
Batch
what is sociological imagination?
Hamanta
it's a kind of imagination by which we can divert our mind or take us away from daily life routine surrounding society
Batch
in sociological imag. we think outside the box. we relate our problem with other or society as a whole. in this way we come to know that its not us who facing this problm infact others too facing it.
manisha
we also think in terms of others also. we view others pt. of view too.
manisha
Manisha 👍👍
Batch
thanks for the explanation
Batch
what is sociological alienation
Batch
alienation is we feel isolated from society. we gets aloof from society.
manisha
and what are reason behind it ?
Batch
according to august comte wats sociology
Deme
can some one clearly defined Sociology for me
study of groups n group intetactions, societies n social interactions from small n personal groups to very large groups.
manisha
study of society and interaction among peoples...
Neelma
can any1 help me ..how to calculate percentile in individual series ..?
but I suppose ,I think you have olredy completed ua exams in June session final yr.
rameez
rameez
thnkx rameez sir for ur suggestions
what was main reason behind Emile Durkheim’s book division of labour?
he wanted to say that division of labour i.e differences of jobs dont create problem in society or it doesnt affect moral beliefs infact it creates dependency on each other n set as binding glue.
manisha
many theorist were blaming including comte that division of labour creates problem in society like it destroy moral beliefs but emile Durkheim neglected this fact. he said it makes society together rather than affecting moral beliefs or any destruction.
manisha
even i feel division of labor dont create problem. every person have diff. potential so work of each other will be diff. and it doesnt create any difficulty.
manisha
how difference of job dont creat problem manisha can u give me an example as i cam understand properly ?
Neelma
division of labor happens in production process. like in industry. production has many steps. so work is alloted by dividing the work. one into manufacturing n other into packaging. its also happens acc. to specialisation.
manisha
so it helps in fast n proper production. so its good to divide work rather than all work done by one person.
manisha
ohh now i got it means divide one task or project in group of people .. who work on that project .. ie one building make by group of Labour's..? im i right? manisha
Neelma
yes right neelma. division of work in group.
manisha
thnks manisha for clear my concept
Neelma
hi everyone.
Khalid
so simple, diff people have different specializations - abilities, skill's, taste's, capabilities, talents thus work accordingly. thus this specialization of task's /jobs create interpendece btwn them. Had been all these people having diff talent's or skills giving same task thus have created simply
rameez
right rameez.
Khalid
Hey all! I'm a sociologist from Cyprus. This is the first time I'm writhing here! I'm glad of being part of the conversation! 😀
Marios
hi Marios Orphandies
Khalid
hi. I'm very happy to be here I like sociology but idont have any concept about jobs if I . have finished my sociology which job i. will do and how is availability of job this field thanks
Hasan
mess / problems within the system. For eg. if cobbler or blacksmith is asked to treat a patient n prescribe sm medicine, or if doctor is asked to make shoe or play circket. will they do their work properly
rameez
rameez
can any1 tell me how 2 calculate percentile in individual series ? what is formula for that ?
um not sure Madiha, I think total sum of series in percentile divided by total no. of series.
rameez
you are so intelligent why don't you consult you book. Anyway thank. .......
rameez
s
rameez
not mentioned in my book...thats y
oh sad na..but bt your book was typing error..I simply meant book....And yes if had been mentioned in ua book,you wouldn't have asked... so simple.. commonsense.
rameez
welcome always n Allah bless
rameez
cyprus is so beautiful i just checked out on google.
manisha
Google nice. Baramulla is also beautiful you know.
rameez
ok nature is always beautiful
manisha
beauty lies in the eye's of beholder. what i mean beauty of the nature doesn't mean anything if people are not.
rameez
am I right Manisha
rameez
and thank you so much, Manisha for being here ,for a while I thought buddy, it was Madiha talking abt Cyprus.
rameez
what cyprus ? rameez sir
I meant it was you talking about Cyprus is so beautiful.
rameez
no.. manisha mam was talking abt that..
i thought....// n nothing bye
rameez
yeah.
rameez
yes beauty lies in eyes. :)
manisha
philosophy talks also exist here with sociology in this app.
manisha
:)
manisha
barmulla is so beautiful.
manisha
yes Manushi Heart of paradise Kashmir.
rameez
it means according durkhim people should work according to their abilty ? but manisha is saying that people should work combiney on one project ?
Neelma
she doesn't mean nor she is saying and infact it's you brother who is talking or have included word project in ua statement.
rameez
and even if people are working on one project doesn't mean they are having diff abilities.Its also specialization of work. as per abilities
rameez
for eg many laborers working in construction of building also need few carpenters , few masions, few electrictions, and few other person's viz skilled in bathroom/water fittings , cutting of mirror's, few painters and so on. Hope you will get ua answer now.
rameez
yess thanku .. i got it :)
Neelma
itz ok brother. God bless
rameez
sister :) not brother ..
Neelma
sister.. proof get ua Xerox ready of ID, Adhaar card,ration card, Fcbk Id, wtsap,insta.telegram n so on.till provisionally accepted.
rameez
:)
Neelma
nothing to say brother ..
Neelma
Hello
Ahsan
Can anyone help me with the the answer, what are concepts given by Merton and explain them briefly....?
Dyuti
i dont know abt sociologist. if someone is rich and can afford to move to other country then its his wish. moving to another country will surely be adventures. many Indians r there in abroad working n living there.
manisha
by the way where r u from?
manisha
Zambia
Julia
hi julia. m from india.
manisha
ok
Julia
Those it also mean that in the animal kingdom, their society is structured so as to suit the male lions of having the first share. and how do you explain the difference in behavior between the male and female dogs
what can i do after MA in slciolagy
Think about pursuing Mphil... and then Phd....
besides higher studies, you can go for SET/NET/ICMR/ exams in sociology for bright future. sociology is also good subject for state/union civil service's. Additionally you can also pursui various jobs in social welfare dept.or in social service wd various NGO's.
rameez
how is studies going on guyz?
manisha
much better
zahoor
not so well mam Manisha.!
rameez
life seems so boring n alienating coz of the biased , capitalist/ materialistic system.
rameez
enjoy the scenery of Kashmir dude.
manisha
I too feel so buddy.
rameez
but sometimes even the scenery is alienating..making us feeling like alone alone sad sad
rameez
don't know why..!
rameez
it happens. if we feel sadness to its deepest core, we feel light. it shouldnt be repressed. just feel it n live it. it will go fade away
manisha
yes indeed but i don't think it should go away . Even the feeling is worth everlasting
rameez
and thank you
rameez
it is better to go for professional subjects than academic subjects
Ruhullah
life is both sadness n happiness
manisha
perhaps..okay gd nt All
rameez
sociology is a abstract science. it is humanistic social science. in 19 century sociology emerged as separate social science in europe.
manisha
nice Q Lt me try.
rameez
sociology , speaking strictly stand's btwn the too when comparison is wd natural sciences. since human motives, emotions, meanings can't be tested , weighted or measured, as object's are observed or studied in natural sciences..
rameez
hmm it shouldn't be science. as science has one fact n one conclusion. and here every other theorist saying different things. it is denoted as science because of the fact that it do scientific study of observation n its on assumptions basis do research analysis.
manisha
however it must be noted sociology has nothing do wd emotions or imagenation. it has its own systematic body of knowledge in the form of various concept's, ideas,theories n methodology to observe the social world thus can described as a science rather social science trying as much as scientific as p
rameez
To give importance also theorist described it as science. i.e why it is not pure science rather an abstract science.
manisha
thus it can be described as a scientific discipline as it involves systematic methods of investigation, the analysis of data,and the assesment of theories in the light of evidence or logical argument.
rameez
It is a social science. There is no other explaination to it. Social science is different than natural and physical sciences. Social science subject matter is men living in a social setup.
both of you are right.
rameez
however Manisha its neither pure nor abstract coz of it's it's own theories, concept's.... systematic approach, methodology.... etc etc blah blah.. thus stands sm whr btwn the .two
rameez
we have to write whats given in textbook to get pass. hehe but u right its not science.
manisha
Not science.🙄 but it's science manu
rameez
social sc.😉😊
rameez
In simple terms we study the Structure and function of a Society, the way it changes and develops. Now this is a life long process. Society have its organs which emerge, grows and defunct.
thanks for ur contribution
Abubakar
thanks to all for help
zahoor
guys im new here can anyone assist on functiinalismm pespective
Nigel
they see the society as an organism and humans are the organ...we all have certain function... the function to keep the organism alive...(in sociology term social order) so the functionalist looks through functional approach...
functional word means to functions. ie. what society functions. it can be described with the help of human body. like we have different organs n each organs..ear eyes etc has its own functions and in the same way society has its own social units and each units has some function.
manisha
with this structure word is also added ie. structural functionalism. structure is types of organs n functional is their function
manisha
like body is associated with systematic forms ie. in structure form and also each organs has some functions. both structure n function cannot be isolated. so to solve problem in society structure n function is taken into consideration.
manisha
before 2nd world war there was functional approach and after that structural functional approach came.
manisha
emile durkheim given the solid form to functional perspective. credit of it was given to him. in his book he mentioned it ie. rule of labor division n method of sociology.
manisha
functional perspective watches society's function. what is it that binds society n how organisation group generates result.
manisha
m i right?
manisha
very nice manisha well defined :)
Neelma
there r other theorist also who uses this perspective ie. Spencer, parson, malinowski, radcliff brown etc. parsons concept is also famous in this.
manisha
:) well today only i studied this so abled to explained it.
manisha
Good Manisha tiwari.
rameez
but better for Nigel was to go first through some reading's..( this app. or Google)and then to submit query.
rameez
and then we should also welcome n love to address queries. isn't it Manisha t. or am I wrong.?
rameez
100 percent right CPT scholar haha
rameez
just going through study. not a scholar. i m studying after 6 years. i completed my grads in 2012 in bmm from mumbai university. now started studing again after my marriage in jodhpur from distance edu but feel good here and gets feeling of college here :)
manisha
nice mam may I know your good name
rameez
i am pastor Samuel Sesay, from Liberia, west Africa.
logan
ok pastor samuel. and rameez what will u do with name. manisha name is enough to address me.
manisha
okay mam. mbishnio, (jus y, n)
rameez
ok ,sure thank you Manisha
rameez
manisha peshwa malviya
manisha
what is the meaning and scope of sociology ?
Sociology is composed of 2 words :socius, meanining companion or association and logos meaning science or study .Thus the etymological meaning of sociology is the science of society . Auguste comte ,a frenchman is considered to be the father of sociology , hr coined this term in 1839 ...
There are 2 main schools of thought regarding the scope of sociology : 1.The formalistic or specialistic 2.The synthetic school
Formalistic school hav the opinion that sociology is a pure and independent science . As a pure it has a limited scope.
synthetic school wants to make sociology a general social sci. and not a pure or special social sci.
i Am Studying Msc Sociology Aiou 3rd Semester I will help you Support you Giving You Notes & Books in Urdu
Kamran
systematic study of society and culture
Muzafar
Helo i need socilogy notes. plzz some body help me ..
Neelma
sociology notes of ignou available on mrunal sociology notes site.
manisha
manisha can u shere the link ?
Neelma
what type of notes you need @mehwish
waqas
what is social research
Baba
just type mrunal sociology notes u will get. link sharing is prohibited here.
manisha
i have to prepare for the spcs test ..
Neelma
thanku manisha
Neelma
just type mrunal sociology notes u will get. link sharing is prohibited here.
manisha
its ok neelma.
manisha
by the way if socius means companion or association.. how come, sociology then means sc. of society.!!!?
rameez
the word socius gives rise to the word society ...
principles of sociology with introduction to social thought ...by C.N .Shankar Rao ..p.no.18..
dt is it..Good smhw agreed ...
rameez
What is thesis
Thesis is a type of essay,in which writer highlighted briefly their observation and experiment.....
Akak
sociology a brief introduction by Richard T.Schefer
How does traditional religion serve as a social control mechanism in your country
How does religion serve as a social control mechanism in your country
Daniel