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A crowd of people at a concert is shown from behind. Multiple lighting effects can be seen emanating from the stage.
Concertgoers enjoy a show. What makes listening to live music among a crowd of people appealing? How are the motivations and behaviors of groups of people at concerts different from those of groups in other settings, such as theme parks? These are questions that sociological research can aim to answer. (Photo courtesy of Benjamin Cook/flickr)

In the campus cafeteria, you set your lunch tray down at a table, grab a chair, join a group of your college classmates, and hear the start of two discussions. One person says, “It’s weird how Jimmy Buffett has so many devoted fans.” Another says, “Disney World is packed year-round.” Those two seemingly benign statements are claims, or opinions, based on everyday observation of human behavior. Perhaps the speakers had firsthand experience, talked to experts, conducted online research, or saw news segments on TV.

In response, two conversations erupt.

“I don’t see why anyone would want to go to Disney World and stand in those long lines.”

“Are you kidding?! Going to Disney World is one of my favorite childhood memories.”

“It’s the opposite for me with Jimmy Buffett. After seeing one of his shows, I don’t need to go again.”

“Yet some people make it a lifestyle.”

“A theme park is way different than a concert.”

“But both are places people go for the same thing: a good time.”

“If you call getting lost in a crowd of thousands of strangers fun.”

As your classmates at the lunch table discuss what they know or believe, the two topics converge. The conversation becomes a debate. Someone compares Parrotheads to Packers fans. Someone else compares Disney World to a cruise. Students take sides, agreeing or disagreeing, as the conversation veers to topics such as crowd control, mob mentality, political protests, and group dynamics.

If you contributed your expanding knowledge of sociological research to this conversation, you might make statements like these:

“Jimmy Buffett’s fans long for escapism. Parrotheads join together claiming they want freedom, except they only want a temporary escape.”

And this: “Mickey Mouse is a symbol of America just like the Statue of Liberty. Disney World is a place where families go to celebrate what they see as America.”

You finish lunch, clear away your tray, and hurry to your next class. But you are thinking of Jimmy Buffett and Disney World. You have a new perspective on human behavior and a list of questions that you want answered. That is the purpose of sociological research—to investigate and provide insights into how human societies function. Although claims and opinions are part of sociology, sociologists use empirical evidence    (that is, evidence corroborated by direct experience and/or observation) combined with the scientific method or an interpretive framework to deliver sound sociological research. They also rely on a theoretical foundation that provides an interpretive perspective through which they can make sense of scientific results.

A truly scientific sociological study of the social situations up for discussion in the cafeteria would involve these prescribed steps: defining a specific question, gathering information and resources through observation, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis in a reproducible manner, analyzing and drawing conclusions from the data, publishing the results, and anticipating further development when future researchers respond to and retest findings. An appropriate starting point in this case might be the question "What do fans of Jimmy Buffett seek that drives them to attend his concerts faithfully?"

As you begin to think like a sociologist, you may notice that you have tapped into your observation skills. You might assume that your observations and insights are valuable and accurate. But the results of casual observation are limited by the fact that there is no standardization—who is to say one person’s observation of an event is any more accurate than another’s? To mediate these concerns, sociologists rely on systematic research processes.

Questions & Answers

do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
AMJAD
what is system testing
AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
Hello
Uday
I'm interested in Nanotube
Uday
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
Prasenjit
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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What is called research problem and how we narrow down a research question and why it is needed
Karamat Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology. OpenStax CNX. Jun 12, 2012 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11407/1.7
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