Examine why some sociologists choose not to use experiments when conducting research? (20 marks) Many sociologists choose not to use laboratory experiments for research because it fails to achieve their main goal of validity. To have complete control of conditions in a lab experiment is impossible as that level of control over variables would require a completely artificial environment which will be very expensive. However in contrast other sociologists such as Positivists disagree and are in favour of laboratory experiments. Other alternatives to laboratory experiments are field experiment and the comparative method.
These side effects may affect one person but not another. This would be hard to study as you can not say it is exactly one thing, and then you would have to look at the extraneous variables which affect each problem. However, this could also be good as it is not really being reductionist in its own approach; it is looking at all the possible individual differences. If choosing a different approach, like cognitive, then it would still be difficult because you do not know what the person is thinking. You would have to rely on the patient giving you the information for it not is socially desirable or have demand characteristics.
This shows why some sociologists may not use questionnaires as with a low response rate they can lack generalizability. It is argued that a higher response rate can be obtained if follow up questionnaires are sent out, if they are collected by hand or even if they sent out by email. However these methods tend to be either more time consuming or more costly. As well as this a great danger with low response rates is the fact that those that are returned are usually from people that aren’t fully employed or an isolated group of society and therefore means it lacks representativeness. Another reason why sociologists may not want to use questionnaires is their inflexibility.
However, token economy has issues, such as that you could argue that you are taking away patient’s basic rights to use as rewards. Another criticism which shows why token economy may not be and appropriate and effective therapy is that it has low ecological validity; it may not transfer into the real world. Once patients are away from institutions, they often discarded desirable behavior as there are no longer any rewards to reinforce it. Another disadvantage is the ethical issues surrounding the use of behavioral therapy. It could be argued it doesn't really help the patient; it just makes their behavior more acceptable to others.
Introducing an ally who resisted the majority caused conformity levels to drop sharply (5%). The presence of an ally makes an individual feel more confident and better able to stand up to the majority. Asch also discovered that people are better able to resist pressure to conform if the decision has a moral dimension. For Asch’s participants, the costs of conforming were not particularly great given the insignificance of the task. However if the behaviour is judged as immoral such as joining others in cheating there is less evidence of conformity as the costs are perceived as greater.
Interpretivist sociologists would choose to not use lab experiments because they lack ecological validity as they are conducted within an environment that is artificial to the participant. This means that the results don’t reflect true-life behaviour because of both the environment they conducted the task in, and the nature of the task wasn’t true to real life and can also be said to not be generalisable to a population because of their small sample sizes in which lab experiments are conducted. Furthermore, participants might have been aware that they were being studied and so might not act normally, which is called the Hawthorne effect. Another reason why interpretivist sociologists don’t choose to use lab experiments is that they say human behaviour cannot be measured or explained in terms of cause and effect, and instead humans act in terms of feeling, choices and also individual motives. Society doesn’t lend itself to be studied in a laboratory and this is because it is so complex and cannot be artificially created.
Individual differences were important in this variation as those who were more confident were less likely to conform. A limitation of Asch’s study is whether it is valid or not. Asking students to judge the length of lines is an insignificant task. On a more important task, conformity is likely to drop Asch’s findings may only tell us about conformity in special circumstances and the study also lacks mundane realism. Having said this, the study was still well controlled and systematic.
This mostly depends on how we see the person and their behaviour. If baby sees their mother smoking he is more likely to copy her because of the strong influence she has on him and the connection. However, it works both ways if we see someone who we don’t like smoking we are less likely to do because they are doing it. The features of role model that might influence us are gender, similarity to ourselves, status, prestige, competence and fame. When we are in the group our behaviour is change although we might think we are individuals with own thought and beliefs we still change when we are in the group.
People don’t usually decide to help the needy, but they choose to, according to their free will due to psychological biases. According to Trout, free will comes as a primitive feeling; it is a product of the actions that was ought to happen, but due to environmental conditions and other biases, it may have shifted. Therefore, according to the author, an individual is not as free as they think they are, rather free will comes into action when it clashes with the individual’s source of happiness. This leads to right and wrong choices. Individuals must identify and correct such biases in order to make wise, empathetic
| This can be related to Argyle’s Theory of Communication because if the patient, staff member or client has an idea then they won’t be able to communicate that idea because they may feel like they are an outsider. | Self Esteem | Effective communication empowers people to value others and build a positive self-image and may also build their confidence. | However, if there is a lack of communication the client or patient may feel that they can’t voice their opinions or ideas because of their lack of confidence and self-esteem. | This can be related to Argyle’s Theory of Communication because if the patient, staff member or client has an idea then they won’t be able to communicate that idea because they may feel like they are an outsider and may even feel like they aren’t