This makes laboratory experiments highly reliable as they are replicable. The laboratory experiment has major advantages as the method can be used to establish cause and effect relationships. For this reasons positivist sociologists use laboratory experiments as they favour a more scientific method. Positivist sociologists however also acknowledge the short comings of laboratory experiments, such as, it is often impossible or unethical to control the variables. Also their small scale means that results may not be representative or generalisable to the wider population.
When conducted honestly and thoroughly, the scientific method can and has provided valuable information about the world and the world’s people (Jackson, 2009). Though some people rely on other methods for gaining knowledge, scientists only accept knowledge gained through science to arrive at plausible truths (Jackson, 2009). Due in part to human error and the tendency of human nature to succumb to temptations to bias research, the results of the scientific method should be viewed with skepticism (Garzon, n.d.). The scientific method of seeking knowledge and finding truth must stay within the limits of scientific ability and allow for human fragility in order to be effective (Slick, 2012). References Garzon, F. (n.d.).
Positivists believe that sociology is a science and look for cause and effect relationships. However, in contrast to positivists and structuralists, Interpretivists prefer qualitative data as they have a micro view of society and have a more in depth perception of society. They disagree with the idea that sociology is a science and they think that humans are not rocks or plants or any other natural phenomena and we have free will, choice, consciousness and opinions so we cannot be compared to rocks and plants etc and our behaviour cannot be explained in terms of cause and effect, just by the choices we make. So they feel that it isn’t appropriate for studying human beings. There are a wide range of quantitative sources for example questionnaires, structured interviews, experiments and official statistics.
The main type of data collected from scientific methods is quantifiable which in its collection and analysis is less affected by researchers thoughts, feelings and judgements. Without objectivity, there is no way of being certain that the data collected from a scientific study is valid; for example participants may be susceptible to investigator effects which would lead them to behave in an alternative manner. By being objective therefore, the data collected will be accurate as they have avoided researcher bias. Loftus and Palmer collected
Also this can rule out fluke answers which can be ignored. This is then why sociologists like to use questionnaires when conducting research. Questionnaires pose fewer ethical issues than other research methods. With questionnaires some intrusive questions may be asked but it is under the respondent’s choice whether they want to answer that specific question or not. There should be guaranteed anomity so they know that anything that is answered will not be brought back to them as the questionnaire is anonymous.
TMA 02 (methodology) 1. Identify which of the following are correct descriptors of this study. The best descriptors of this study between mother and infant gestures are a natural experiment and an observational study as natural experiments are observational studies that are not controlled in the traditional sense of a randomised experiment. The main reason for using the natural experiment is that it is an empirical study in which the experimental conditions are determined by nature or other factors out of the control of the researcher. Holly did not want to replicate existing studies on imitation that had been conducted in the unnatural surroundings of a laboratory.
This type of research is often utilized in situations where conducting lab research is unrealistic, cost prohibitive or would unduly affect the subject's behaviour. One of the advantages of this type of research is that it allows the experimenter to directly observe the subject in a natural setting, therefore allowing a truer insight into the subject’s natural behaviours. The main advantage of a naturalistic experiment is that it uses a naturally occurring situation, therefore it is valid. The disadvantages of naturalistic observation include the fact that it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of behaviour and the experimenter cannot control for outside variables. Furthermore untrue generalisations may be made using the information gathered on one subject and using this as a consensus for all subjects falling into that bracket.
The experimental method is a study of cause and effect. It differs from non-experimental methods in that it involves the deliberate manipulation of one variable (the independent), whilst keeping all other variables constant and specifically measuring the dependent variable. After an experiment is performed a statistical analysis of the results allows conclusion to be drawn between the relationship of the variables based on rejecting either the research hypothesis or the null hypothesis. The experimental method splits three different types, a field experiment (an experiment conducted in the natural environment), a natural or quasi experiment (when the independednt variable is natrurally occurring outside of the experiment) and finally a lab experiment. A lab experiment is different as it is in a controlled environment with control over the independent variable as well as all confounding variables, the dependent will be being measured.
Interpretivists are those who support the use of more humanistic methods within research as they believe society cannot be studied as a science because human behaviour is not governed by society. These sociologists each make different claims to support their use of either quantitative or qualitative data. Within this essay, the claims supporting the use of each data will be discussed as well as the claims to dispute them. Quantitative data, according to Mustapha (2009), is data that usually takes the form of statistical and numerical information. This form of data is obtained using various quantitative research methods such as questionnaires and structured interviews.
Positivists tend to use empirical research methods such as experiments and questionnaires to study sociology (Andrews). By using these methods, Positivists can be certain that they are obtaining the correct information. Not only that but by using empirical research methods, it is much easier for other sociologists to reproduce the same results they received. Durkheim, a strong believer in positivism, said that positivists are “in the same state of mind as a physicist, chemist or physiologist when he probes into a still unexplored region of the scientific domain” (Gordon). When Durkheim said that, he was saying that sociologists study sociology just like how a biologist studies photosynthesis.