Examine Why Some Sociologists Choose Not To Use Ex Essay

452 WordsFeb 9, 20122 Pages
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. Assuming it is possible to create a controlled environment for sociological experiments; there are still many practical issues with experimental methods; firstly there is no possible way for experiments to research past social trends which reduces the range of information available to a sociologist. Secondly, if a laboratory environment has been created for sociology, this could only be used to study limited sample and therefore would not create very reliable data. Finally it is argued that the artificial environment of and experiment would provoke the ‘Hawthorne Effect (Elton Mayo) ‘because if people know they are being studied, they will behave differently e.g. by trying to second guess what the researcher wants them to do and acting accordingly, which would not give very valid data. An obvious solution to this would be observing people without their knowledge, however this causes a lot of ethical issues; a general rule of sociological research is that a person must give their informed consent to be studied. Informed consent can be difficult to find with certain groups, for example children, as this would also require their parent or guardian to give consent, making obtaining data even more difficult and time consuming. Misleading people to
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