Research Methods in Sociology and Anthropology Essay

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When designing a research project, Sociologists and Anthropologists have several different research methods to choose from. Each of them have advantages and disadvantages and the researchers must carefully choose which one(s) they want to use, depending upon the research being conducted and the questions being answered. This paper will take a look at 2 research methods used by Sociologists and 2 research methods used by Anthropologists. Philosophical justifications for these methods will be discussed and their approaches compared. Two Research Methods Used in Sociology There are 4 different research methods used by Sociologists: surveys, participant observation, experiments and secondary analysis. For this paper, I will be discussing surveys and participant observation. A survey is a form of research in which a population, or portion thereof, is questioned to reveal specific facts about itself.(1) These surveys are usually conducted over a very brief period of time and consist of large numbers of subjects. One example of a survey is a market research survey, which is often conducted at shopping malls. Shoppers are asked to participate in blind taste tests of two kinds of soda then answer a questionnaire stating which soda they preferred and why. This is a simple type of survey research. An example of a more complex type of survey is the one conducted by the United States Census Bureau. Participant observation is a more personal form of research where the researcher attempts to personally know as many of the group members as possible.(1) It is usually conducted on a small group of participants. This research method differs from the survey method because researchers are not trying to study a specifically chosen set of people. Instead, they are trying to know everyone in the group being studied. Success of the study depends upon the relationships developed between

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