Sociological perspective on how to view the world

SWA#1: Sociological Study Design

due: Beginning of Class

Think about a subject that you would like to research further. Then, analyze and explain how you would conduct this research according to the steps of the scientific method for sociological research.  The structure of this assignment is derived from the scientific research process presented in ES on pages 46-47 as well as the lecture slides from “How do We View the World? Part 1.”

For Step 1, choose a topic of sociological interest. Be sure to include why you chose the topic and why it would be interesting to sociologists. So, don’t just choose something obvious like “Cigarettes and health.”  Everybody already knows about that. Choose something that merits actually doing research. Remember, sociologists are interested in the relationship between individuals and society.  So, a topic like, “Green leaf vegetables and cancer,” while both important and interesting, is not really a sociological study, but more like health sciences or nutrition.

For Step 2, think about and compose a specific research question that emerges from your general topic of interest.  Then, create a falsifiable hypothesis about how the relationship in your research question might function.  Make sure your hypothesis is a testable statement (not a question) that could be determined to be false at the conclusion of your research (if it were to actually be conducted). Based on your hypothesis, you should come up with and clearly identify at least one dependent and one independent variable. These variables should generally come from your hypothesis.  You should also identify at least one control variable that might affect your results, and explain how this control variable may affect the relationship between your independent and dependent variables.

For Step 3, describe your target population and type of study. That is, tell me who or what exactly is going to be in your study and how you would go about getting access to this group.   At this point, it is also important to think about what type of sample you will collect and whether you will be able to generalize findings from your sample to your population.

Skip steps 4, 5 and 6.


The final copy of this assignment is worth 20 points.

topic of sociological interest (2)

why you chose the topic (2)

why it would be interesting to sociologists (2)

specific research question (2)

hypothesis (2), must be both falsifiable (1) and testable (1)

identify at least one dependent variable (2)

identify at least one independent variable (2)

identify at least one control variable (2)

target population (1/2) and

type of study (1/2).

Is the sample random? (1/2)

Will findings from the sample be generalizable to the target population? (1/2)


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