Please refer to Doing Sociology Research Methods Class 11 Sociology notes and questions with solutions below. These revision notes and important examination questions have been prepared based on the latest Sociology books for Class 11. You can go through the questions and solutions below which will help you to get better marks in your examinations.
Class 11 Sociology Doing Sociology Research Methods Notes and Questions
Objectivity and Subjectivity
If the research is unbiased and based on facts alone, it is said to be objective. To become objective in sociological research is more difficult than natural sciences. The opposite of objectivity is subjectivity. The research that is based on individual values and preferences is called subjective research. If the community identities of the researcher like family, caste, religion, class, etc are influenced in the social research, it becomes subjective.
Self reflexivity is needed to make the research more objective. The ability of viewing one’s own research in the view point of the subjects of research is called Self reflexivity. The documentation of all procedures and the sources of evidences, and the presentation of social background of the researcher are helpful to make objectivity in the research.
The multiple versions of truth in the social world and many perspectives in the social sciences arise further complications in the realisation of objectivity.
Multiple Methods and Choice of Methods
There different methods in sociological research. Different methods are more or less suited to tackle different types of research questions. Moreover, every method has its own strengths and weaknesses. The method chosen for the research should be appropriate one for answering the question that is being asked. For eg. In order to find out whether Indian families are still ‘joint families’, then a census or survey is the best method. if one wishes to compare the status of women in joint and nuclear families, then interviews, case studies or participant observation may all be appropriate methods..
Different Ways to classify Various Research Methods
1. Quantitative and Qualitative methods: Quantitative method deals with countable or measurable variables like proportions, averages, etc. Qualitative method deals with more abstract and hard to measure phenomena like attitudes, emotions and so on.
2. Methods based on primary and secondary data) :Methods that are based on the data collected by the researcher afresh are called Methods based on primary data. Surveys and interviews generate
primary data. But methods that rely on already existing data in the form of documents or other records and artefacts are based on secondary data. Historical methods rely on secondary material found in archives.
3. Micro and Macro Methods : Methods designed to work in small intimate settings usually with a single researcher are called micro methods. Eg:-interview and participant observation. Methods designed to tackle large scale research involving large numbers of respondents and investigators are called macro methods .Eg:-Survey and Historical methods.
Use of multiple methods to bear on the same research problem from different vantage points in order to complement each other to produce a much better result is referred to as triangulation.
Participant observation refers to a particular method by which sociologist learns about society, culture and people by living among the community as one of them. This method is often called field work as s/he studies the people in their own fields.
Merits of participant observation : it enables in depth study and allows much time to correct the initial mistakes.
Demerits : Generalisation is not possible and it needs longer period.
Field work in Social Anthropology
Bronislaw Malinowski, a Polish anthropologist, is believed to have established field work as the distinctive method of social anthropology. He lived with the tribes of Trobriand islands of Southern Pacific for a year and half observing their social life and finally wrote a famous book about their culture. The major steps of participant observation conducted by social anthropologists are;
1. to conduct a census in order to collect the details like sex, age and family of the people under study.
2.to map the physical layout of the village or settlement, including the location of houses and other socially relevant sites.
3.to construct a genealogy of the community based on the information obtained in the census.
4. to create a family tree for individual members. This exercise helps the social anthropologist to understand the kinship system of the community.
5.to prepare a diary notes after learning the language of the community on the daily life of the people and significant aspects like Festivals, religious or other collective events, modes of earning a living, family relations, modes of child rearing, etc .The anthropologist usually depends on one or two people for most of the information. Such people are called ‘informants’ or ‘principal informants.
Field work in Sociology
The famous American Sociologist, William Foote Whyte Spent three and half years with members of the gang in an American slum who were mostly poor unemployed youth by observing their life and wrote a book ‘Street Conrner Society’. Another American sociologist, Michael Burawoy , worked for several months as a machinist in a Chicago factory and wrote about the experience of work from the perspective of workers.
The major field works conducted in sociology in these days are village studies. Examples of village studies are ‘Remembered village’ of M.N.Srinivas, and ‘Indian village’ of S.C. Dube. The major differences between field works of sociology and social anthropology are;
Survey is a research method that provides an aggregated picture about a large population in a short period of time. Now a days, Sample surveys are conducted extensively. it allows to generalise results for a large group while actually studying only a small portion of this population who are representatives. The large group is called population and the small representative group is called sample. Samples are selected from population depending up on following two principles;
1. Stratification: After considering the relevant subgroups of population like caste, class, religion, age, gender,etc, the samples are selected. This is called stratified sampling.
2. Randomisation: This is the method of sample selection from the units of person or village or household purely on chance. For eg, when we toss a coin, the chance of falling with the ‘head’ side up or the ‘tail’ side up is exactly the same.
The characteristics of the sample will closely resemble the characteristics of the population it is drawn from. There may be small differences, but the chance of such deviationsoccuring can be specified. The error occured by using a small sample to stand for a large population is known as the margin of error, or sampling error.
Errors due not to the sampling process but to faults or shortcomings of the research design or the manner in which it was implemented are non-sampling errors. If the questions in the survey become more personal or provoking, the respondents will not respond honestly.
Merits of survey :it allows data collection from a large population in a short period and it enables generalisation.
Demerit: it does not provide in depth information.
Interview is a method of collecting data through the face to face conversation. It has two forms; structured and unstructured. Structured interview is a type of formal interview in which the order of questions are already prepared and the information is collected in the order of questions. Unstructured interview is an informal method in which questions are not prepared in advance but asked in accordance to the context.