Intro to Sociology – Chapter 2 Review

case study
in-depth analysis of a single event, situation, or individual

code of ethics
a set of guidelines that the American Sociological Association has established to
foster ethical research and professionally responsible scholarship in sociology

content analysis
applying a systematic approach to record and value information gleaned from
secondary data as it relates to the study at hand

control group
an experimental group that is not exposed to the independent variable

when a change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable, but does
not necessarily indicate causation

dependent variables
changed by other variables

empirical evidence
evidence corroborated by direct experience and/or observation

observing a complete social setting and all that it entails

the testing of a hypothesis under controlled conditions

field research
gathering data from a natural environment without doing a lab experiment or a

Hawthorne effect
when study subjects behave in a certain manner due to their awareness of
being observed by a researcher

an educated guess with predicted outcomes about the relationship between two or
more variables

independent variables
cause changes in dependent variables

interpretive framework
a sociological research approach that seeks in-depth understanding of a
topic or subject through observation or interaction; this approach is not based on hypothesis

a one-on-one conversation between the researcher and the subject

literature review
a scholarly research step that entails identifying and studying all existing studies
on a topic to create a basis for new research

nonreactive research
using secondary data, does not include direct contact with subjects and will not alter or influence people’s behaviors

operational definitions
specific explanations of abstract concepts that a researcher plans to study

participant observation
when a researcher immerses herself in a group or social setting in order to make observations from an “insider” perspective

a defined group serving as the subject of a study

primary data
data that are collected directly from firsthand experience

qualitative data
comprise information that is subjective and often based on what is seen in a
natural setting

quantitative data
represent research collected in numerical form that can be counted

random sample
a study’s participants being randomly selected to serve as a representation of a
larger population

a measure of a study’s consistency that considers how likely results are to be replicated
if a study is reproduced

research design
a detailed, systematic method for conducting research and obtaining data

small, manageable number of subjects that represent the population

scientific method
an established scholarly research method that involves asking a question,
researching existing sources, forming a hypothesis, designing and conducting a study, and
drawing conclusions

secondary data analysis
using data collected by others but applying new interpretations

collect data from subjects who respond to a series of questions about behaviors and
opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire

the degree to which a sociological measure accurately reflects the topic of study

value neutrality
a practice of remaining impartial, without bias or judgment during the course of
a study and in publishing results

2.1 Approaches to Sociological Research
Using the scientific method, a researcher conducts a study in five phases: asking a question, researching
existing sources, formulating a hypothesis, conducting a study, and drawing conclusions. The scientific
method is useful in that it provides a clear method of organizing a study. Some sociologists conduct
research through an interpretive framework rather than employing the scientific method.

Scientific sociological studies often observe relationships between variables. Researchers study how
one variable changes another. Prior to conducting a study, researchers are careful to apply operational
definitions to their terms and to establish dependent and independent variables.

A measurement is considered ______ if it actually measures what it is intended to measure,
according to the topic of the study.

Sociological studies test relationships in which change in one ______ causes change in another.

In a study, a group of 10-year-old boys are fed doughnuts every morning for a week and then
weighed to see how much weight they gained. Which factor is the dependent variable?
The weight gained

Which statement provides the best operational definition of “childhood obesity”?
Body weight at least 20% higher than a healthy weight for a child of that height

2.2 Research Methods
Sociological research is a fairly complex process. As you can see, a lot goes into even a simple research
design. There are many steps and much to consider when collecting data on human behavior, as well as
in interpreting and analyzing data in order to form conclusive results. Sociologists use scientific
methods for good reason. The scientific method provides a system of organization that helps
researchers plan and conduct the study while ensuring that data and results are reliable, valid, and

The many methods available to researchers—including experiments, surveys, field studies, and
secondary data analysis—all come with advantages and disadvantages. The strength of a study can
depend on the choice and implementation of the appropriate method of gathering research. Depending
on the topic, a study might use a single method or a combination of methods. It is important to plan a
research design before undertaking a study. The information gathered may in itself be surprising, and
the study design should provide a solid framework in which to analyze predicted and unpredicted data.

Which materials are considered secondary data?
Books and articles written by other authors about their studies

What method did researchers John Mihelich and John Papineau use to study Parrotheads?

Why is choosing a random sample an effective way to select participants?
Everyone has the same chance of being part of the study

What research method did John S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd mainly use in their Middletown
Participant observation

Which research approach is best suited to the scientific method?

The main difference between ethnography and other types of participant observation is:
ethnography isn’t based on hypothesis testing

Which best describes the results of a case study?
Its results are not generally applicable

Using secondary data is considered an unobtrusive or ________ research method.

2.3 Ethical Concerns
Sociologists and sociology students must take ethical responsibility for any study they conduct. They
must first and foremost guarantee the safety of their participants. Whenever possible, they must ensure
that participants have been fully informed before consenting to be part of a study.

The ASA (American Sociological Association) maintains ethical guidelines that sociologists must take
into account as they conduct research. The guidelines address conducting studies, properly using
existing sources, accepting funding, and publishing results.

Sociologists must try to maintain value neutrality. They must gather and analyze data objectively,
setting aside their personal preferences, beliefs, and opinions. They must report findings accurately,
even if they contradict personal convictions.

Which statement illustrates value neutrality?
In 2003, states like Arkansas adopted laws requiring elementary schools to remove soft drink
vending machines from schools

Which person or organization defined the concept of value neutrality?
Max Weber

To study the effects of fast food on lifestyle, health, and culture, from which group would a
researcher ethically be unable to accept funding?
A fast-food restaurant