foster ethical research and professionally responsible scholarship in sociology
secondary data as it relates to the study at hand
not necessarily indicate causation
being observed by a researcher
topic or subject through observation or interaction; this approach is not based on hypothesis
on a topic to create a basis for new research
if a study is reproduced
researching existing sources, forming a hypothesis, designing and conducting a study, and
opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire
a study and in publishing results
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.
according to the topic of the study.
weighed to see how much weight they gained. Which factor is the dependent variable?
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.
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.
vending machines from schools
researcher ethically be unable to accept funding?