Using Quizlet for Teaching A-level Sociology. As noted earlier, the most common unit of analysis in sociology is the person; this is probably the type of research with which you are most familiar. As researchers analyze their data, they naturally try to determine whether their analysis supports their hypothesis. Many hypotheses in sociology involve variables concerning people, but many also involve variables concerning organizations and geographical locations. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 28(3), 330–359. To satisfy this criterion, the researcher must be sure that the independent variable precedes the dependent variable in time or in logic. The scientist compares the results both to the original hypothesis and the conclusions of previous experiments by other researchers. It was established about 160 years ago and has made many notable accomplishments over the years, including aiding the victims of the Titanic disaster in 1912, helping initiate the free school lunch program that is now found around the United States, and establishing the largest senior volunteer program in the nation. Crafting a hypothesis requires you to define the variables you're researching (e.g., who or what you're studying), explain them with clarity and explain your position. 7.4 The Get-Tough Approach: Boon or Bust? Another specific type of nonrandom sample is the quota sample. Figure 2.3 Causal Path for the Independent and Dependent Variable. Describe the different types of units of analysis in sociology. Like other social scientists (and probably also natural and physical scientists), many sociologists have had various experiences during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood that lead them to study a topic from a sociological standpoint. In “the old days,” researchers would conduct a literature review primarily by going to an academic library, consulting a printed index of academic journals, trudging through shelf after shelf of printed journals, and photocopying articles they found or taking notes on index cards. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. It is at this stage that the findings will emerge: if there is a hypothesis, is it supported? The government and private research organizations also publish reports that researchers consult for their literature reviews. Suppose we want to test the hypothesis that women were more likely than men to have voted for Obama in 2008. Data collection involves carrying out the experiment the scientist designed. Another common unit of analysis in sociology is the organization. Figure 2.5 “Diagram of a Spurious Relationship” diagrams this particular spurious relationship; notice that there is no causal arrow between the attending college and having acne variables. Instead of asking couples how happy they are through a questionnaire, the researcher decides to observe couples as they walk through a shopping mall. Does this mean that attending college causes worse acne? In this example, the city is the unit of analysis. If the data are quantitative, the analysis will almost certainly use highly sophisticated statistical techniques beyond the scope of this discussion. Figure 2.5 Diagram of a Spurious Relationship. A hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable, meaning there must be a way to test the hypothesis and it can either be supported or rejected based on examining data. Key variables in sociological studies of people as the units of analysis include gender, race and ethnicity, social class, age, and any number of attitudes and behaviors. Thus, there is a feedback loop from step eleven back up to step one. The students who happen to be in the student center on a particular day might be very different in many respects from most other students on the campus. The major regions of the United States are often compared on various characteristics. Sociological research consists of several stages. In a random sample, everyone in the population (whether it be the whole U.S. population or just the population of a state or city, all the college students in a state or city or all the students at just one college, and so forth) has the same chance of being included in the survey. Often, the nature of the research question influences how the scientific research will be conducted. How will the study improve on the methodology of earlier studies? 4. After all data have been gathered, the next stage is to analyze the data. Because it is certainly impossible to study everybody, the researcher only studies a sample, or subset of the population of people in whom the researcher is interested. What research design did they use? After the literature review has been completed, it is time to formulate the hypothesis that will guide the study. In one notable finding, the South has the highest regional homicide rate. Calculating the statistics for a scientific research experiment uses both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics measures. Typically, a research project must answer at least one of these questions satisfactorily for it to have a chance of publication in a scholarly journal, and a thorough literature review is necessary to determine the new study’s possible contribution.