There is a lot of information in your textbook about the different research methods sociologists use. The best way to really understand these methods is to try to think like a sociologist and put them into practice. In this exercise, you will select a research topic and do just that! 

[download the assignment here: 
SOC200_ResearchMethodsAssign.rtf  ] 

Overview of Activity: 

  1. Select research question
  2. Choose two research methods that would be effective in answering this research question
  3. Write up your answer and post it to the discussion board
  4. Review and discuss your classmates’ work

Detailed Instructions: 

Step 1: Select a research question 

Select one of the research questions listed below to be the example you will use for this assignment. If you have another research question you’d like to use instead, email me and I’ll be happy to approve it if it will work effectively in this assignment. 

  • Why do teenagers first start smoking?
  • Are children who watch violent TV more violent in real life?
  • Are Americans today less racist than they were 30 years ago?
  • Are the divorces of people who married young based on the same reasons as the divorces of those who married at 27 or older?
  • Why are girls less likely than boys to pursue science and math as college majors or careers?
  • Why do wealthy executives commit white collar crimes like embezzlement and fraud?
  • Why are there more gun crimes in the United States than in Canada, France, or Japan?
  • Why did communism fail in the USSR but continues to exist in Cuba?
  • How does keeping a pet affect people’s health?
  • Do doctors give better health care to men than they do to women?
  • Does having an African -American teacher make it more likely that African-American students will be successful in school?
  • Are people more likely to tell the truth when they are alone, or when they are in a group?

Step 2: Select TWO research methods to use to answer your chosen research question 

With your chosen research question in mind, think back through the various research methods you learned about in Chapter 2. Think about how each one could be used to answer your research question, and then select the two that you think would produce the best results. 

Select from: 

  • Ethnography
  • Survey
  • Experiment
  • Life history
  • Comparative research
  • Historical analysis
  • Comparative historical research

Step 3: Write Up 

Write three to five about each research method you have selected, explaining how you would use that method to study the research question you selected. (For example, you might need to discuss the types of people you would study, in what ways or settings, the types of questions you might ask them or what you might observe them doing, the other materials or existing data you might use in your research, etc.) 

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