Stages and types of an applied sociological research. Sociological research process Essay


Belarus State Economic University


& # 8220 ; Stages and types of an applied sociological research.

Sociological research procedure & # 8221 ;

Capital of belarus 2008

What is an applied sociological research?

Sociology can & # 8217 ; t be without assorted sorts of empiric information about societal procedures and events that take topographic point in the society. Such information can be found in the information of formal statistics published in magazines, bulletins etc. It can besides be obtained as a consequence of an applied sociological research ( ASR ) which differs from a cardinal research by its concluding consequence. A fundament research is aimed at acquiring new cognition while an applied sociological research is to be carried out to work out a peculiar societal job. This characteristic constitutes the ASR specificity.

The ASR specificity is made up of other characteristics, excessively. There are two types of applied sociological researches. The first 1 is to look into jobs which demand consequent and long-run managerial activities ; the 2nd 1 is carried out on petition of clients on one juncture. Success of such a research depends on common apprehension between a research worker and a client every bit far as its purposes, aims and expected consequences are concerned. Time factor is besides really of import as consequences should be gained in footings agreed upon by both sides.

Any ARS requires a solid theoretical footing. To work it out, a research worker should hold a good bid of a sociological conceptual setup. It is of great significance because different societal scientific disciplines and even different scientific schools within one scientific discipline brand usage of different constructs to explicate one and the same phenomenon. If it is a pure theoretical analysis, taking impressions and constructs makes no trouble, as a regulation. If it is empiric acquisition of a societal job, a sociologist should be able to do a correlativity of theoretic theoretical accounts with their parallels in existent life and correspondingly do usage of impressions and classs relevant for the given scientific position.

There are still arguments in sociology whether it should hold its ain conceptual setup. The statements are of instead a chief character because there is a close tie between people & # 8217 ; s mundane consciousness and societal scientific disciplines that has already resulted in borrowing many constructs from mundane consciousness to the conceptual setup of scientific discipline. For case, cardinal constructs & # 8220 ; involvement & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; motor & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; need & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; function & # 8221 ; etc. are but a few illustrations of this sort, and they differ from other sociological classs such as & # 8220 ; system & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; semiologies & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; functionalism & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; construction & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; stereotype & # 8221 ; etc. In contrast to sociology, in natural scientific disciplines the figure of borrowed mundane constructs is really little because there are fewer dabblers among chemists or physicists than among sociologists, whose function any individual without professional preparation is ready to execute.

Traditionally there are three types of constructs in sociology: those of general philosophic, those of expansive sociological and operational 1s. The first type of constructs exists in sociology because sociology emerged within societal doctrine and preserved many of its constructs such as & # 8220 ; society & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; societal norms & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; civilization & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; values & # 8221 ; etc. When became separated, sociology began working out its ain setup related to the countries of societal life considered its object of research, for case, & # 8220 ; societal action & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; societal establishment & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; societal procedure & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; societal control & # 8221 ; etc. At the operational degree ( that of roll uping empiric informations ) , sociologists make usage of constructs called variables which define people & # 8217 ; s sentiment of person or something, income degree of a separate societal group etc.

Anyhow, the figure of constructs and footings is invariably increasing due to the latest finds which are made in modern scientific discipline altering the image of societal universe and due to the procedures taking topographic point in modern society.

Diverseness of the conceptual setup shows that holding one and the same object of analysis, each scientific position in sociology singles out different capable countries in it. It means that the contents of a given construct may be brought approximately in a different manner so as to what scientific school or paradigm it is studied by. For case, doctrine histories for 60 definitions of personality and 400 definitions of civilization. Similar differences can be seen in sociology every bit good. So each construct and term reflects definite attacks and constructs, and within them & # 8211 ; qualities, features of objects, phenomena, processes etc. being under survey by research workers of those constructs and positions.

The function of the conceptual setup is seen as dual: foremost, it reflects the province of scientific construct of the analyzed object ; 2nd, it serves as the footing for working out a system of variables used in sociological studies, observations, experiments etc.

Phases and types of an applied sociological research

The purpose of an applied sociological research is to acquire facts to run into the clients & # 8217 ; practical demands, and it is carried out to corroborate or reject a hypothesis. There are four phases in it: 1 ) a preparative phase, 2 ) a field phase, 3 ) readying for processing and treating the information, 4 ) analysing the information and describing the findings.

At the ASR preparatory phase the subject is made specified, a theoretic construct and research design are developed, a sample is made, tools of research are determined, research groups are formed, agendas are made, material and proficient supply is discussed.

The purpose of the ASR field phase is to roll up primary sociological information in natural scene, or & # 8220 ; in field & # 8221 ; . The informations can be obtained from people in category, at work, in and out-of-doorss, on the issue etc. with different agencies and tools fixed by a research design.

Preparation for processing and processing of informations. The obtained information demands look intoing up and regulation. The whole sum of information is studied from the point of view of the infusion & # 8217 ; s divergence from calculated parametric quantities. The process includes looking through methodic paperss to see if they are filled in an exact and complete manner, with high quality, so reject as faulty those documents which don & # 8217 ; t fulfill the necessary demands. Open inquiries are decoded, and the informations can be processed with the computing machine. If the sum is little, it may be given a manual analysis.

Analyzing the information and describing the findings. At this phase, decisions are made if the hypotheses have been confirmed or rejected, societal relationships, inclinations, contradictions, paradoxes, new societal jobs are revealed, consequences of the research are given form of a papers. Such paperss are 1 ) information notes ; 2 ) information study ; 3 ) analytical study ; 4 ) study on research. The last two paperss should incorporate decisions and recommendations on how to work out the learnt job.

Due to depth of analysing the topic of research and degree of complexness of aims being solved, there are three basic types of an ASR: a pilot, descriptive and analytical 1s.

A pilot ASR is aimed at look intoing up how a basic ASR is prepared. It covers little sums of phenomena and is based on a simple research design, so elements of the basic ASR are to be checked up: its aims, hypotheses, constructs, tools etc are specified. Very frequently new hypotheses are formed as a consequence of the pilot ASR.

A descriptive ASR is to acquire empiric informations enabling to do up an built-in presentation of a learnt phenomenon and its structural elements. It is based on a research design worked out in item, and an sanctioned set of tools is used. A descriptive ASR is used when the object of analysis is a comparatively large sum of elements with assorted features. With a descriptive ASR, one can compare and face the object & # 8217 ; s characteristics, find out if there are societal dealingss between them etc.

An analytical ASR is the deepest type of sociological analysis with the purpose of both depicting structural elements of the survey phenomenon and happening out causes impacting its character and specificity. It needs a batch of clip, a elaborate research design and approved tools. By its methods of roll uping empirical informations, an analytical ASR is of a complex character as the informations can be obtained with assorted signifiers of study, papers analysis and observation.

Another typology of ASR is based on whether an object is studied in statics or kineticss.

An instant ASR provides information about the province of an object and its features at the minute of its survey, or in statics. The information gathered that manner bears inactive character as it reflects the object at a individual point of clip and can & # 8217 ; t demo alterations or inclinations of the object development in due class.

A perennial ASR is a survey of one and the same object or objects carried out over a period of clip or at several different points in clip under same or different conditions, or in kineticss. Bing instead complex by character, it requires rich methodic and methodological experience that a sociologist must hold.

Learning societal phenomena means acquiring and analysing tonss of information that is frequently non-systematic, non-comparable, obtained from different beginnings with different degrees of dependability etc. In order to acquire a dependable image of societal world and kineticss of societal procedures, it & # 8217 ; s necessary to roll up the informations that most wholly reflect societal alteration, can be easy classified, systematized and given a quantitative generalisation. So, roll uping information should be done on a particular intent.

The most effectual manner to make it is societal monitoring as an built-in system to acquire the informations about the phenomena and processes taking topographic point in the society. Social monitoring is designed to repair, maintain and do primary analysis of the obtained information, that & # 8217 ; s why it requires theoretic, methodological footing and proficient agencies to analyse the information. Monitoring is carried out by a individual Centre which provides processing of the informations and makes them available for every client.

Social monitoring is traditionally viewed as including two subsystems: statistical monitoring and sociological monitoring. Statistical monitoring is a system of acquiring quantitative features of different sides of the society. Its purpose is to roll up statistical indices, parametric quantities, coefficients etc. so that research workers can do an efficient analysis of political,

economic, societal and other phenomena.

In bend, sociological monitoring is needed to supervise alterations taking topographic point in the society. Sociological monitoring is an built-in system based on survey and analysis of mass constructs about the given alterations. Its purpose is to acquire new sociological information on a systemic manner & # 8211 ; every little period of clip, say, month or one-fourth. That & # 8217 ; s why it requires obligatory monthly and quarterly express-surveys on most existent societal jobs.

Each subsystem provides different sorts of information: sociological information reflects people & # 8217 ; s subjective sentiments on assorted issues while statistical & # 8211 ; describes assorted phenomena with nonsubjective quantitative parametric quantities. Distinguishing by the character of informations, the subsystems comply with the rules of their organizing. When united, they become parts of an built-in system of societal monitoring that provides a complex analysis of the obtained informations. Its consequences serve as a dependable footing for pulling decisions on worlds & # 8217 ; behaviour under nonsubjective conditions of life, and how worlds & # 8217 ; involvements, values, motivations and purposes of their activities affect these conditions.

Sociological research procedure

An ASR has its ain construction and methodological analysis but methodological analysis, no affair what type a research can be, assumes a common foundation. First, after stipulating the subject and choosing the type of an ASR, at the preparatory phase sociologists should develop a research design. A research design is of great importance as it gives theoretic evidences for methodological attacks, methods and techniques of larning the object and topic of research. It consists of two parts & # 8211 ; methodological and proceeding 1s.

A methodological portion is to demo what is studied. Its map is to clearly specify the survey job, formulate purposes and aims, make a primary analysis of the object and topic of research, put frontward hypotheses, select basic constructs and do their reading.

A proceeding portion is to demo how to analyze: what methods of research are applied, and what sample is selected. It besides contains a research lineation, agenda, participants & # 8217 ; responsibilities, costs etc.

A methodological portion is the first measure which is to choose the job by finding what the research worker wants to cognize about the subject. He conducts a reappraisal of the literature ( relevant books and scholarly articles ) to assist to polish the job, find where spreads exist, and note errors to avoid. Before get downing the research, it is of import to analyse what others have written about the subject. Here a research worker trades with a job state of affairs & # 8211 ; a contradiction between cognition of people & # 8217 ; s demands in some actions and deficiency of ways, methods and agencies of recognizing such actions. A job state of affairs is non indistinguishable with a job. It can be considered within the model of a job but it can be wider or narrower than the latter. Normally, analysis of the job state of affairs begins with specifying the contradictions that specify a given state of affairs. The illustration of a job state of affairs can be a contradiction between a individual & # 8217 ; s need in employment and possibilities of a modern labor market: more people seeking for a occupation and fewer vacancies in the labor market.

Then the object of research or unit of analysis ( the term used by Western sociologists ) is defined. It can change from societal artefacts, phenomena, procedures or groups to a society on the whole. Very frequently the object of research is people grouped into assorted communities, organisations or involved in different societal procedures because people bear a definite societal job. For case, at larning the jobs of employment of young person in Belarus, everybody who symbolizes the contradiction in the given country should be regarded as the object of research. It can be both bing and possible employers of a certain age, employees, legislatures who make Torahs of labor, representatives of province organic structures of power and administration engaged in work outing employment issues.

The object of research should be characterized from the point of view of its country ( a state, part, metropolis, enterprise etc ) , clip ( a period and footings of transporting out a research ) and subdivision ( type of activities such as industry, civilization, instruction etc ) . For case, the object of research is student young person of Belarus in early Twenty-one century.

Frequently a selected object is excessively large for quantitative analysis that & # 8217 ; s why a research worker should specify an approximative size of the general sample. A general sample is the figure of units with a common characteristic imputing these units to the analyzed entity. For case, when any societal job experienced by pupils of Minsk is studied, pupils of Minsk are the object of research. It embraces everybody who surveies at province and private establishments in Minsk ( universities, institutes, colleges and vocational schools ) , viz. misss and male childs of all old ages of survey & # 8211 ; from first to fifth. And the general sample here is the statistic figure of all pupils who study in Minsk. It & # 8217 ; s a great figure, for case, 27,000 daylight and portion clip pupils study merely at the Belarus State Economic University, and it & # 8217 ; s non expedient to set every of them under analysis. So sociologists use a random sample choosing a group of units ( a sample ) for survey from a larger group. Each unit is chosen wholly by opportunity that is known, but perchance non-equal, to be included in the sample. There are a batch of methods to supply dependability of including units into a random sample so that sociologists can acquire dependable informations. In our instance, a random sample can be a figure of pupils taken in proportion to the entire figure of pupils analyzing at every establishment of larning located in Minsk.

Besides the object of research it & # 8217 ; s necessary to specify the topic of research that fixes the bounds under which the object should be studied. It helps the research worker to see the object & # 8217 ; s definite characteristic, quality or differentiation in a elaborate manner. Qualities, characteristics, relationships and the similar are selected so that they can be described, classified and measured. For case, it & # 8217 ; s impossible to look into pupils & # 8217 ; all societal jobs in one research but their attitudes to surveies, absenteeism, their satisfaction with methods of learning etc. can be under survey.

After that research workers should sound purposes and aims. Aim is the concluding consequence research workers want to acquire. The ASR is to obtain a practical purpose, find ways to work out a societal job, work out recommendations that & # 8217 ; s why a freshness component is less of import in it. Aims are a entirety of definite purposeful orientations which provide extra demands to analysing and work outing the job.

Now research workers may explicate a hypothesis & # 8211 ; a statement of the relationship between two or more constructs, the object & # 8217 ; s construction, or possible ways to work out a job. Hypothesiss are called working if they contain preliminary account of the phenomenon or procedure which is good plenty for the first phase of research. At analysing the object, a general hypothesis is defined but it is frequently excessively theoretic for an ASR and requires transmutation. Harmonizing to the contents, hypotheses autumn into describing, explanatory and prediction, harmonizing to the degree of development & # 8211 ; into primary ( if put frontward before roll uping the information ) and secondary ( if corrected and formulated while analysing the information ) .

The last subdivision of the methodological portion is entitled & # 8220 ; Basic constructs, their reading and operationalization & # 8221 ; . Concepts are known to hold an abstract character that & # 8217 ; s why in explicating a hypothesis constructs are converted to variables & # 8211 ; constructs with mensurable traits or features that can alter or change from one individual ( clip, state of affairs, or society ) to another. For case, at larning adolescents & # 8217 ; aberrant behavior, the topic is & # 8220 ; adolescents & # 8217 ; deviant behavior & # 8221 ; . This abstract construct is used in the hypothesis that there is a direct relationship of parents & # 8217 ; aberrant behavior and their kids & # 8217 ; s deviant behavior. To look into up this hypothesis the construct & # 8220 ; deviant behavior & # 8221 ; should be converted to a variable that is done phase by phase. The first phase is the construct & # 8217 ; s theoretic reading. It & # 8217 ; s non easy because different scientific beginnings can hold different readings of one and the same construct. A basic ( abstract ) construct frequently contains variables or peculiar constructs that are less abstract. The 2nd phase is operationalization or change overing constructs to mono-semantic footings, happening their parallels in existent life or its empiric indexs. Operational variables constitute the instruments to roll up empiric informations.

The 2nd portion of a research design is the continuing portion which includes a set of methods and technique of research. It means the continuing portion describes ways of roll uping, processing and analysing the information. As a regulation, an ASR is carried out on the footing of a random sample, and its chief demand is to be representative that & # 8217 ; s why a random sample should stand for basic features of a general sample. If the state & # 8217 ; s population or its portion a research worker intends analyzing is a general sample, the figure of interviewed persons is a random one.

As a regulation, the general sample is defined by the purpose of research, and a random one & # 8211 ; by mathematic methods. When a sociologist is traveling to analyze how Belarusian young person spends its trim clip, he defines all immature people populating in Belarus as the general sample but he & # 8217 ; ll have to oppugn merely a portion of them as a random sample. The latter can precisely stand for the general sample if a research worker follows the regulation: each immature individual must hold an equal opportunity to be included into the random sample, no affair where he lives, works or surveies, what sex, age, province of wellness or the like he has. A research worker can & # 8217 ; t inquiry respondents if they are most available or selected on intent. Choice of respondents is done with a mechanism of probabilistic pick and particular mathematic processs supplying a higher degree of objectiveness and dependability. An inadvertent method is regarded as the best manner to pick up typical representatives of the general sample.

Extra literature

1. Blau P. Exchange and Power in Social Life. ( 3rd edition ) . & # 8211 ; New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 1992. & # 8211 ; 354 P.

2. Bourdeiu P. Logic of Practice. & # 8211 ; Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990. & # 8211 ; 382 P.

3. Coser L. The Functions of Social Conflict. & # 8211 ; Glencoe, Ill: Free Press, 1956. & # 8211 ; 188 P.

4. Durkheim E. The Division of Labour in Society. & # 8211 ; New York, NY: Free Press ; 1997. & # 8211 ; 272 P.

5. Durkheim E. Suicide. & # 8211 ; New York, NY: Free Press ; 1951. & # 8211 ; 345 P.