2.2 Various methods of sociology; BINGO! I found my Research

2.2 Various methods of sociology;  BINGO!  I found my Research
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While we wait for class to begin, review the reading, An introduction to the day of the gang leader and be ready to discuss it.

Also, make sure you have the original research article ready for dissection.

HW: Read Joel Charon Should we recap?

The highlight of today’s lesson:

What are the different types of sociological research?

How do sociologists conduct research?

Venkatesh’s Gang leader for a day

Thoughts on reading?


Here is a view of the Robert Taylor Homes complex, a CHA project that used to be near Chicago. It was 28 buildings on a two-mile stretch for 11,000 people, but had a peak population of 27,000, 95% of whom were unemployed and 96% black.

1. What are two wide how do sociologists collect data? (Venkatesh mentions this).

2. Brainstorming:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two broad research methods?

Today’s lesson will focus on how sociologists actually do the work they preach. Venkatesh highlights the many different ways in which sociologists study society. We will use his introduction to dive into how sociologists conduct research.

Quantitative Quality
statistical analysis comparative descriptive analysis
values ​​without value are present and clear
less contextual/nuanced

many cases/entities less cases/entities
the researcher is detached the researcher is involved
research is focused research is open

Now let’s add other types of general research.

General types of sociological research

  • Longitudinal – a study in which subjects are studied over a long period of time. For example, a researcher might interview children at age 5, then at age 15, and again at age 25. Some studies have been carried out for decades by different researchers.
  • Cross section – a study that examines a group of people at one point in time. For example, a researcher can take a slice of the pie from different layers, such as people from a group like SHS. A study can study 10 students from each class to get an understanding of the whole school. The key is that the researcher is studying a large number of people from the same group/society.
  • Intercultural – a study that compares subjects from two or more cultures. Most importantly, cross-cultural research looks at people from different groups/societies and compares them.
  • Quality or Quantitative – qualitative is subjective and descriptive; it studies the properties of matter. Quantitative is objective and involves the study of numbers or statistics.

3. Is Venkatesh’s research better considered longitudinal or cross-sectional?

4. Do you have questions about general types of research?

What are the common types of research in the article you found?

Let us now examine the specific ways in which sociologists collect their research.

Methods of sociological research

Here are some of the most common research methods you’ll encounter in sociology:


Interview – questions that are open-ended.

Content analysis – examination of the content of media or other cultural production

Surveyquestionnaires which are closed type such as multiple choice or likert scale.

experiment/Audit investigation – comparing the responses of two or more different reactions.
Statistical analysisexisting sources (datasets such as GSS or census data)

The ASA has many more brief explanations of their sociological research Youtube channel here (see below). look at one and try to figure out what type of research the author used.

Which of the above techniques does Venkatesh use in the passage from Gang Leader? Explain when/how. (Of course he does 5 of them!)

What research method(s) does the researcher use in the article you found?

It’s important considerations conducting research; The importance of ethics and peer review in research:

Read this criticism Venkatesh’s creations and answer the question below.
What are the criticisms of the Venkatesh gang leader investigation?

More information on Venkatesh’s work:

Analyze the article found and identify the research method(s) used by the author(s).

Research bingo

Find someone who has one of these. You can only use each person once. Have that person sign in the square. When you have five in a row, shout bingo!

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