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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Practical Issues

Examine The Extent To Which Practical Issues Are The Most Important Influence When Selecting Research Method And A Research Type

If a sociologist wants to carry out an experiment there are many things they must consider like practical issues. These are things that may get in the way of an experiment. The experiment may have to change and develop to suit these practical issues, this can have a drastic effect on the experiment and may even stop it from been carried out.

For example; ethics. If you research on a person/group it can have a powerfuleffect on their lives, therefore a researcher must consider the impact of the experiment on their lives. The six ethics are: Consent, Deception, Privacy, Confidentiality, Protection and Legality. If these are not followed, the experiment could have serious effects on the person’s/group’s life. One example where these ethics were not carried out was the “Pygmalia In The Classroom” by Rosenthal & Jacobson (1968). In this experiment, Rosenthal predicted that, when given the information that certain students are brighter than others, elementary school teachers may unconsciously behave in ways that facilitate and encourage the students’ success. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. All of the ethics were broken; Consent, as the class did not know they were been observed. Deception, as the class were lied to. Privacy, as they kept the results. Confidentiality, as the results were released. Protection, as the students that were told they would do well had an unfair advantage over the other students. And legality, as now-a-days due to charities such as Barnardo’s you must have legal rights to observe children.

Another problem is bias. If TESCO were to ask the public what their favourite

supermarket is a biased experiment would be to ask the customers of TESCO instead of people on the street. The customers are a lot more likely to answer TESCO than any other supermarket if they are asked in the store whereas if people on the street were asked it would be much more fair. This can be used in many examples like official statistics where they may attempt to portray the government in a good light eg. Winning the war on crime.

In conclusion, practical issues are a major problem when deciding to carry out an experiment and all the ethic’s should be taken into consideration, and cleared. Only after doing so, can you begin to think about selecting a research method and a research type.

Chris Hopkin

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