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BSOC-112: Sociological Research Methods -I

BSOC-112: Sociological Research Methods -I

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BASOH/BSOC 112/2022-2023

Course Code: BSOC-112

Assignment Name: Sociological Research Methods I

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment I


Answer the following Descriptive Category Questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks. 2× 20 = 40


1. What is objectivity? Discuss Weber’s view on objectivity in social science research.

Ans) Since Auguste Comte first conceptualised the field of sociology, there has been a concern with objectivity in social science research in general and sociology in particular. Due to the methodologies and methodology, the founding fathers considered it challenging to establish sociology as the science of society on par with the natural sciences since it analyses humans, unlike the subject matter in the natural sciences, who have their own faculty to respond to external stimulus. Therefore, everyone was concerned with objectivity in order to establish sociology as a science.


According to Georg Simmel, objectivity represents the pinnacle of Western cultural development. In layman's terms, objectivity can be defined as the directive provided to the researcher to be objective and receptive to criticism. It implies that information and facts must be independently checked, and conclusions must be reached based solely on the facts, devoid of any value judgments or preconceived assumptions and independent of the individual's personal opinions. Since objectivity assumes that reality can be comprehended objectively, it also assumes that objectivity is the intended outcome of all scientific investigation.


Positivism, which contends that researchers should remain detached from the subjects they examine so that findings depend on the nature of what was studied rather than on the personality, beliefs, and values of the researcher, is where objectivity in social research first emerged. Objectivity is frequently regarded as a benchmark for scientific investigation, as a justification for the value placed on scientific information, and as the foundation for the legitimacy of research in society.


Weber Views on Objectivity: The fundamental significance of objective sociology was taken into account at the outset of Weber's social science methodology. He believed that no scientific analysis could be considered objective while incorporating ethical principles. Many people in Weber's era did not think that sociology could be objective because values were not removed from the study process. Weber addressed the issue of values by pointing out that sociological inquiry should be unbiased or devoid of values.


Values and Science: Weber understood that it would be challenging to discern between values and science in actual practise, but making this distinction helped to highlight the importance of values both before and after the research. Choosing a research topic is a very real challenge for social scientists. According to Weber, there is no objective method for selecting a study topic. However, selecting a topic comes before conducting any research. Values are the only factor that influences a person's choice of subject.


However, Weber advises that the scientist must adhere to an objective research procedure after selecting a study topic. When dealing with public policy issues, the situation is considerably more challenging. The choice of one objective over another and one strategy over another, according to Weber, depended ultimately on people's political values, economic interests, and other factors. However, this does not mean that social science is irrelevant to public policy, and he thought that sociologists could complete their work objectively by classifying the data in terms of clearly formulated concepts and adhering to the correct rules of evidence.


2. What is reflexivity? Explain the importance of reflexivity in social science research.

Ans) Reflexivity is the process through which the researcher takes stock of the gathering and analysing of data. Reflexivity has several connotations depending on the situation. It is a word with many different meanings. Reflexivity is a broad term for "reflecting," and in the context of social research, it refers specifically to the process through which the researcher evaluates the gathering and analysis of data. This idea has been employed in the works of Harold Garfinkel, Anthony Giddens, and Talcott Parsons. The phrase can be found in two crucial contexts. Second, it is used more explicitly to refer to particular qualities of social scientists' attempts to explain social life. It is used to describe the general characteristics of contemporary social life.


In general, the term "reflexivity" refers to the process of examining one's own views, opinions, and behaviours while conducting research to see whether or not they may have had an impact. Reflexivity is what we do with the knowledge we have, whereas positionality is what we know and believe. Reflexivity entails challenging one's own implicit presumptions. In essence, it entails bringing the researcher to light rather than "brushing her or him under the carpet" and acting as though they had no influence or impact. It necessitates transparency and acceptance of the researcher's involvement in the study.


Reflexivity is different from being "reflective" because while all researchers consider and form opinions about their data, reflexivity takes a step back and looks more closely at the individual who is forming the opinions. Various research traditions have different ideas on reflexivity and positionality. In an effort to resemble natural science, positivism takes a third-person perspective and spreads the myth of value-free inquiry.


Of course, this is not the same as claiming that the positivist researchers do not consider the facts or are not reflective; they may have given their stance careful consideration but have chosen to follow the custom and refrain from discussing it. Although there is disagreement over the format of this discussion, it may be supported within a more interpretive approach, especially in lengthier, more personal writings like these.


Reflexivity brings up problems and obstacles. These are more frequently taken into account openly in circumstances when there is a significant gap between the researcher and the subject of the research in terms of background knowledge, behaviour, and underlying attitudes, but this should be the case for any research. In order to build rapport in an interview with someone who is different from you in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, or sexuality, for example, it takes more than just acting receptive and non-judgmental; there is a deeper issue at play that, no matter what you do, will define your interaction. Personal positions are increasingly seen in a broader context, that of social identity.


A reflective analysis should include the positionality of the larger research discipline in addition to one's conduct in a research endeavour. This could include assumptions about how problems are described, the research questions that are frequently included or excluded, and whether there is a dominant paradigm that is restricted or even a liberal orthodoxy or cultural relativism where "anything goes." Reflexivity discussion has received the same narcissistic and self-indulgent criticism as positionality discussion, and it is crucial to keep in mind that the reader may be much less interested in the researcher than the researcher is. The discussion of reflexivity can also result in a state of paralysis when each judgement is nested within successive layers of disciplinary and personal frames of reference.


Assignment II


Answer the following Middle Category Questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks. 3 × 10 = 30


3. Explain the ethnological method of research.

Ans) The evolutionary perspective gives way to the ethnological perspective in the 18th and 19th centuries. According to ethnologists, cultural contact can account for how civilizations form. Various regions of the world had different perspectives on cultural contact. The ethnologists did not agree on the application of the historical method.


Graebner and his supporters employed the "kulturhistorische" or "culture history" method in Germany. For them, the process of dispersion caused civilizations to come into contact with one another and form. In Britain, Rivers, Elliott Smith, and Perry shared this belief in the dissemination process. According to Rivers, cultural interaction is crucial for the growth of cultures. Perry and Smith were proponents of a single diffusion centre.


The German and British ethnologists were not like the American Historical School. The statistical approach was employed by Boas and his students to explain cultures. The convergence approach, genealogy method, and psychological method were also employed by the other Americans.


As we have seen, ethnologists made significant contributions to the use of the historical method to examine society. Such a strategy traces the evolution of an institution or a specific cultural characteristic in order to explain it. By relating a change in society to a specific stage in its development, it explains the change. Radcliffe Brown made an attempt to stray from historical studies by classifying his work as ethnology. It was an effort to establish sociology and social anthropology as separate academic fields. The word "ethnology" is no longer often used. However, the ideas covered in the sections above made a significant contribution to the historical method. They established the groundwork for the use of history in sociology and social anthropology in a number of ways.


4. Discuss Durkheim’s contribution to the use of the historical method.

Ans) People who were not considered evolutionists, ethnologists, or social anthropologists but made contributions to the historical method in sociology in the 19th century used the historical method. Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist who lived from 15 April 1858 to 15 November 1917, used the historical method in his writings.


For his publications The Division of Labour in Society, published in 1893, and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, published in 1912, he drew on the works of French historian Fustel de Coulanges. He also written about French educational history. In 1976, Durkheim launched the journal L'Année Sociologique Kando and made it a rule to review historical works in it.


Durkheim's main concerns during his career were these three things. first, to introduce sociology as a brand-new academic field. The second goal was to examine how societies could continue to be cohesive and intact in the modern era when assumptions about shared religious and racial backgrounds were no longer possible. In order to do this, he wrote extensively about how laws, religion, education, and other comparable elements affect society and social integration. Last but not least, Durkheim was interested in the applications of scientific knowledge. Durkheim's writing always emphasises the value of social integration.


Because if society lacks the harmony that comes from the precise regulation of the relationships between its components, the harmony that comes from the harmonious articulation of its various functions ensured by effective discipline, and the harmony that comes from the commitment of men's wills to a common goal, then society is no more than a pile of sand that the slightest jolt or puff will suffice to scatter.


5. What were the criticisms against the early attempts to do research on women?

Ans) There was an attempt to address the critiques of the employment of an androcentric strategy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Feminist theorists who emerged from the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s claimed that it was important to do research from the perspective of women.


The intention was to foster female research and to spread awareness. Women were first included in the study of history, literature, philosophy, and other social sciences by Western feminist scholars. There was an inclusion of works by female authors in their effort to include women in their study. Women's studies were also given careful consideration. In many women's studies departments in the West, the study of women, their accomplishments, etc., has become institutionalised. Its principles were androgyny and equality. They argued that women had equal capabilities to males. This was seen as a positive development because the androcentric bias was being addressed.


The gendering of the research methods was criticised by the feminist scholars. The androcentric masculine approach was not undermined by simply adding women to existing categories. They argued that this was merely an effort to analyse women through the lens of already-existing masculine categories. Even though they were critical of the masculinist bias in research, these academics frequently employ the positivist methodology. This strategy is demonstrated in the works Another Voice: Feminist Perspectives on Social Life and Social Science by Millman and Kanter and Cancian and Molm.


A feminist research approach did not entail using women as research subjects. Though they claimed that studies on women should be conducted in accordance with accepted research standards, they called for the inclusion of women in research. This implied that objectivity and the positivists' techniques were still used. The feminist empiricists included women in their study, but they stuck with the practises that were already in place. They thought that it was crucial to adhere to the accepted scientific research methodologies in order for feminist research to be considered seriously.


Assignment III


Answer the following Short Category Questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks. 5 × 6 = 30


6. What are the main arguments of standpoint theorists?

Ans) Smith, in contrast to Hartsock, is of the opinion that knowledge is derived from experience. In contrast to Hartsock, she promotes a women's viewpoint rather than a feminist viewpoint. Experiences have a contextual reality. She promotes sociology specifically for women. She makes the case for a sociology that is not structured around impersonality and anonymity.


However, in one case, the researcher is caught between the perspectives of a trained sociologist and a lady. According to Stanley and Wise, reality is not unproblematic and exists in several forms. For them, reality is founded not just on what a person experiences, but also on their realisation that there is an objective reality that is distinct from their own personal reality.


The everyday world is problematic, according to Sandra Harding, because stance epistemology begins with the perspectives of oppressed lives. Both the knower and the known are located on the same horizontal plane. We can view the world in new ways when we consider the perspectives of the excluded. She supports a sociology that is focused on the underrepresented. By using this methodology, women's own voices will be articulated and a dialogue between the researcher and the researched will be possible. She makes a case for women's sociology.


7. What is ethnomethodology?

Ans) Ethnomethodology is the study of how social order is produced in and through processes of social interaction. It generally seeks to provide an alternative to mainstream sociological approaches. In its most radical form, it poses a challenge to the social sciences as a whole. Its early investigations led to the founding of conversation analysis, which has found its own place as an accepted discipline within the academy. According to Psathas, it is possible to distinguish five major approaches within the ethnomethodological family of disciplines.


Ethnomethodology is a fundamentally descriptive discipline which does not engage in the explanation or evaluation of the particular social order undertaken as a topic of study. "to discover the things that persons in particular situations do, the methods they use, to create the patterned orderliness of social life". However, applications have been found within many applied disciplines, such as software design and management studies.


8. What is a descriptive research design?

Ans) Descriptive research design is a type of research design that aims to obtain information to systematically describe a phenomenon, situation, or population. More specifically, it helps answer the what, when, where, and how questions regarding the research problem, rather than the why.


The descriptive method of research can involve the use of many different kinds of research methods to investigate the variables in question. It predominantly employs quantitative data, although qualitative data is also used sometimes for descriptive purposes.


It is important to note that in the descriptive method of research, unlike in experimental research, the researcher does not control or manipulate any variables. Instead, the variables are only identified, observed, and measured.


9. What are the objectives of quantitative research?

Ans) Quantitative research is a research strategy that focuses on quantifying the collection and analysis of data. It is formed from a deductive approach where emphasis is placed on the testing of theory, shaped by empiricist and positivist philosophies.


Associated with the natural, applied, formal, and social sciences this research strategy promotes the objective empirical investigation of observable phenomena to test and understand relationships. This is done through a range of quantifying methods and techniques, reflecting on its broad utilization as a research strategy across differing academic disciplines.


The objective of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical models, theories, and hypotheses pertaining to phenomena. The process of measurement is central to quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships.


10. In what way do ICTs influence social science research?

Ans) ICT is a broad phrase that encompasses all types of hardware, software, networks, satellite coverage, radio, television, digital phones, computers, and a variety of applications, systems, and services that are connected to them, such as video-calling and online learning.


ICT ushered in the age of the pervasive "digital divide," which was accompanied by a prominent gender gap in society that rode the wave of socioeconomic reasons that tore the society apart. Since the 1990s, ICT has been used more and more as a catalyst for higher education. Ten years ago, we discussed teacher preparation programmes as well as technical and vocational education. We first saw a difference in the late 1990s, and this was reflected in the rest of the world.

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