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BSOC-112: Sociological Research Methods -I

BSOC-112: Sociological Research Methods -I

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

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Assignment Code: BSOC-112/ASST/TMA/ 2023-24

Course Code: BSOC-112

Assignment Name: Sociological Research Methods-I

Year: 2023-24

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment I

Answer the following questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks.

Q1) Discuss the role of ICT in social research.

Ans) The acronym ICT, which stands for information and communication technology, is playing a significant role in the development of the social research landscape. This is because it is offering researchers with new tools, methodologies, and opportunities.

Data Collection:

a) Surveys and Questionnaires: Through the utilisation of information and communication technology, researchers are able to effectively reach a larger audience that is constituted of a greater diversity of persons. This is made possible through the use of online surveys and questionnaires.

b) Interviews and Focus Groups: Because of the use of online focus groups and virtual interviews, researchers are able to conduct interactions with participants regardless of where they are physically located. This is made possible by the fact that they may conduct these interactions online.

Big Data Analytics:

The processing and analysis of huge datasets, often known as big data, is made possible by information and communications technology (ICT), which provides significant insights on societal patterns, behaviours, and trends. Researchers are able to evaluate the large amounts of data generated by social media platforms, blogs, and online forums in order to gain a better understanding of the ideas and feelings of the general population.

Data Storage and Management:

Cloud computing provides a secure and scalable environment for storing and managing research data. Researchers can access data from anywhere, promoting collaboration. Database management systems enhance the organization and retrieval of research data, improving overall efficiency.

Spatial Analysis:

ICT is utilised by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in order to effectively analyse and visualise geographical data. The spatial distribution of social phenomena can be investigated by researchers, which can contribute to a variety of fields like urban planning, public health, and others.

Online Ethnography:

Through the study of online communities, social networks, and digital cultures, researchers have the opportunity to engage in the practise of virtual ethnography. This method is very useful when it comes to the investigation of subcultures that are based on the internet.

Mixed Methods Research:

ICT facilitates the integration of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Researchers can combine surveys, statistical analysis, and qualitative insights to gain a comprehensive understanding of social phenomena.

Collaboration and Networking:

Technology that facilitates virtual cooperation makes it easier for researchers to communicate and coordinate their efforts, regardless of where they are physically located.

The use of online platforms makes networking possible, which in turn establishes chances for interdisciplinary collaboration and the sharing of knowledge.

Machine Learning and AI:

Data analysis, pattern identification, and predictive modelling are all areas that can benefit from the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms, which offer superior analytical skills.

Ethical Considerations:

Ethical considerations around data privacy, consent, and security are some of the issues that are raised by information and communication technology. In order to guarantee that research is carried out in a manner that is consistent with ethical standards, researchers are required to navigate these issues in an appropriate manner.

Dissemination of Research Findings:

Through the use of online journals, blogs, webinars, and social media platforms, information and communication technology makes it easier to disseminate the results of research, thereby reaching a larger audience.

Q2) Discuss postmodernist critique of feminist methodology.

Ans) By calling into question preconceived notions about essentialism, objectivity, and the construction of knowledge, postmodernist criticisms of feminist methodology provide challenges to the conventional procedures that are now in place. These criticisms are informed by the postmodernist point of view toward literature.

Rejection of Essentialism:

a) Feminist Essentialism: There have been occasions when traditional feminist techniques have been criticised for essentializing the experiences of women and acting as if there is a universal and unchanging concept of "womanhood."

b) Postmodernist Challenge: In their opposition to essentialism, postmodernists place an emphasis on the many different identities that might be fluid and diverse. They argue that experiences are complex and cannot be categorised into a single, all-encompassing category because of their many facets.

Critique of Grand Narratives:

a) Feminist Narratives: In certain feminist approaches, big narratives are constructed in an effort to provide an explanation for the overarching experiences of women across different time periods and cultures.

b) Postmodernist Challenge: Grand narratives are rejected by postmodernism, which maintains that diverse and fragmented narratives are more effective at capturing the intricacies of individual experiences with greater accuracy. There is an emphasis placed on knowledge that is positioned and localised.

Power Relations in Knowledge Production:

a) Feminist Standpoint Theory: In order to develop information that challenges patriarchal norms, feminist approaches frequently place an emphasis on the perspective of women as a disenfranchised group.

b) Postmodernist Challenge: In order to develop information that challenges patriarchal norms, feminist approaches frequently place an emphasis on the perspective of women as a disenfranchised group.

Language and Representation:

a) Feminist Language Critique: The techniques of feminism investigate the ways in which language affects and enforces gender norms, which in turn contributes to the oppression of women.

b) Postmodernist Challenge: This critique is expanded upon by postmodernists, who investigate the ways in which language itself is a locus of power. They bring attention to the limitations and instability of language in terms of effectively portraying experiences.

Intersectionality and Complexity:

a) Feminist Intersectionality: Various social categories are acknowledged to be interconnected through the use of intersectional techniques within the feminist movement (e.g., gender, race, class).

b) Postmodernist Challenge: Postmodernists expand on the concept of intersectionality, but they may also advocate for a more nuanced understanding of identity by taking into account a variety of elements that have an impact on the subjectivities and experiences of individuals specifically.

Emphasis on Reflexivity:

a) Feminist Reflexivity: In the course of their study, feminist academics frequently engage in the practise of reflexivity, which involves identifying their own positionality and prejudices.

b) Postmodernist Emphasis: Postmodernism places an even greater emphasis on reflexivity, which requires researchers to maintain a high level of awareness regarding their role in the construction of knowledge as well as an acknowledgment of the subjectivity that is inherent in research.

Challenges to Methodological Rigidity:

a) Feminist Methods: It's possible that traditional feminist techniques adhere to particular structures and procedures.

b) Postmodernist Critique: It is possible that traditional feminist techniques adhere to particular structures and procedures.

Assignment II

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks.

Q3) What is ethnomethodology?

Ans) Ethnomethodology is a sociological approach that focuses on the study of everyday social interactions and the methods people use to make sense of and navigate their social world. Developed by Harold Garfinkel in the 1960s, ethnomethodology seeks to uncover the hidden, taken-for-granted rules and practices that underlie social order.

Ethnomethodologists are interested in how individuals, through their everyday actions, construct and maintain social order. They investigate the implicit rules and methods people employ to make sense of their interactions

Breaching Experiments:

Researchers often use "breaching experiments" to disrupt ordinary social interactions deliberately. By violating established norms or expectations, ethnomethodologists aim to reveal the underlying social order and how individuals react to disruptions.


Ethnomethodology emphasizes "indexicality," the idea that the meaning of actions is context dependent. People interpret behaviour based on the specific social context, and ethnomethodologists aim to uncover the meaning-making processes inherent in this indexicality.

Emphasis on Participants' Perspectives:

Rather than imposing external theories, ethnomethodologists prioritize understanding social phenomena from the participants' perspectives. This means examining how individuals themselves make sense of their actions and interactions.

Conversation Analysis:

Ethnomethodology often incorporates conversation analysis, a method that focuses on the detailed examination of spoken interactions. Researchers analyse the structure of conversations, turn-taking, and the organization of talk to understand the implicit rules governing communication.

Commonsense Knowledge:

The field of ethnomethodology investigates the "commonsense knowledge" that people rely on in order to navigate social settings. The manner in which individuals apply this practical knowledge to establish order and meaning in their interactions is something that piques their curiosity.

Q4) In what way did Radcliffe-Brown use the comparative method in research?

Ans) Famous British social anthropologist A.R. Radcliffe-Brown contributed to anthropology, particularly through the comparative approach. Comparative research compares cultures or social organisations to find patterns, regularities, and principles. Radcliffe-Brown used the comparison approach in his ethnographic research:


Radcliffe-Brown adhered to structural-functional anthropology. He thought social institutions could be understood by how they maintained social order. He found common structural elements and functions in many societies using the comparative method.

Cross-Cultural Analysis:

Radcliffe-Brown compared society and social structures throughout cultures. This involves examining culturally diverse familial structures, governmental organisations, and religious behaviours.

Functional Equivalence:

He sought functional equivalence—that diverse forms may perform equivalent social roles. Radcliffe-Brown sought universal social organisation principles by comparing societies with diverse architecture but comparable functions.

Comparative Studies of Kinship:

Radcliffe-Brown extensively compared kinship systems. He stressed the role of kinship in social structure and marital regulation. He sought to identify social organising principles by analysing family patterns across countries.

Empirical Research in Africa and Australia:

Radcliffe-Brown conducted extensive fieldwork in Africa and Australia, focusing on societies such as the Andaman Islanders and the Bantu. Through detailed ethnographic descriptions and comparisons, he aimed to uncover general principles of social structure and organization.

Social Anthropology:

Radcliffe-Brown contributed to the development of social anthropology as a comparative science. His emphasis on systematic cross-cultural comparison influenced subsequent generations of anthropologists, encouraging them to analyse social institutions across diverse societies.

Functionalism as a Comparative Framework:

Functionalism, the theoretical framework associated with Radcliffe-Brown, provided a basis for comparing how different institutions contributed to the overall stability and functioning of a society.

Q5) What is the relevance of historical method in social research?

Ans) The historical method in social research is relevant for understanding and interpreting social phenomena within a temporal context. Historical research provides a context for understanding contemporary social issues. By tracing the historical development of institutions, cultures, and practices, researchers can uncover the roots of present-day dynamics.

Causation and Change:

The historical technique allows cross-temporal comparisons. Comparing historical contexts helps scholars comprehend social processes by revealing patterns, similarities, and contrasts.

Evolution of Social Structures:

Historical study shows how social structures, organisations, and norms changed. This perspective illuminates social order and the processes that have shaped relationships.

Comparative Analysis:

The historical technique allows cross-temporal comparisons. Comparing historical contexts helps scholars comprehend social processes by revealing patterns, similarities, and contrasts.

Long-Term Trends and Patterns:

It helps academics identify long-term social, cultural, and institutional trends. A longitudinal view helps uncover repeating trends and comprehend social aspects' persistence or transformation.

Uncovering Unseen Influences:

Historical study can reveal impacts and elements that are not obvious today. Researchers can unearth hidden or ignored characteristics that improve comprehension by digging into the past.

Policy Implications:

Understanding social issues' historical context helps evaluate prior policies and actions. Policymakers need this knowledge to create contextually relevant strategies.

Interconnectedness of Events:

The historical method shows how events and social processes are linked. It lets scholars examine how different factors interacted and influenced one other, deepening their understanding of complicated social events.

Roots of Identity and Culture:

Understanding history is crucial for cultures and communities to define themselves and preserve culture. Historical research preserves and interprets identity-forming tales.

Assignment III

Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks.

Q6) What is the difference between inductive and deducting methods of research?

Ans) The difference between inductive and deducting methods of research:

Q7) What do you understand by reflexivity?

Ans) The term "reflexivity" is used in the field of social research to describe the process by which researchers acknowledge and take into consideration their own subjectivity, biases, and influence during the research process. This approach places an emphasis on self-awareness and acknowledges that the researcher's history, experiences, and opinions have the potential to influence the study. It is important for researchers to engage in reflexivity because it pushes them to consider how their positionality may influence the data collection, interpretation, and ultimate consequences of their research. This methodology is especially useful in qualitative research, which requires a greater degree of commitment from the researcher than quantitative research does. Recognizing that the researcher is an essential component of the study context, researchers strive to improve the transparency and credibility of their work by adopting the reflexivity approach.

Q8) What does Bourdieu mean by cultural capital?

Ans) French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu is credited with developing the concept of cultural capital, which describes the cultural assets and knowledge that individuals possess and have the ability to exploit to obtain a social advantage. An individual's education, talents, preferences, and cultural experiences are all included in this concept. The concept of cultural capital was proposed by Bourdieu as a factor that leads to social mobility and class disparities. Individuals that possess a greater amount of cultural capital, which is typically obtained through formal education and participation in cultural activities, are in a more advantageous position to navigate and prosper within social institutions. There are three types of cultural capital, according to Bourdieu: embodied (skills and habits acquired via upbringing), objectified (culture products one owns), and institutionalised. Institutionalized cultural capital is the most common type (recognized qualifications and credentials).

Q9) What is the nature of social facts?

Ans) According to Emile Durkheim's conceptualization, social facts are external and objective phenomena that exist independently of individual consciousness and exert a coercive influence on human behaviour. These phenomena are referred to as an external reality. Despite the fact that these facts are external to individuals, they have a restricting effect on them, which shapes the behaviour of groups and the structures of families and communities. Examples of social facts include institutions, norms, values, and customs. In sociological analysis, Durkheim highlighted that social facts are unique in that they have their own reality and should be researched as separate things. He believed that social facts should be studied as independent entities. They cannot be reduced to the activities of a single person and operate as an essential component in the process of preserving social order.

Q10) What are the characteristics of quantitative research?

Ans) To analyse population patterns, correlations, and trends, quantitative research uses numerical data and statistical analysis. Important traits:

a) Numerical Data: Involves collecting and analysing numerical data from surveys, experiments, or statistics.

b) Objectivity: Encourages objectivity and reduces researcher bias in data gathering and analysis.

c) Generalizability: Generalizes findings to a larger population for statistical inferences.

d) Structured Instruments: Uses surveys or experiments to acquire data.

e) Statistical Analysis: Analyses data using statistical methods to find correlations.

f) Large Sample Sizes: Often requires larger sample sizes to enhance statistical validity.

g) Quantifiable Variables: Variables are clearly defined and quantifiable, facilitating measurement and comparison.

h) Positivist Approach: Generally, positivist, emphasising observable and measurable things.

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