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BSOC-114: Sociological Research Methods -II

BSOC-114: Sociological Research Methods -II

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BSOC-114/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BCOS-114

Assignment Name: Sociology Research Methods II

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 do you understand by ‘research’? Describe the different types of social research .

Ans) Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.


This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development as comprising of creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.


Types of Social Research


Qualitative Research: Qualitative Research is defined as a method to collect data via open-ended and conversational discussions, There are five main qualitative research methods-  ethnographic research, focus groups, one-on-one online interview, content analysis and case study research. Usually, participants are not taken out of their ecosystem for qualitative data collection to gather information in real-time which helps in building trust. Researchers depend on multiple methods to gather qualitative data for complex issues.


Quantitative Research: Quantitative Research is an extremely informative source of data collection conducted via mediums such as surveys, polls, and questionnaires. The gathered data can be analysed to conclude numerical or statistical results. There are four distinct quantitative research methods: survey research, correlational research, causal-comparative research and experimental research. This research is carried out on a sample that is representative of the target market usually using close-ended questions and data is presented in tables, charts, graphs etc.


For example, A survey can be conducted to understand Climate change awareness among the general population. Such a survey will give in-depth information about people’s perception about climate change and also the behaviours that impact positive behaviour. Such a questionnaire will enable the researcher to understand what needs to be done to create more awareness among the public.


Primary Research: Primary Research is conducted by the researchers themselves. There are a list of questions that a researcher intends to ask which need to be customized according to the target market. These questions are sent to the respondents via surveys, polls or questionnaires so that analysing them becomes convenient for the researcher. Since data is collected first-hand, it’s highly accurate according to the requirement of research.


For example: There are tens of thousands of deaths and injuries related to gun violence in the United States. We keep hearing about people carrying weapons attacking general public in the news. There is quite a debate in the American public as to understand if possession of guns is the cause to this. Institutions related to public health or governmental organizations are carrying out studies to find the cause. A lot of policies are also influenced by the opinion of the general population and gun control policies are no different. Hence a gun control questionnaire can be carried out to gather data to understand what people think about gun violence, gun control, factors and effects of possession of firearms. Such a survey can help these institutions to make valid reforms on the basis of the data gathered.


Secondary Research: Secondary Research is a method where information has already been collected by research organizations or marketers. Newspapers, online communities, reports, audio-visual evidence etc. fall under the category of secondary data. After identifying the topic of research and research sources, a researcher can collect existing information available from the noted sources. They can then combine all the information to compare and analyse it to derive conclusions.


2. Explain the importance of ethics in social research.

Ans) Ethical questions have long been a focus of social science research. The majority of sociological study involves people as its information source. They could either be survey respondents, observational subjects, or experiment subjects. Sociologists focus on people, as opposed to scientists who study physics or chemistry. Sociologists must therefore be sensitive to the subjects of their research. Therefore, it demands special sensitivity and awareness to guard against abuse and harm to those included in the scope of the research study. Sociologists should take ethics into account when interpreting their findings as well as when choosing methodology and accepting financing. Therefore, ethics should be considered at every stage of a research project.


To ensure that the research process is governed by ethical principles beyond informed consent, it is essential to integrate ethics into every step of the research process, from choosing the study challenge to achieving research goals, interpreting, and reporting research findings. Researchers should constantly be mindful of their duty to the communities and societies in which they live and work, and they should make an effort to benefit the general public. Researchers should work to minimise risks to participants and themselves while maximising the research's positive effects. Strong safety measures should be taken to reduce any potential risk or harm. Any conflict of interest or partiality on the part of the researchers, funding organisation, or commissioning body should be made clear before and/or during a given research endeavour in order to ensure the independence of the study.


In the context of social research, the ethical question is significant and difficult for two basic reasons: First, there are a lot of parties involved in the research process, and the researcher is accountable to everyone. This duty entails upholding moral behaviour throughout the data presentation and research processes. Let's take a closer look at this problem. The researcher has an obligation to the subjects of the study from the outset. Additionally, he or she has obligations to the organisation that is financing the researcher's work, as well as to any colleagues or other researchers who may consult the findings. Second, the study's findings are probably going to add to the body of knowledge already in existence.


Policymakers might also utilise it. Any research that does not follow ethical standards may be false. Responsibility for individuals who have made any contributions to the research as well as for the outcomes of one's own research are both aspects of research ethics. Take a sociologist leading a group of researchers as an example. Assume he or she is involved with the Delhi juvenile drug usage problem. He or she must initially prioritise the team members' health.


They must receive prompt and fair payment. Their working environment must be supportive of their psychological and social well-being. There may be circumstances that the researcher feels would be beneficial for research but not for the study team. The sociologist must decide whether to protect the team or advance the field of study. A sociologist must also consider the moral dilemma of maintaining the confidentiality of the informants. There is a chance that the police or social activists will try to find out who the informants are. The researcher must decide whether to divulge or keep their identity a secret. The third conundrum a sociologist will face has to do with data presentation. Informants frequently divulge information that they do not want made public. The sociologist has an obligation to uphold ethical standards when gathering such information or while keeping the informants' trust in mind.

Assignment II


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


3. Discuss Malinowski’s contribution to fieldwork.

Ans) Malinowski is often considered one of anthropology's most skilled ethnographers, especially because of his highly methodical and well-theorised approach to the study of social systems. He is often referred to as the first researcher to bring anthropology "off the veranda", that is, stressing the need for fieldwork enabling the researcher to experience the everyday life of his subjects along with them.


Malinowski emphasised the importance of detailed participant observation and argued that anthropologists must have daily contact with their informants if they are to adequately record the "imponderabilia of everyday life" that are so important to understanding a different culture. He stated that the goal of the anthropologist, or ethnographer, is "to grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world". Because of the impact of his argument, he is sometimes credited with inventing the field of ethnography.


Malinowski in his pioneering research literally set up a tent in the middle of villages he studied, in which he lived for extended periods of times, weeks or months.  His argument was shaped by his initial experiences as an anthropologist in the mid-1910s in Australia and Oceania, where during his first field trip he found himself grossly unprepared for it, due to not knowing the language of the people he set to study, nor being able to observe their daily customs sufficiently His pioneering decision to subsequently immerse himself in the life of the natives represents his solution to this problem, and was the message he addressed to new, young anthropologists, aiming to both improve their experience and allow them to produce better data.


He advocated that stance from his very first publications, which were often harshly critical of those of his elders in the field of anthropology, who did most of their writing based on second-handed accounts. This could be seen in the relation between Frazer - an influential early anthropologist, nonetheless, described as the classic armchair scholar and Malinowski was complex; Frazer was one of Malinowski's mentors and supporters, and his work is credited with inspiring young Malinowski to become an anthropologist. 


4. Compare census with survey.

Ans) Census and survey are two words that we commonly hear only to confuse between these two techniques of collecting information about basically everything under the sun. Survey could be an attempt by an organization to find out the level of satisfaction among its customers about its services to a much bigger survey carried out by a government to decide on major welfare policies for different sections of the society.


Survey is actually a technique that takes out a sample from a population scientifically to arrive at a decision for the entire population. This article attempts to clarify differences between census and survey to have a better understanding of these two sampling techniques.


Census: Census is a large survey carried out by governments generally to gather information pertaining to the population. This is a mammoth exercise depending upon the size of the population and the area of the country as it involves reaching out to each and every household to ask questions printed on a questionnaire.


Survey: In a survey, a sample of the population is selected at random, and data is collected quickly and in an inexpensive manner. Survey could be as small as among the students at a school or the employees of a company to as large as cancer patients around the country.

  1. Census involves asking questions from the entire population while survey involves taking out a sample from the population that represent the population best from the point of view of the goal of the survey.

  2. Survey is quick and gives results quickly too while census is time consuming and takes a long time to generate results.

  3. Survey is rather inexpensive, whereas census is a mammoth exercise requiring lots of money and a high number of personnel.

  4. Census is obviously more accurate than survey where accuracy is somewhat less.

5. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of observation technique.

Ans) Observation is a qualitative method of collecting and analysing the information by observing the subjects under the natural or contrived environment. Observation plays a crucial role in marketing research as it observes the manner in which consumers behave in their natural environment. There are several ways of observing any consumer/ consumer groups and therefore to assemble the primary data. This technique is employed in the field of marketing research so as to analyse and improve the sales. Observation is done based on the characteristics like:

  1. Demographic characters

  2. Attitude, beliefs and opinions

  3. Awareness of the product

  4. Psychological characters

  5. Behavioural pattern


Advantages of the observation techniques are as follows:

  1. Due to disguised form of observation, behaviour is naturally studied, and data is not distorted.

  2. The subjects behave in the desired natural manner and do not get influenced by what the observer wants to listen.

  3. Observation techniques are cost effective and produce valid results.

  4. People are observed and their willingness to participate is not taken into account as in case of focus group discussions or personal interviews.


Disadvantages of the observation techniques are as follows:

  1. Time consuming and may involve large amount of inactivity.

  2. Observations may lack depth and qualitative richness.

  3. If the ethics are not handled well, legal action can be taken.

  4. Transportation departments make use of the observation techniques to conduct traffic counts. Retail marketers use these when they record purchasing behaviour through bar-coded transactions, etc this is an example of disadvantages of the observation techniques.



Assignment III


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


6. What is the significance of case study method in social science research?

Ans) The fact that the case study method takes into account every facet of a case is one of its distinctive qualities. Take the building of a road through a village in a steep area as an example. There are now various stakeholder lobbies supporting and opposing the building. One lobby advocates for growth, another for the environment, and a third for the right of the villages to maintain their way of life. I may conduct a case study of the village that includes environmental and development factors simultaneously. The outcome of my analysis need not be encouraging, but it should enable me to understand what precisely would occur taking into account all aspects: environmental, developmental, and humanitarian if road construction did occur.


For instance, if we just consider one aspect of a project, such as development or the environment, we are inclined to give that aspect priority. But a comprehensive research will enable us to identify what happens to the environment when growth is pushed to a particular level, how we can maintain development at that level such that society and culture experience the least amount of pain, and how to prioritise one variable over the other.


7. What is ethnography?

Ans) Ethnography is a type of qualitative research that involves immersing yourself in a particular community or organization to observe their behaviour and interactions up close. The word “ethnography” also refers to the written report of the research that the ethnographer produces afterwards.  Ethnography is a flexible research method that allows you to gain a deep understanding of a group’s shared culture, conventions, and social dynamics. However, it also involves some practical and ethical challenges.


Ethnographic research originated in the field of anthropology, and it often involved an anthropologist living with an isolated tribal community for an extended period of time in order to understand their culture.  This type of research could sometimes last for years. For example, Colin M. Turnbull lived with the Mbuti people for three years in order to write the classic ethnography The Forest People. Today, ethnography is a common approach in various social science fields, not just anthropology. It is used not only to study distant or unfamiliar cultures, but also to study specific communities within the researcher’s own society.


8. Distinguish between discrete and continuous frequency distributions.

Ans) A probability distribution is a formula, or a table used to assign probabilities to each possible value of a random variable X. A probability distribution may be either discrete or continuous. A discrete distribution means that X can assume one of a countable number of values, while a continuous distribution means that X can assume one of an infinite (uncountable) number of different values.


Di secrete Probability Distributions: Several specialized discrete probability distributions are useful for specific applications. For business applications, three frequently used discrete distributions are:

  1. Binomial

  2. Geometric

  3. Poisson


The geometric distribution is related to the binomial distribution; you use the geometric distribution to determine the probability that a specified number of trials will take place before the first success occurs.


Continuous Probability Distributions: Many continuous distributions may be used for business applications; two of the most widely used are:

  1. Uniform

  2. Normal


The uniform distribution is useful because it represents variables that are evenly distributed over a given interval. For example, if the length of time until the next defective part arrives on an assembly line is equally likely to be any value between one and ten minutes, then you may use the uniform distribution to compute probabilities for the time until the next defective part arrives.

9. What do you understand by ‘research problem’?

Ans) A research problem is a statement that addresses a gap in knowledge, challenge or contradiction in your field. Scientists use research problems to identify and define the aim of their study and analysis. You may decide to conduct research based on a problem if you're interested in contributing to social or scientific change or adding additional knowledge to an existing topic. A research problem may also help identify key concepts and terms, overarching questions and variables.


Some characteristics include:

  1. Reflecting on issues or required knowledge in a particular field

  2. Relying on evidence and data

  3. Being practical and manageable for the researchers involved in data collection and analysis


10. What are the main features of questionnaire?


Ans) There are different types of questions that one can ask in a questionnaire depending upon the type of information they want to gather using questionnaires..  However, the following are the characteristics that remain constant irrespective of the type of questions you ask in your questionnaire. The main features of questionnaire includes:


Sequence of questions: A proper series of questions should be followed to increase the rate of response to the questions. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a structured sequence of questions that contain questions in the sequence.


Uniformity: The uniformity of questions is essential to keep respondents involved in the questionnaire until the end. Consistency of questions plays an important role, especially when you want to collect information about personal opinions, demographic data, or facts from the respondents.


Exploratory: Exploratory characteristics of the questionnaire help you in collecting qualitative data. You can ask any question as long as it is related to the subject. The exploratory nature of a questionnaire helps you in getting detailed information about the topic.


Easy to understand: A good survey is easy to understand. It should be designed in such a way so that everyone can read and understand the questions irrespective of their education level. This is an essential characteristic of a questionnaire.

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