Methods of Social Research, SOC 300, Exam 1 ANSWERS                       Summer 2003, Price


Matching (2 points each)

Terms                            Letter of Matching Definition

1. Sociology                                       B

2. Experiments                                   H

3. Content Analysis                            I

4. Field Research                               A

5. Grounded Theory                            C                

6. Research Design                            E

7. Interactionism or Interpretive             G

8. Conflict or Critical Theory                 D

9. Functionalism                                 J

10. SOC 300                                      F



a.       Research in which a researcher directly observes people interacting in a natural setting.

b.       The study of social interaction and social organization.

c.       A way of developing explanations about the social world that starts with empirical observations of the world and builds abstract patterns from them.

d.       The theoretical perspective which views social issues and problems in terms of dominant groups exerting power over others to ensure that the dominant group’s interests are served.

e.       A plan for systematically gathering and analyzing information to answer a research question.

f.         A course with content that many students find boring.

g.       The theoretical perspective that focuses on how people understand the everyday social settings in which they interact with others.

h.       Research in which one intervenes or does something to one group of people but not to another, then compares results of the two groups.              

i.         Research that examines patterns of symbolic meaning within written text, audio, visual or other communication medium.

j.         The theoretical perspective that explains social patterns as existing because they serve a purpose in society.

Multiple Choice: Choose the Best Response (3 points each)

11.     Dalessha developed a pure model of the "street walker" prostitute to help her study a large city ghetto. She is using a(n): 

          a.   Parsimony

          b.   Ideal Type **

c.       Metaphor

d.       Jargon


12.     Dr. Smith said that social science cannot be value neutral, and a good study requires putting results into action to help people change society. Dr. Smith uses which approach to social science?

a.       Positivism

b.       Interpretative Social Science

c.       Critical Social Science **

d.       None of the above

13.     Henry Hogson conducted an experiment in which he tested the theory that the intensity of social interaction among people increases if they are anxious. What type of study is this most likely to be?

a.       Cost Benefit Analysis

b.      Explanatory Research **

c.       Content Analysis

d.       Exploratory Research


14.     For the positivist approach to research, a theory looks like:

          a.   A series of positive statements about the world.

          b.   A logical system of laws, axioms, and propositions.  **

          c.   A critique which claims that people are being mislead.

          d.   A political program of action and social change.


15.     In exploratory research one does all of the following, EXCEPT:

a.       Become familiar with the basic facts, people and concerns involved.

b.       Generate many ideas and develop tentative hypotheses.

c.       Determine the feasibility of doing additional research.

d.      Test a theory or explanation. **


16.     Professor Tun-jen Cheng wanted to study the cause for thousands of people from Hong Kong moving to Vancouver, British Columbia. In order to establish temporal order in his causal argument he must show which of the following:

          a.   There is a correlation between events in Hong Kong and a decision to move.

          b.   Events occurred in Hong Kong before people moved to Vancouver.

          c.   A fear for the future of Hong Kong and no other reason caused the move to Vancouver.

          d.   All of the above.  **


**THREW #16 OUT:  Only 4 students got the right answer.

17.  Social research methods include all of the following, except:

a.        Surveys

b.        Therapy  **

c.        Experiments

d.        Interviews


18.     A local human service organization contacted Mr. Tanaka. The organization asked him to conduct a study to identify the difficulties and problems of the elderly in the local community so that the organization could develop social programs to help them. What type of study would this be?

a.      Needs assessment *

b.       Cost-benefit analysis

c.       Planning, Programming and Budgeting System

d.       Summative Evaluation Research


19.     Which best summarizes the main goal of descriptive research?

a.       Advance knowledge about an underlying process or complete a theory.

b.      Develop a detailed picture of a situation or issue. **

c.       Extend a theory or principle into new areas or issues.

d.       Provide evidence to support or refute an explanation.


20.  A research method in which subjects respond to a series of items in a questionnaire:

a.       random sample.

b.       target group.

c.       experiment.

d.      Survey.  **


21.     Elizabeth Bethouse conducted a study of gambling establishments operated by American Indian groups. She examined two establishments operated by different tribes. During the study she spent many hours at each establishment and gained a detailed knowledge of the tribal leaders, gambling employees and gambling customers. She also investigated how the establishments were organized, their impact on economic development in the area and how tribal members saw them. She conducted:

a.      a case study **

b.       a summative evaluation study

c.       a cohort study

d.        action research


22.     What is the purpose of basic social research or basic sociology?

a.       Solve social problems and find which policies are best.

b.       Improve social programs so they become more effective.

c.       Invent new taxonomies and jargon.

d.      Create fundamental knowledge about how the social world works. **


23.     Which approach says that the purpose of research is to study the creation of social meaning?

          a.   Positivism

          b.   Interpretative Social Science **

c.       Critical Social Science

d.       None of the above               


24.     Social research methods are:

a.      Ways to gather information to answer a question about the social world. **

b.       Ways to convince people to participate in a study.

c.       Ways to manipulate people.

d.       Ways to increase the number of friends you have.


25.     Which of the following is not an example of a qualitative research method:

          a.   Ethnography

          b.   Time series**

          c.   Covert Observation

          d.   Informal or Personal Interviews


26.     A friend makes the following comment: “Persons who grew up with a much older sibling tend to treat the older sibling as a parent figure.”  She is making a:

          a.   Verstehen

          b.   Theory

          c.   Relativism

          d.   Generalization **


27.     Joe Foss studied gender differences in attitudes toward mathematics and science among 45 first grade students. Over the next twelve years he studied the same 45 children when they were in the fifth, eighth and twelfth grades. This is what type of research?

          a.   Case study research

          b.   Cross-sectional research (a study on a cross-sectional sample)

          c.   Panel study research  (a study on a panel sample)  **

          d.   Action-oriented research


28.     A research method in which a researcher asks study participants several conversational style questions and does not provide a set of responses to choose from:

a.       case study

b.      interview **

c.       comparative method

          d.   quantitative study


29.     All of the following characterize applied sociological research except which one?

          a.   Doing research is usually part of a job assignment and sponsors/supervisors who are not professional researchers will judge/use the results.

          b.   Success is based on whether sponsors/supervisors use the results in decision-making.

          c.   The primary concern is with the internal logic and rigor of the research design, so a researcher attempts to reach the absolute norms of scientific rigor and scholarship.  **

          d.   Research projects are limited by the demands and interests of employers or sponsors.


30.  This test: (No wrong answer)

a.       Fairly reflects the course readings, lectures and discussion thus far this semester.

b.       Does not fairly reflect the course readings, lectures and discussion thus far this semester.




Essay (20 points): Write an essay answer on ONE of the following, approximately 1 page in length.


Briefly describe the steps involved in conducting a research project.   WRITTEN IN ESSAY FORM.  SHOULD GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF EACH STEP, PERHAPS USING YOUR RESEARCH QUESTION

  1. Identify a question/problem/topic.
  2. Learn what else is known on this question or problem (Lit Review).  Revise question/topic.
  3. Choose a way to observe the question or problem to gain new insight (experiment, survey, interview, observation, etc.).
  4. Collect data.
  5. Analyze data.
  6. Interpret meaning of analysis findings.
  7. Disseminate findings. 


+20 points: Student clearly identified each step.

+15 points: Student clearly identified most of the steps.

+10 points: Student clearly identified half of the steps.

 +5 points: Student clearly identified 1-2 steps.


-2 to -5 points for minor mistakes.






Explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. Use examples.



Assumptions: There is one reality/truth that exists independent of the research.  We can know it before observing reality and develop a theory to test and standardized questions (variables) to ask people.  We can then measure reality to test our theory objectively (free from researcher bias, values).    


Process of research unfolds as: theory → research q → method → theory


Any problem or topic of study can be broken down into all of its parts, and that the sum of the parts equals the whole problem.  A scientist studies a question/issue by “reducing” it into measurable, observable parts called variables.  After measuring the parts, the scientist adds them back up again to describe or understand the original problem. 


Examples of Quantitative Research: 

Questions that ask “what?” or “how many?”. 

Includes surveys, experiments, most existing/secondary data  




Assumptions: There is no one reality for a theory to capture.  There is no one understanding.  Meanings and reality change across people, place and time.  Need to let reality, not apriori theory, drive understanding (grounded theory).  Researcher values enhance/shape the study.

Process of research unfolds as: research q → method → theory


A problems or topic of study cannot be broken down into parts.  You have to observe the topic/problem in its natural form.  


Examples of Qualitative Research:

Questions that ask “why?” or “ how does something occur”?  Also use if the topic is too complicated to develop survey type questions about, or you don’t know enough about the topic to write questions about.


Includes interviews, observation, historical/comparative, content analysis, case studies.



Quantitative Answer: 10 points total

Qualitative Answer: 10 points total

+5 points: Student’s explanation of quantitative research conveys understanding of main tenets of quantitative research. 

+5 points: Student’s explanation of qualitative research conveys understanding of main tenets of qualitative research. 

+5 points: Student identifies examples of quantitative research: surveys, experiments, types of questions best answered by quantitative methods.

+5 points: Student identifies examples of qualitative research: interviews, observation, historical/comparative, types of questions best answered by qualitative methods.

-2 to -5 points for minor mistakes.


What is the role of the major theoretical frameworks in research?  Use examples.



Theory frames how we think about or see a topic.  As such, theory influences which topics we choose to study.


Theory influences how we interpret past research findings.


Theory influences choice of research method:  Functionalist and Conflict approaches to topics tend to use quantitative methods.  SI approaches tend to use qualitative. 


Inductive/Qualitative Research: Theory plays a bigger role after data is collected and researcher is making sense of the data observed/collected. 


Process of research unfolds as: research q → method → theory


Deductive/Quantitative Research: Theory plays a biggest role at beginning and end of research.  Quantitative research begins with a theory to test, and ends by revising the theory based on the study findings.


Process of research unfolds as: theory → research q → method → theory




+5 points: Student provides general description of how theory influences research topic chosen.

+5 points: Student identifies that theory influences choice of research method.

+5 points: Student identifies role of theory in quantitative/deductive research.

+5 points: Student identifies role of theory in qualitative/inductive research.



-2 to -5 points for minor mistakes.





A local PTA hires you to identify what services and programs parents would like the PTA to provide. What method would you use to help answer their question?  How would you use this method?

Based on what students know thus far in the course, the best methods are probably a mail or telephone survey.  But, you could also do qualitative/in-depth interviews.  (Focus groups would be good but the students don’t know much about them yet.)  Methods that would not work include experiments, observation, historical/document analysis, secondary data.


Process Involved =

a.         Clarifying the PTA’s questions – what they want to know, what they want to do with data.

b.         Learn what else is known on this question or problem.

c.         How you would collect data using this method.



Choice of Reasonable Method = +5 points 

Logical Explanation of Why Chose this Method = +5 points

Description of How to Use Method = +10 points

·          5 points if student doesn’t convey a clear understanding of the process involved in using the method identified.

·          -2 to -5 points for minor mistakes.