Methods of Social Research, SOC 300, Exam 3                          Answers 


Matching (2 points each)


Letter of Matching Definition

1. Non-participant Observation


2. Participant Observation


3. Informant


4. Gatekeeper


5. Ethnomethodology


6. Going Native


7. Life History


8. Oral history


9. Narrative History


10. SOC 300




a.      The words or writings of people about their life experiences after some time has passed. The writings are based on a memory of the past, but may be stimulated by a review of past objects, photos, personal notes or belongings.

b.      A person in an official or unofficial role who controls access to a setting.

c.      Perhaps the most useful course I have ever taken.

d.      A qualitative style in which a researcher directly observes and participates in small-scale social settings in the present time and in the researcher’s home culture.

e.      What happens when a researcher in field research gets overly involved and loses all distance or objectivity and becomes like the people being studied.

f.        A type of recollection in which a researcher interviews a person about the events, beliefs or feelings in the past that were directly experienced.

g.      A qualitative style in which a researcher directly observes a setting but does not actively interact in it.

h.      An approach to social science that combines philosophy, social theory, and method to study common sense knowledge.

i.        Open-ended interviews, usually recorded, with one person who describes their entire life.

j.         A member with whom a field researcher develops a relationship and who tells about the field.



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


11.  In qualitative data analysis, which of the following should you NOT do: C

a.      Draw pictures or models to help organize your thoughts.

b.      Look for patterns in the data and explain why the patterns occur.

c.      Create the final set of categories or codes from the data gathered on the first day of research.

d.      Write your field notes immediately following your interviews or observation, and file them for analysis in an organized fashion.


12.    When does theory come into play in a field research study? D

          a.   Theory is used prior to beginning the data collection.

          b.   Theory is developed after the data are collected.

c.      Researchers develop theory in the field while collecting data.

d.     a, b and c


13.    Researchers use unstructured or intensive interviews in field research in order to: B

          a.   Minimize interviewer bias.

          b.   Gain an in-depth understanding of respondent views and beliefs.

          c.   Obtain easily tabulated data.

          d.   Control factors that may affect a respondent's answers.

14.    Which is FALSE about Historical-Comparative research?  B (THREW OUT)

          a.   H-C researchers are flexible and adjust their initial concepts. They question or focus based on what they found in the evidence.

          b.   H-C researchers attempt to control bias that may arise from a point of view or perspective. They are totally neutral and objective.

          c.   H-C researchers often use "grounded theory."

          d.   H-C researchers focus on sequence and process. They tend to see social reality as constructed over time.


15.    Which of the following is TRUE about the history and development of field research?  A

          a.   Field research was developed out of the methods used by anthropologists to study other cultures and by journalists to investigate their own society.

          b.   Field research has replaced ethnography and ethnomethodology, older methods of research. It is a modern version of them.

          c.   Field research was first created by the Chicago School in the 1960's to study the hippies and anti-war phenomenon.

          d.   Field research was invented by researchers who lacked the ability to do statistics and could not think logically as required in quantitative research.


16.   While analyzing social data, _____ refers to looking for things that did not happen.  B

a.      Positive evidence

b.     Negative evidence

c.      Obligatory evidence

d.      Participant observation

17.    In field research interviewing: A

          a.   Interviewers can reveal their personal background or interests to the interviewee to build trust and rapport.

          b.   Interviewers never use probes or follow-up questions.

          c.   Interviewers must read each question exactly as it appears on the interview questionnaire.

          d.   Interviewers never tailor the question to a specific informant.


18.    A researcher’s notes on an interview is:  D

a.      A page with a pictorial representation of each respondent.

b.      A page of notes that an interviewer took during an interview.

c.      A page with information and background characteristics of the interviewee.

d.      A page on which comments about the interview itself (e.g., tone, difficulties) is recorded.


19.    Analyzing qualitative data, Kristen made a first pass through her notes. She read slowly and put a preliminary label in the notes to identify themes in the data. She was:  A

          a.   Coding

          b.   Waxing

          c.   Labeling

          d.   Themeing                                                             


20.    Which of the following is a characteristic of a distinct Historical Comparative research method?  D (THREW OUT)

          a.   It focuses on the macro-level only and excludes the micro-level.

          b.   It tests hypotheses about precisely operationalized variables.

          c.   It uses a deductive approach.

          d.   It sees causality as contingent.


21.    Which of the following is not a way to perform data verification in qualitative research:  C

          a.   Conduct a literature review to compare your findings to similar studies. 

          b.   Ask an expert(s) on the topic to review your analysis and findings.

          c.   Ask all the participants in your study to review your analysis and findings.

          d.   Triangulate your study and compare findings of the multiple methods.

22.    Professor Jones gathers existing statistical information from various United Nations Publications and other sources on 120 nations. She then analyzes the information to see whether nations with certain forms of government (e.g., democratic versus dictatorship) and economies (e.g., industrial versus agricultural) have particular social programs (e.g., public health programs). This is which type of comparative research?  C

          a.   Case study

          b.   Cultural context research

          c.   Cross-national research

          d.   Transnational research


23.    Which of the following is TRUE regarding field research?  D

          a.   It is easily replicated.

          b.   It is the easiest method to use.

          c.   It yields generalizable laws of human behavior.

          d.   It is usually conducted by a researcher alone or in a small team.


24.    PRIMARY historical evidence on the 1920's U.S. Prohibition era includes:  D

a.      An article written in 1962 titled "The Prohibition Years."

b.      A local police department report found in the back of an old filing cabinet detailing police raids on "speakeasies" conducted in 1922.

c.      An illegal still and equipment used to make "bathtub" gin in 1924.

d.     b and c


25.    If one is in a field setting where there are opposing groups in conflict with one another, the best thing to do is:  C

          a.   Immediately choose one group and side with it. Becoming a strong advocate for its position is the best way to gain trust and intimacy.

          b.   Leave the field immediately. Researchers must avoid all conflict and stay neutral.

          c.   Try to be as impartial as possible. Explain that you are neutral to both sides to keep lines of communication open.

d.   Take an active role as mediator. Use your influence to get the groups to be friendly with each other and end their fighting.


26.  Why don’t qualitative researchers usually conduct pilot studies? D

a.      They are usually lazier than quantitative researchers.

b.      With qualitative research taking so long to complete, qualitative researchers usually don’t have time to conduct pilot studies.

c.      There are too many ethical problems with pilot studies in qualitative research.

d.     Since qualitative research allows more flexibility in design, there usually isn’t a reason to conduct a pilot study.


27.    Which of the following should a field researcher NOT do?  A

          a.   Wait at least a week after leaving the field before writing down any notes. This way the important things can be determined.

          b.   Place a running description of events, people and conversation in direct observation field notes.

          c.   Keep observations in the field notes concrete. Describe specific behaviors and restate specific conversations verbatim if possible.

          d.   Keep a section of field notes for analytic ideas, hypotheses, and on her personal experience while in the field.

28.    Professor Trainor examined the way in which divorce takes place in Uganda and Pakistan in order to better understand how divorce occurs in those particular societies. This is an example of,  A

          a.   Historical-Comparative Research

          b.   Document Analysis

          c.   Ethnomethodology

          d.   Content Analysis


29.    The field researcher should:  B

          a.   Not expect personal stress or psychological discomfort, but plan for a relaxing and totally enjoyable experience.

          b.   Disguise or obscure the names of those being studied by using pseudonyms or made-up names.

          c.   Never use personal connections or friendships to gain entry into a field setting.

          d.   Resolve all ethical dilemmas, problems, and issues before entering the field.


30.  This test fairly reflects the course readings, lectures and discussion on ethics, experiments and surveys. (No wrong answer)

a.      True

b.      False


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



Write them right away.


Be as specific and concrete as possible.


Write: “jotted notes,”  “face sheets,” direct observations, research inferences, analytic notes and possibly (if relevant) a map of the setting. (Need description of these in the answer....)



-5 minor errors

-10 significant errors

-20 Completely off base 


Why? and How? questions.


When you want to develop a thorough understanding of why something is going on or of a group of people.


Open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a standardized response set.  (Ex. Satisfaction with job)


Questions that are complicated and may need to be explained. (Ex. How it feels to be victimized)


When you are not exactly sure all the specific questions to ask, and instead would like to let the interviewee’s experiences help drive where the conversation goes.


-5 minor errors

-10 significant errors

-20 Completely off base 



1.      You want to explore why a particular social outcome occurred.

2.      You want to compare a topic across different societies.

3.      You want to determine whether an “old” explanation of a social phenomenon is still valid given what we has happened historically since the explanation was developed.



·         What fundamental features are common to most societies?

·         In the U.S, is race declining in sociological significance compared to social class?

·         What caused revolutionary social change in China?

·         How have American’s beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors regarding children changed in the 20th century?

·         How was the institution of medicine changed over the 20th century?

·         Why did capitalism take hold early in the U.S. and not elsewhere?


-5 minor errors

-10 significant errors

-20 Completely off base 



Validity = Are the findings attributable to real patterns in society? Are they similar to what another researcher would find?  Does the story the researcher tells with his or her data match what the study participants shared?


Reliability = Is the information shared by informants consistent across time?  On another day or in another setting or with another researcher, would any one informant dramatically change how they act or the information they share about themselves?


-5 minor errors

-10 significant errors

-20 Completely off base