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Реферат Stages and types of an applied sociological research. Sociological research process. Now researchers may formulate a hypothesis a statement of the relationship between two or more concepts, the objects structure, or possible ways to solve a problem.


Тип работы: Реферат. Предмет: Ин. языки. Добавлен: 18.01.2009. Сдан: 2009. Уникальность по antiplagiat.ru: --.

Описание (план):

Belarus State Economic University
«Stages and types of an applied sociological research.
Sociological research process»
Minsk 2008
What is an applied sociological research?
Sociology can't exist without various kinds of empiric information about s
ocial processes and events that take place in the society. Such information can be found in the data of formal statistics published in magazines, bulletins etc. It can also be obtained as a result of an applied sociological research (ASR) which differs from a fundamental research by its final result. A fundament research is aimed at getting new knowledge while an applied sociological research is to be carried out to solve a particular social problem. This feature constitutes the ASR specificity.
The ASR specificity is made up of other features, too. There are two types of applied sociological researches. The first one is to investigate problems which demand consequent and long-term managerial activities; the second one is carried out on request of customers on one occasion. Success of such a research depends on mutual understanding between a researcher and a customer as far as its aims, objectives and expected results are concerned. Time factor is also very important as results should be gained in terms agreed upon by both sides.
Any ARS requires a solid theoretical basis. To work it out, a researcher should have a good command of a sociological conceptual apparatus. It is of great significance because different social sciences and even different scientific schools within one science make use of different concepts to explain one and the same phenomenon. If it is a pure theoretical analysis, choosing notions and concepts makes no difficulty, as a rule. If it is empiric learning of a social problem, a sociologist should be able to make a correlation of theoretic models with their analogues in real life and correspondingly make use of notions and categories relevant for the given scientific perspective.
There are still debates in sociology whether it should have its own conceptual apparatus. The arguments are of rather a principal character because there is a close tie between people's everyday consciousness and social sciences that has already resulted in borrowing many concepts from everyday consciousness to the conceptual apparatus of science. For instance, fundamental concepts “interest”, “motive”, “need”, “role” etc. are but a few examples of this kind, and they differ from other sociological categories such as “system”, “semiotics”, “functionalism”, “structure”, “stereotype” etc. In contrast to sociology, in natural sciences the number of borrowed everyday concepts is very small because there are fewer dilettantes among chemists or physicists than among sociologists, whose role any person without professional training is ready to perform.
Traditionally there are three types of concepts in sociology: those of general philosophic, those of grand sociological and operational ones. The first type of concepts exists in sociology because sociology emerged within social philosophy and preserved many of its concepts such as “society”, “social norms”, “culture”, “values” etc. When became separated, sociology began working out its own apparatus related to the areas of social life considered its object of research, for instance, “social action”, “social institution”, “social process”, “social control” etc. At the operational level (that of collecting empiric data), sociologists make use of concepts called variables which define people's opinion of somebody or something, income level of a separate social group etc.
Anyway, the number of concepts and terms is constantly increasing due to the latest discoveries which are made in modern science changing the picture of social world and due to the processes taking place in modern society.
Diversity of the conceptual apparatus shows that having one and the same object of analysis, each scientific perspective in sociology singles out different subject areas in it. It means that the contents of a given concept may be brought about in a different way so as to what scientific school or paradigm it is studied by. For instance, philosophy accounts for 60 definitions of personality and 400 definitions of culture. Similar differences can be seen in sociology as well. So each concept and term reflects definite approaches and conceptions, and within them - qualities, characteristics of objects, phenomena, processes etc. being under study by researchers of those conceptions and perspectives.
The role of the conceptual apparatus is seen as double: first, it reflects the state of scientific conception of the analyzed object; second, it serves as the basis for working out a system of variables used in sociological surveys, observations, experiments etc.
Stages and types of an applied sociological research
The aim of an applied sociological research is to get facts to meet the custo
mers' practical needs, and it is carried out to confirm or reject a hypothesis. There are four stages in it: 1) a preparatory stage, 2) a field stage, 3) preparation for processing and processing the data, 4) analyzing the data and reporting the findings.
At the ASR preparatory stage the topic is made specified, a theoretic conception and research design are developed, a sample is made, tools of research are determined, research groups are formed, schedules are made, material and technical supply is discussed.
The aim of the ASR field stage is to collect primary sociological information in natural setting, or “in field”. The data can be obtained from people in class, at work, in and outdoors, on the exit etc. with different means and tools fixed by a research design.
Preparation for processing and processing of data. The obtained information needs checking up and regulating. The whole amount of data is studied from the viewpoint of the extract's deviation from calculated parameters. The procedure includes looking through methodic documents to see if they are filled in an exact and complete way, with high quality, then reject as defective those papers which don't satisfy the necessary requirements. Open questions are decoded, and the data can be processed with the computer. If the amount is little, it may be given a manual analysis.
Analyzing the data and reporting the findings. At this stage, conclusions are made if the hypotheses have been confirmed or rejected, social relationships, tendencies, contradictions, paradoxes, new social problems are revealed, results of the research are given shape of a document. Such documents are 1) information notes; 2) information report; 3) analytical report; 4) report on research. The last two documents should contain conclusions and recommendations on how to solve the learnt problem.
Due to depth of analyzing the subject of research and level of complexity of objectives being solved, there are three basic types of an ASR: a pilot, descriptive and analytical ones.
A pilot ASR is aimed at checking up how a basic ASR is prepared. It covers small amounts of phenomena and is based on a simple research design, so elements of the basic ASR are to be checked up: its objectives, hypotheses, conceptions, tools etc are specified. Very often new hypotheses are formed as a result of the pilot ASR.
A descriptive ASR is to get empiric data enabling to make up an integral presentation of a learnt phenomenon and its structural elements. It is based on a research design worked out in detail, and an approved set of tools is used. A descriptive ASR is used when the object of analysis is a relatively big amount of elements with various characteristics. With a descriptive ASR, one can compare and confront the object's features, find out if there are social relations between them etc.
An analytical ASR is the deepest type of sociological analysis with the aim of both describing structural elements of the study phenomenon and finding out causes affecting its character and specificity. It needs a lot of time, a detailed research design and approved tools. By its methods of collecting empirical data, an analytical ASR is of a complex character as the data can be obtained with various forms of survey, document analysis and observation.
Another typology of ASR is based on whether an object is studied in statics or dynamics.
An instant ASR provides information about the state of an object and its characteristics at the moment of its study, or in statics. The information gathered that way bears static character as it reflects the object at a single point of time and can't show changes or tendencies of the object developing in due course.
A repeated ASR is a study of one and the same object or objects carried out over a period of time or at several different points in time under same or different conditions, or in dynamics. Being rather complex by character, it requires rich methodic and methodological experience that a sociologist must have.
Learning social phenomena means getting and analyzing lots of information that is often non-systematic, non-comparable, obtained from different sources with different levels of reliability etc. In order to get a reliable picture of social reality and dynamics of social processes, it's necessary to collect the data that most totally reflect social change, can be easily classified, systematized and given a quantitative generalization. So, collecting information should be done on a special purpose.
The most effective way to do it is social monitoring as an integral system to get the data about the phenomena and processes taking place in the society. Social monitoring is designed to fix, keep and make primary analysis of the obtained information, that's why it requires theoretic, methodological basis and technical means to analyze the data. Monitoring is carried out by a single centre which provides processing of the data and makes them available for every customer.
Social monitoring is traditionally viewed as including two subsystems: statistical monitoring and sociological monitoring. Statistical monitoring is a system of getting quantitative characteristics of different sides of the society. Its aim is to collect statistical indices, parameters, coefficients etc. so that researchers can make an efficient analysis of political, economic, social and other phenomena.
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