Evaluate the usefulness of quantitative methods in sociological research Essay

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Pages: 4

Sociology develops, adopts, and adapts a wide variety of methods for understanding the social world.

A quantitative approach is associated with the collection of facts, usually statistical in form, favoured by positivist sociologists. The quantitative approach studies the relationships between different groups of facts to find correlations or the ultimate goal, cause-and-effect relationships. The quantitative approach often results in patterns becoming translated into generalisations about the behaviour and attitudes of wider society.

Quantitative research is generally done using scientific methods, which includes the following steps: developing models, theories, and hypotheses of what the researcher expects to find, developing
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This is a significant underestimation of the true or real level of crime. Therefore official statistics only tell us about who collected them, how they were collected and for what purpose.

However, as noted above, interpretivist sociologists see official quantitative data as of little value, since they regard them as little more than a social construction.

Unstructured interviews and observation are not suitable for the quantitative approach as they are more appropriate to the study of small groups and the collection of qualitative data. Both methods are time-consuming, which would also be a barrier to researching large groups.

However, semi-structured interviews allow researchers to collect both quantitative and qualitative data through the structured and unstructured parts of the interview. These quantitative data can be correlated and compared and analysed to show any possible trends or patterns. This aspect of the method therefore produces data that are reliable in that the findings can be replicated. In contrast, the qualitative data, obtained from the follow-up questions, increase the validity of the findings as people express their emotions and feelings. Therefore, as a method, semi-structured interviews allow some sort of rapport to be built between respondent and researcher that will encourage the respondent to open