Western Governors University
Investigational Techniques Utilized in Sociology and Anthropology
Sociologists and Anthropologists use many of the same methods to conduct research. Both fields rely on qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative research is not in numerical form, making it more subjective research. Quantitative research yields measurable, numerical data. This type of research can be used to form statistics.
A common method employed by sociologists is survey research. Survey research typically involves a questionnaire or interviews. Questions can be both, open-ended, or direct, but it should be noted that open-ended questions produce results that may be more difficult to analyze. Direct surveys might consist of yes or no answers, or rating something on a number scale.
Survey research is justified in the sense that is allows information to be gathered from a larger number of people at once. Surveys can be completed in multiple ways; via telephone, mail, online or in person. This makes surveys convenient for participants.
Another method of research used by sociologists is experimental research. Experimental research is controlled. That is to say, two groups should be examined; one controlled, and one experimental. The only difference between the two groups should be the factor that is being studied. This allows for causation to be narrowed down. Archival research, or historical analysis, is a common research method utilized by anthropologists. Researchers can analyze groups based on historical documentation and compare it to the present.
Another commonly used research method is participant observation. Anthropologists submerge themselves into the culture of those being observed, even living with the group. This type of research is conducted