A system of logically consistent methodological, methodological and organizational-technical procedures, interconnected by the common goal of obtaining objective, reliable data about the phenomenon or process under study for their subsequent study in practice. Sociological research definition
Sociological research aimed at solving any practical problems, with the aim of developing scientifically based forecasts about the development trends of certain social phenomena or processes, is called applied . Research aimed primarily at the development of scientific theories is fundamental . Research focused on collecting and analyzing data using methods and techniques of sociological research is called empirical and can be carried out within the framework of both fundamental and applied sociology, depending on what goal it sets for itself.
To date, fundamental sociological research in Russia is practically not carried out, since the question of the existence of theoretical sociology in Russia remains open. Applied sociological research (except for marketing research and pre-election polls) is not focused on the practical application of their results. Sociological research definition
Types of sociological research:
- reconnaissance – a preliminary study carried out in order to clarify all elements of the main study and make the necessary adjustments to them;
- descriptive research aims to determine the structure, form and nature of the studied phenomenon or process;
- analytical research consists not only in describing the structural elements of the studied phenomenon or process, but also in identifying the reasons underlying this phenomenon.
- there is also a cohort study that involves the study of cohorts, i.e. those groupings in which individuals are included, selected in such a way that they experience the same events in the same conditions and in the same periods of time;
- comparative research – research focused on obtaining conclusions based on the comparison of sociological phenomena over time (panel, cohort) or by region (territorial). Sociological research definition
Stages of sociological research
I. Preparatory stage
During the preparatory stage of the sociological research, a research program is developed – a document that contains the methodological, methodological, organizational and technical substantiation of the sociological research.
1) Methodological section of the program:
- the formulation and substantiation of research problems, involving the conduct of a certain theoretical work, as a result of which the sociological aspects of the problem are highlighted and its main and secondary elements are determined. As a result of the analysis of the problem situation, the topic of the research project is determined;
- the object and subject of research is determined. In the subject of research, the spatial boundaries are determined within which the object of research is studied, the time boundary. Allocation of the object and the subject of research allows the sociologist, on the basis of system analysis, to construct his hypothetical idealized model, which can be presented in the form of a diagram describing the elements of the studied object and their connections;
- determination of the goals and objectives of the study. Sociological research definition
The aim of the study is the final result that the researcher intends to get after completing the work.
Research objectives – a range of problems that need to be analyzed in order to answer the main target research question.
Interpretation of concepts – a theoretical clarification of the basic concepts, is carried out so that researchers clearly and clearly understand the content (meaning) of the concepts with which they work, do not allow the use of terms of different interpretations.
Operationalization of concepts is a set of operations with the help of which the initial concepts used in a specific sociological study are decomposed into constituent elements that can, in aggregate, describe their content.
In the course of this stage of the study, working hypotheses are formed as forms of assumptions in which the contained value is of a probabilistic nature. A hypothesis is a sound scientific assumption put forward to explain a phenomenon and requiring verification. Sociological research definition
2) The methodological section of the program contains a description of the methodology and technique for conducting a sociological research.
The method of conducting a sociological research is a set of techniques and methods, procedures for establishing social facts, their processing and analysis.
The technique of sociological research is a set of skills and abilities for organizing and conducting sociological research.
Research toolkit – a set of methodological and technical techniques for conducting research, embodied in the corresponding operations and procedures, presented in the form of various documents. One of the characteristics of the quality of the sociological measurements carried out is validity. Validity is the degree to which a measured indicator complies with what is to be measured.
When determining the object of research, such a concept as “general population” is used, i.e. the set of all elements of a given object, the study of which involves certain costs. Therefore, as a rule, a sample population is selected from the general population using special methods. The procedure for selecting a subset of elements, a general population, allowing conclusions to be drawn about the entire set of elements is a sample . One of the models for the formation of a sample population is a random sample, in which the equality of chances of getting into the sample population for all units of the general population is strictly observed. Sociological research definition
Representativeness is the property of a sample to reflect the characteristics of the studied general population.
II. The main (field) stage of sociological research
involves the development of information collection procedures: methods of collecting primary sociological information, the method and procedure for their application are described, methods and methods of analyzing the collected material are thought out.
Methods for collecting primary sociological information
The most common method of collecting primary sociological information is a survey, which consists in verbal or written appeal to a sample of respondents with questions on the problem under study. There are two types of survey: written (questionnaire) and oral (interviewing).
1. Questionnaire survey – consists in a written appeal to the respondents with a questionnaire containing a set of questions ordered in a certain way (questionnaire). The questionnaire survey can be face-to-face, correspondence (postal, telephone, press); individual or group.
A typical questionnaire consists of: Sociological research definition
- introduction (information about the content of the questionnaire and the purpose of the study);
- informational part (substantive issue);
- classification part (socio-demographic information about the respondent);
- the final part.
Interviewing is a method of collecting sociological information, which consists in the fact that a specially trained interviewer, in direct contact with the respondent, verbally asks the questions stipulated by the research program.
Types of interviews:
- standardized (questionnaire);
- undirected (free);
- personal or group;
2. Observation – a method of collecting sociological information by direct registration by the researcher of events, phenomena and processes under certain conditions. Sociological research definition
- included, in which the researcher is a real member of the studied group; not included, in which the researcher receives information from outside the studied object;
- field and laboratory;
- standardized and non-standardized;
- systematic and random.
3. Document analysis – a method of collecting data in which documents are used as a source of information (official, unofficial, personal diaries, letters, films on film, audio recordings, etc.).
4. Experiment – a method of studying social phenomena, carried out by observing the change in a social object under the influence of factors that affect its development in accordance with the program and practical objectives of the study.
III. The final stage
is the preparation of primary information for its processing, analysis, formation of conclusions and practical recommendations. Sociological research definition
The information obtained as a result of processing and analysis of sociological research data, as a rule, is presented as numerical indicators and is subject to interpretation, during which it acquires semantic content.
Interpretation is the transformation of sociological information from numerical indicators into specific characteristics of the research object identified as a result of research.
The results of the research are formed in the form of a report, which contains statements of the concepts and methods used, a description and sections of the program, a description, analysis of the data obtained, conclusions, proposals and practical recommendations.