How would you discuss the ways in which sociologists study everyday life?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Sociologists try to study every day life through a variety of different research methods.  Different sociologists believe in using different methods.  Also, different kinds of questions might demand different research methods.

One thing sociologists do is they try to analyze statistics.  They might look at crime statistics to see if they can tell what kinds of people commit crimes (is it people of a certain age, a certain income level, a certain level of education, people from one-parent families, etc).

Another kind of sociologist is more interested in trying to really understand individual lives.  Such a sociologist might spend time observing the lives of people she's interested in (for example a community of poor people).  She might try, through watching them, to understand what their lives are like and why they do the things they do.

These are two major ways of studying every day life -- one through numbers, the other through watching.

I'm not sure if that's what you're asking.  Please let me know if it's not.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Sociology is concerned with understanding the behavior of people within a social context. It involves how people behave as members of society, of social institutions and other groups. Understanding of these aspects of human behavior is based on study of general conditions and behavior of society including, population studies, social behavior, social institutions, cultural influences and social change.

Study of everyday life, which is influenced substantially by culture, and which reflects the culture to some extent is an important aspect of the social behavior.To study such behavior sociologists normally work with small groups, observing and studying various aspects of their behavior such as attitudes, conformity, leadership and other roles adopted by individuals and their status. They study how people interact with each other, take decisions and resolve their differences. They pay particular attention to norms of behavior and pressure for conformity exerted by the group.

Sociologists rely primarily on three main methods of collecting data. These include field surveys, controlled experiments, and field observation. Most surveys consist of collecting data form sampled respondents on areas of interest to the researcher. Such data may consist of personal traits of individuals such as attitudes, beliefs, and opinions. Surveys may also collect information on observable behavior of the respondents or others.

Controlled experiments are best suited for study of behavior in small groups. In most cases two groups are formed which are very similar to each other except in one specific aspects such as sex, education, income level, and so on. Both the groups are assigned to perform independently a common task, or subject to identical situation calling for some reaction from the group. The behavior of these groups is observed, recorded and analyzed by trained sociologists.

Field investigation usually involves a trained sociologist living with a particular community that is the subject of study. The researcher observes various aspects of their behavior. He or she may also collect additional information on aspects such as the purpose and meaning of their specific actions, by talking to the members of the community. The information such collected is recorded and analysed to draw general conclusions.

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das9 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Thank you yes, the qualitative vs quantative method is a good starting point. I'm confusing myself with the title of the discussion though and am not sure which area to focus on. I know the title is broad and can be taken in many different ways, so it's just deciding which way to go with it. It's for a 2,500 word essay.

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