sociology ch 3

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Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher of science, argues that truth is relative, in that it is dependent on the paradigm through which one understands the world. true or false?


If you pick your method carefully, you will not have to sacrifice any type of information or advantage. true or false?


Ethnographic research projects can be designed so that there is a minimum of outside interference. true or false?


You are about to do a series of interviews about drug abuse and academic performance. In order to make people feel more comfortable, you tell them that these interviews are about student satisfaction with the university and have them sign a form showing that they’ve willingly agreed to participate. You have the informed consent of your research subjects. true or false?


Sociologists try to conduct interviews that are both more systematic and more scientific than those conducted by journalists. true or false?


The order in which a questionnaire asks about different issues cannot affect the way people respond. true or false?


Survey data is often less valid than that produced by other methods because respondents are not always honest when answering questionnaires. true or false?


A university decides to conduct a survey to learn if students like the lasagna and garlic bread in the cafeteria. It distributes questionnaires in three English classes and two sociology classes. This will produce a simple random sample of the student body. true or false?


As long as correct sampling techniques are used, researchers can make generalizations about a large population from a much smaller sample. true or false?


Survey researchers have to worry about response rate, the number of surveys that are returned compared to the number that are sent out. If only half of a sample completes a survey, that would be an insufficient response rate. true or false?


In a random sample, everyone who happens to be available when a researcher is seeking participants could be included in a study. true or false?


No harm can come to subjects as a result of completing a questionnaire. true or false?


Codes of ethics in the social sciences provide very strict guidelines for researchers to follow. true or false?


Market research is probably the most common
use of sociological methods for nonacademic purposes.
true or false?


Marxists are among the strongest supporters of value-free sociology. true or false?


Some "facts" that sociologists once believed to be unambiguously true are now treated as opinions, biases, or speculation. true or false?


Polls and surveys do not just reflect popular opinion; they can also be used to shape and change attitudes and beliefs. true or false?


1. Before beginning a research project, what will a good researcher always do?

Review the literature in order to become familiar with earlier research that relates to his topic

2. If the federal government conducts research on the value of checking batteries in home smoke detectors, what method will produce data that is most easy to transmit to many people?


3. A famous social scientist tells you that the most important, though never totally successful, task in her research was to move from "total bewilderment" to "finding her feet" with the people she was studying. What can you say about this researcher?

She’s a qualitative researcher.

4. What is the scientific method?

The standard procedure for acquiring and verifying empirical knowledge

5. According to the scientific method, what are the steps in research, and in what order should they be completed?

Form a hypothesis, define variables, predict outcomes, collect data, analyze data

6. You’re doing a research project on the effects of contemporary media. If your hypothesis is that "watching violence on television causes an increase in violent behavior," then what are your variables?

Violence on television and violent behavior.

7. You’re conducting research on violence in the media. If you’re trying to decide whether "violence" includes words as well as actions, in what part of the research process are you engaged?

Defining the variables

8. What do you call broad theoretical models of the social or natural world?


9. A paradigm shift is a major break in the assumptions that are used to understand the world. What causes a paradigm shift?

New data forces a new way of looking at the world

10. A graduate student is almost done with his dissertation when he is informed that twenty years ago someone did a very similar project and already demonstrated what he had hoped to be the first to discover. What basic step of the scientific method could have saved him from this problem?

Reviewing the literature

11. In the 1980s, many politicians argued that listening to heavy metal music led teenagers to commit suicide. While you might find this belief silly, it is a(n):


12. A social research methods class wants to study smoking. First the professor asks how many people in the class are smokers. Two people say yes. Then she asks how many people have smoked a cigarette in the last week, and ten people say yes. From this the class decides that, for the purposes of its survey, a smoker will be anyone who has had a cigarette in the last week and currently owns a pack of cigarettes. This is a(n):

operational definition

13. A sociologist wants to study popular attitudes and perceptions about astrology among college students in California. She believes that people who have astrological signs identified with fire will have a greater knowledge of astrology because fire signs tend to have more interesting and attractive symbolism. What are the variables in this study?

astrological signs and knowledge of astrology

14. In recent years, sociologists who study deviance have learned that they can measure the quantities of narcotics consumed by a community by testing its sewage before treatment. What part of the research process would the sociologists be carrying out when they visit the sewage treatment plant?

collecting data

15. The summer of 2003 saw a murderous heat wave hit Europe, killing as many as 11,000 people in France. However 2003 was a statistical anomaly, as the mortality rate was actually far higher in the winter than in the summer. The human body reacts to cold in several ways, including increased blood clotting, which leads to both strokes and heart attacks. Research has proven that there is a correlation between cold weather and mortality, and researchers believe that the correlation is more than spurious because:

the body’s reaction to cold leads to a higher incidence of death

16. One study found a strong correlation between parental bonding and adolescent drug use. Children with stronger bonds to their parents were far less likely to try drugs or alcohol. However when the researchers examined their data more closely, they discovered that parental bonding was really a predictor for teen religiosity, and that high levels of religiosity prevent drug use. This means that religiosity was:

the intervening variable

17. A study showed a fairly high correlation between not smoking and having a high college grade point average. Although some people used this study as evidence that smoking is bad, if you accept that smoking doesn’t cause someone to lose brain cells or study less, you would probably conclude that the study:

employed a spurious correlation

18. Karl Marx was influenced by the philosopher
Georg Hegel but argued that, in some fundamental ways, Hegel’s theories were mistaken about how the world worked. Marx said that he needed to "stand Hegel on his head" because Marx believed that
"it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness." For many who came afterward, Marx’s argument represented a:

paradigm shift

19. Charles Darwin suggested that, rather than being superior to the rest of the animal kingdom, human beings were simply one part of a larger system governed by natural laws. To the extent that this radically changed how people thought about almost everything, we would call it a(n):

paradigm shift

Which method most closely resembles the scientific method as it is depicted here?

experimental research

21. Which of the following affect the methods used by sociological researchers?

a. what they want to accomplish b. the methods they are trained in and feel comfortable with c. the time available to complete their projects d. the resources and funds available e. all of the above!!!!!!! <—- Answer!

22. If you observe a group in order to determine its norms, values, rules, and meanings, then what kind of research are you doing?

qualitative research

23. What are the goals of ethnography?

to describe activities sociologists observe and to understand what those activities mean to the people involved

24. Which method of social research might involve shifting between participating in a social situation and being an observer?


25. What does it mean if ethnographers are overt about their roles?

They openly admit that they are doing sociological research.

26. Ethnographers sometimes write down key words or quotations while they’re interacting with people. Given that they will write much more detailed fieldnotes later, what is the advantage of these brief, sketchy notes?

They are an aid to memory when writing more detailed fieldnotes.

27. Clifford Geertz coined the term "thick description" to define good ethnographic fieldnotes. Which of
the following is NOT associated with thick description?

a comprehensive list of events

28. Ethnographers using participant observation must always be aware of reflexivity, which occurs because:

the presence of ethnographers may alter the behavior of the people they are observing

29. Which of the following is NOT an advantage of using ethnography to study social life?

Ethnography allows the researcher to gather data on large populations.

30. Which of the following is a disadvantage of using ethnography as a method of social research?

It is very difficult for another researcher to repeat or replicate any particular ethnography.

31. If a piece of sociological research is representative, it means that:

the smaller group of people studied can tell us something about a larger group

32. Which of the following research techniques focuses on gaining an insider’s perspective of the everyday lives of subjects under investigation, often dispelling stereotypes about the group being investigated?

participant observation

33. The sociologist Mitch Duneier wrote his ethnography, Sidewalk, about street vendors in New York City’s Greenwich Village. While writing the book, Duneier was particularly concerned that the people he was studying would alter their behavior when he was present, especially since his background was very different from theirs. What do sociologists call this problem?


34. In her ethnography, Number Our Days, Barbara Myerhoff investigated the daily lives of elderly Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who lived in Los Angeles. Most of her work took place at a senior citizen center. Before she could even start this research, Meyerhoff had to convince the director of the center that it was a legitimate and worthwhile project, a process known as:

gaining access

35. In her ethnography, Wheeling &amp; Dealing, Patricia Adler investigates the social and professional worlds of midlevel cocaine and marijuana smugglers. Her research started serendipitously when she discovered that her next-door neighbor and friend was a drug smuggler; this was a huge advantage for her because it meant that she already had ____________ with one of her informants.


Julie Bettie wrote her ethnography, Women Without Class: Girls, Race, and Identity, to examine the role of race and class in the lives of girls in California’s Central Valley. She did most of her work at a high school, hanging out with and talking to students, but she felt very self-conscious about writing down her observations where the girls could see her, so she often ducked into a bathroom stall to write. What do ethnographers call her written observations?


37. One of Mitch Duneier’s main conclusions in his ethnography of street vendors in New York City was that, despite the chaos and disorder they seem to bring to the street, the opportunity to sell something actually gave vendors a sense of purpose and dignity. Disputing aspects of New York’s crackdown on petty and nonviolent crimes, Duneier argues that politicians have failed to distinguish between physical signs of decline, like graffiti, and street vendors who are working to improve their lives. Which of the following advantages of ethnography does Duneier’s research demonstrate?

The detailed nature of ethnographies can help to reshape the stereotypes that we hold about others and that are often the basis for social policy.

38. A sociologist wants a major national organization to fund her study of medical marijuana clubs in San Francisco, but is turned down because the grantmakers don’t see how her study would represent knowledge about anything more than the clubs that would be studied. What is the organization concerned about?


39. When he was writing Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture, the ethnographer Walter Williams was always very open about his own sexual orientation, because he believed that being open with the people he was studying was the only way to establish a trusting and sharing interaction with them. What was Williams concerned with?


40. Sociologists who administer interviews can only gather data from a limited number of people because

interviews are too time consuming

41. If a researcher has obtained informed consent from all his participants, it means that:

a. they have all explicitly agreed to participate in the research b. they all belong to the target population identified by the researcher c. they all understand the nature of the study and what will be asked of them d. their confidentiality has been guaranteed e. both A and C <——- E is answer!

42. A closed-ended question is one that:

limits the possible responses

43. Researchers should try to avoid double-barreled questions, or questions that:

ask about multiple issues

44. What kind of question usually produces a wide variety of responses by allowing respondents to answer in whatever way seems appropriate to them?

an open-ended question

45. After researchers conduct a series of interviews, they usually transcribe the responses. The transcription process is fairly time consuming, but it is valuable in part because it allows researchers to:

look for patterns in their data

46. Which of the following is NOT an advantage of using interviews as a research method?

They allow researchers to analyze data statistically and draw correlations.

47. In her research for The Second Shift, Arlie Hochschild interviewed married couples to find out how they dealt with changing family roles as more women entered the workforce. What advantages came from her decision to use interviews as a research method?

It allowed her to gather direct quotations and construct an intimate portrait of married couples.

48. Researchers are often worried that interviewees have not been completely honest or forthcoming, especially when asked about sensitive subjects. How did Arlie Hochschild attempt to deal with this problem?

She observed some respondents as they went about their daily routines to see if their actions matched their answers.

49. Which of the following is NOT a disadvantage of using interviews to conduct social research?

Interviewees are allowed to speak in their own words

50. Why do social scientists who use interviews rarely speak with large numbers of people for a project?

Face-to-face interviewing is a very time consuming process.

Arlie Hochschild was concerned that her sample of interviewees was too small to guarantee representativeness. How did Hochschild attempt to overcome this problem?

by comparing demographic information about her interviewees with information about her target population

52. A research team is curious about the relationship between diet and exercise habits and academic performance among American college students. In order to get their data the researchers randomly select 17 colleges by pulling names out of a hat and travel to campuses, where they stand in prominent public places and ask for volunteers until they have 10 people from each campus willing to be interviewed. What is the researchers’ target population?

American college students

53. Every four years, when it’s time to elect a new president, we pay much attention to surveys, though we usually call them "polls." Even though there are more than 300 million people in the United States, most political pollsters ask about 1,000 people who they plan to vote for and use that information to predict how the election will turn out. Who is the sample for a presidential poll?

the 1,000 people who are asked who they will vote for

54. Imagine that you’re trying to rewrite a survey. You find a multiple-choice question that asks "What is your favorite recreational activity?" and gives three response options: watching television, shopping, or sports. You add a fourth response option, "other," and invite respondents to write an activity of their choice. What kind of question have you just made?


55. A professor has been commissioned by a college to do research on its new academic system. The college plans to move from a semester system to block scheduling. He asks, "How have teachers and students responded to the new intensive block scheduling system?" This is an example of:

a double-barreled question

56. Some researchers suggest that interviews give "voice" to people who may never have been heard before and offer privileged access to authentic experience, private worlds, and true selves. How do interviews do this?

Interviews allow respondents to speak in their own words; they can reveal their own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, internal states that would not necessarily be accessible by any other means.

57. The anthropologist Ruth Behar traveled to San Luis Potosi to learn more about the everyday lives of Mexican women. Instead she ended up conducting one very long, very intensive interview with a woman named Esperanza, and wrote a book based upon more than a year of interview data. Which disadvantage of the interview methodology does this book highlight?

Face-to-face interviewing is time consuming, and interviews are rarely used with large numbers of people. Thus, their representativeness is sometimes questionable.

58. Survey research tends to produce quantitative data. One key advantage of this kind of data is that:

it is easy to transmit to the public

59. When survey researchers write closed-ended questions, they often use Likert scales to construct the possible answers. How do Likert scales allow respondents to answer?

They allow respondents to answer along a continuum, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree."

60. While it is always important to ask clear and unambiguous questions regardless of the method that you use, it is especially important to avoid confusion when conducting surveys. Why?

When using survey research methods, the researcher is usually not present to clarify any misunderstandings.

61. When writing questions for a survey, researchers must avoid all of the following EXCEPT:

open-ended questions

62. When writing a survey, researchers must avoid negative questions, which are defined as:

questions that ask a respondent about what they don’t think, rather than what they do think

63. Why would mentioning a sensitive issue, such as divorce or infidelity, in a survey question influence how respondents answer later questions?

The respondents may think about the sensitive issue when answering later questions.

64. Which of the following is NOT an advantage of survey research?

Because survey research often allows for anonymity, respondents are more honest and often produce more valid data.

65. A pilot study is:

a smaller study used to investigate the feasibility of a larger one

66. Why are respondents often more comfortable addressing sensitive subjects on surveys than in other research contexts?

They can answer in private.

67. When do sociologists most often use statistical tools to analyze their data?

when they use experiments and surveys

68. A sociologist uses a survey to study the attitudes of adults in the United States concerning premarital sex among teenagers. In this study, the target population consists of ____________, and the group who is asked the survey questions is called the ____________.

all adults in the United States; sample

69. Imagine that you work at a local hospital, and it’s your job to design a customer-satisfaction survey. One of the most important questions concerns patient satisfaction with care received, but you don’t know how to compare responses. Which of the following is a common tool that survey researchers use to standardize answers?

Likert scales

70. When high schools want to ask students about sensitive subjects like drug use or sexual health, they often use surveys, rather than a more direct form of communication like interviews. Why?

Surveys allow students to answer the questions in private and assure the confidentiality of their responses.

71. In 2005 a commercial research firm carried out a study of hand washing in public restrooms. The researchers observed 6,336 individuals wash their hands, or not, in the public restrooms of major attractions in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco. Ninety percent of the women observed washed their hands, compared with only 75 percent of the men. Interestingly enough, when asked via a telephone survey 97 percent of women and 96 percent of men claimed they always washed their hands after using a public restroom. What disadvantage of survey research does this illustrate?

Not all respondents provide honest self-reports, so survey research has comparatively less validity.

72. Any time a social researcher is going to use sampling, they must first identify their target population, which is:

the larger group of people that they wish to generalize about

73. Which of the following is true about a sample?

It is always smaller than the group that it is used to generalize about.

74. A simple random sample is defined as:

a sample in which every member of the population has a chance of being included

75. Sometimes survey researchers reject randomness and instead use weighting techniques to construct a sample. How is a weighted sample different from a random one?

The weighted sample more closely resembles the larger population.

76. One of the key methods used to do political polling is random-digit dialing, in which every phone number in an area code has an equal chance of being selected to take part in a survey. However researchers have noticed that young people are more likely to only use a cell phone, and people with cell phones are less likely to answer a call from an unknown number. As a result, polling organizations often count responses from young people as being worth "more" than those from older people. What is this technique called?


77. In 1936 The Literary Digest conducted a survey to predict the winner of the presidential election. It sent ten million surveys to a variety of households identified through phone books, automobile registries, and magazine subscriptions. Two million people returned the surveys and showed a very strong preference for Alf Landon over Franklin Roosevelt. What was the response rate?

20 percent

78. Which of the following are disadvantages of using existing sources of data for research?

a. Researchers often seek answers to questions that the data doesn’t directly address. b. Researchers have to spend a great deal of time and money to get the data. c. Researchers do not always understand how the data was interpreted or what it meant in its original context. d. both A and B e. both A and C ANSWER is E!!!!! <—-

79. If a researcher uses a social networking site like Facebook to obtain data, they are:

using existing sources

80. Why are social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace so exciting to sociologists who study social networks?

For the first time, social networking sites offer sociologists a data set rich enough to test ideas that until now have only been theorized.

81. According to researchers who study online social networks, how are online networks different from social networks established through traditional, real-life, face-to-face contact?

Online networks aren’t different.

The analysis of documents, such as medical records, photographs, diaries, letters, newspapers, and song lyrics, uses which of the following types of data?

existing sources

83. What is the primary goal of comparative and historical research methods?

to understand relationships between parts of society in different times and different places

84. Why is the use of existing data, especially in comparative and historical research, especially helpful to students?

It requires fewer resources than collecting original data.

85. The Yale sociologist Kai Erikson wrote a book called Wayward Puritans, in which he drew on court records from colonial Massachusetts to understand deviance in the past. He learned that the rate of out-of-wedlock births was much higher than it is now and that the amount of alcohol consumed per capita was higher as well. What research methodology was Erikson using?


86. If a sociologist watches a lot of television and counts the number of times women play roles with lower status than men, what research method is he using?

content analysis

87. If you were to conduct a research project investigating the relationship between the brands and shapes of gummy candy available in American convenience stores, what methodology would you use?

content analysis

88. Which research method most closely resembles the scientific method?

experimental research

89. When doing experimental research, why is it important to control for everything except the independent variable?

so that a clear conclusion can be drawn about what influences the dependent variable

90. When conducting experiments, how is the experimental group different from the control group?

The experimental group receives the independent variable, and the control group does not

The experimental group receives the independent variable, and the control group does not

The experimental group receives the independent variable, and the control group does not

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