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Artlab

Artlab "...explores new forms of research which engage participants on a creative, artistic and/or visual level". In other words, it features research projects based around the use of visual media as a means of gathering data - and very good it is too. It's well worth a visit for the insight into a slightly-different type of research methodology.

Interactive Ethics

In this simple "interactive challenge" you play the role of a member of an ethics committee making decisions about the extent to which a proposed piece of research - a study of sex workers - conforms to or breaches a set of ethical guidelines.

Ethnographic Methods

The focus of this site is cultural anthropology and the various methods anthropologists use in their fieldwork - one of which just happens to be participant observation. You'll find some relatively plain pages of notes here covering some of the basics of this method, with additional comments relating to possible sources of bias. Although many of the links to further reading are broken there's enough information here to serve as a useful introduction to ethnographic research methods.

Expectation Effects

 Everything you'd ever want to know - and plenty that you probably didn't - about various forms of expectation effect (more-commonly known in the A-level sociology literature as the "observer effect"). This article draws on and illustrates familiar studies - from the Hawthorne Effect to Pygmalion in the Classroom - to illustrate the general proposition.

Gerard Keegan

This A-level Psychology site has some useful notes on areas like research design, methods, data and sampling. It's basically just pages of annotated / linked text and the colour scheme's a bit garish (or funky if you prefer) but it all seems competent enough (if a little unexciting - and speaking as one who doesn't like to live dangerously that's fine by me...).  

National Statistics

If you need Official UK government statistics this is probably the site to visit since, as you might expect, it contains a wealth of statistical information across a wide range of areas (crime, education, family and so forth). The material is mainly available for download in Adobe .pdf format rather than for on-line viewing (but unless you're looking for something small and specific this is not really a problem).

The Hypothetico-Deductive Model

A simple one-slide representation of Popper's classic statement of scientific research. The Presentation is self-advancing and each element in the model is revealed after a short delay.

Interviews

A page about interviews (oh yes) - what are they, when and how they are used, types of question, their advantages and disadvantages and much, much, more. It's all neatly presented, as it should be given that it has the backing of Channel 4.

James Randi Foundation

James Randi is a world-famous magician who also happens to take a close and abiding interest in "the paranormal" - in the sense that he takes a sceptical view of the claims of those who claim various forms of "psychic powers" (his "Million Dollar Challenge", for example, offers the aforesaid fortune to "the individual who can prove, in a controlled setting, that they have "super" powers"). This site, therefore, offers teachers and students a practical setting for the exploration of methodological concepts and positions (positivism, empiricism, reliability, validity and so forth) relating to ideas about the sociology of science.

Knowledge Base

The opening blurb on the site tells you most of what you essentially need to know: "The Research Methods Knowledge Base is a comprehensive web-based textbook that addresses all of the topics in a typical introductory undergraduate or graduate course in social research methods". In basic terms, it's a hyperlinked document that covers most of the essential aspects of social research in a level of detail that's probably too complicated for A-level students without a lot of teacher help and guidance. However, if you take the time to sort the wheat from the chaff this is a very useful and comprehensive methods site.

Naturalistic Observation

Simple, but effective, lesson plan that gives students practical experience of naturalistic observation.

Questionnaires

As you might expect from the title, this page is about questionnaires - what are they, when and how they are used, types of question and much, much, more. It's all neatly presented in a cartoony sort of way, as befits most efforts from Channel 4's Learning Zone.

Resources for Methods

Gene Shackman's "Free Resources for Program Evaluation and Social Research Methods" (to give it it's full title) provides a range of annotated links to a wide variety of sites and sources relating to social research - from different types of method, through research methodologies to areas like sampling. Some of the linked sites / sources are above A-level standard but both teachers and students will find something useful here to enhance their knowledge and understanding of research methods and methodology in the social sciences.  

Social Research Update

This online research publication site contains a wide range of accessible (and mercifully short) articles covering a number of different research methods and their application to real-world situations and issues (such as researching the fear of crime). Given that it's run by Surrey University, students may need help interpreting the data - but for teachers this is a useful source of summaries of recent research into the way different research methods can be used.

Social Trends

"Social Trends" is an invaluable source of official statistical information that draws together social and economic data from a wide range of government departments. The paper version is expensive, but electronic versions (currently editions 30 onward) can be downloaded "for free" - a small (indeed non-existent) price to pay for a reference work that brings hours of simple pleasure into the lives of untold numbers of students (and there aren't many things you can say that about while keeping a straight face...).

Statistics Glossary


Although the glossary lists many more concepts than will be required for A-level Sociology (A-level Psychologists will probably find it more useful), students and teachers will find the sections on sampling and related concepts useful, if only for the fact that such concepts are clearly and concisely explained...  

UK Data Archive

The Data Archive is, in the words of its creators: "...a specialist national resource containing the largest collection of accessible computer readable data in the social sciences and humanities in the United Kingdom." If you want data, you have to register and you sometimes have to pay a small handling fee, but otherwise, it's all free. Which is nice.


Research Methods


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