Outcome: Research Methods

Identify and differentiate between types of research methods, discussing the benefits and limitations of each

Have you ever gone for a jog and felt your feet getting heavy and your motivation lacking only to hear the sound of a car approaching behind you and abruptly pick up the pace? Sociologists sometimes discover that people tend to act a little bit differently (better, perhaps?) when they are aware that they are being observed or that they are part of a study. For this reason, sociologists take extra precaution to design experiments and collect data in a way that will produce accurate and generalizable results. In this section, you’ll examine how researchers use surveys, conduct experiments, do field research, and utilize secondary data.

What You’ll Learn To Do:

  • Describe surveys and give examples of how sociologists utilize surveys
  • Discuss the benefits of conducting sociological experiments
  • Explain the three types of field research
  • Define and give examples of secondary data analysis
  • Differentiate between the four kinds of research methods: surveys, field research, experiments, and secondary data analysis
  • Understand why ethical standards exist


The learning activities for this section include:

  • Reading: Surveys
  • Reading: Experiments
  • Reading: Field Research
  • Reading: Secondary Data Analysis
  • Reading: Summary of Research Methods
  • Reading: Ethics
  • Self-Check: Research Methods