What is a 'grand theory'?
a) One that was proposed by one of the major theorists in the sociological tradition
b) One that is highly abstract and makes broad generalizations about the social world
c) An intermediate level explanation of observed regularities
d) A particularly satisfactory theory that makes the researcher feel happy
What does an empiricist believe?
a) We should not apply natural science methods to social science research
b) It is the sociologist's aim to understand the meaning of social action
c) Knowledge, in the form of 'facts', should be gained through sensory experience
d) Research conducted within the British empire was biased and unreliable
An inductive theory is one that:
a) Involves testing an explicitly defined hypothesis
b) Does not allow for findings to feed back into the stock of knowledge
c) Uses quantitative methods whenever possible
d) Allows theory to emerge out of the data
What is the epistemological position held by a positivist?
a) There is no substitute for an in-depth, hermeneutic understanding of society
b) Scientific research should be based on value-free, empirical observations
c) Events and discourses in the social world prevent us from having direct knowledge of the natural order
d) It is important to remain optimistic about our research, even when things go wrong
The interpretivist view of the social sciences is that:
a) Their subject matter is fundamentally different to that of the natural sciences
b) We should aim to achieve the interpretive understanding of social action
c) It is important to study the way people make sense of their everyday worlds
d) All of the above
Which of the following is an ontological question?
a) Should I use questionnaires or interviews in my project?
b) What can (and should) be considered acceptable forms of knowledge?
c) How long is it since I last visited the dentist?
d) Do social entities have an objective reality, external to social actors?
The constructionist ontological position suggests that:
a) Social phenomena and their meanings are constantly being accomplished by social actors
b) Individuals are born into a world of rules and structures that they cannot change
c) Building and construction work presents an ideal opportunity to exercise the sociological imagination
d) Social facts and objects have an external reality, independently of the people who perceive them
The qualitative research strategy places a value on:
a) Using numbers, measurements and statistical techniques
b) Generating theories through inductive research about social meanings
c) Conducting research that is of a very high quality
d) All of the above
Which of the following is an example of value-free research?
a) Conscious partiality
b) Sympathy for the underdog
c) Unstructured interviewing
d) None of the above
An important practical issue to consider when designing a research project is:
a) Which theoretical perspective you find most interesting
b) Whether or not you have time to retile the bathroom first
c) How much time and money you have to conduct the research
d) Which colour of ring binder to present your work in
Why do you need to review the existing literature?
a) To make sure you have a long list of references
b) Because without it, you could never reach the required word-count
c) To find out what is already known about your area of interest
d) To help in your general studying
To read critically means:
a) Taking an opposing point of view to the ideas and opinions expressed
b) Skimming through the material because most of it is just padding
c) Evaluating what you read in terms of your own research questions
d) Being negative about something before you read it
Which two of the following are legitimate frameworks for setting out a literature review: 1. Constructing inter-textual coherence, 2. Deconstruction of textual coherence, 3. Problematizing the situation, 4. Resolving discovered problems?
a) 1 and 2
b) 2 and 3
c) 1 and 3
d) 2 and 4
a) One which starts in your own library, then goes to on-line databases and, finally, to the internet
b) A replicable, scientific and transparent process
c) One which gives equal attention to the principal contributors to the area
d) A responsible, professional process of time-management for research
What is meta-analysis?
a) A technique of correcting for the errors in individual studies within a survey of a large number of studies, to demonstrate the effect of a particular variable
b) A process of secondary-data gathering to assemble all the possibilities for a variable's effects
c) A substitute for original research, which is justified by constraints of time or money
d) A specialized step in a computer software program (SPSS e.g.)
What is meta-ethnography?
a) A technique for reviewing literature based exclusively on ethnographic studies
b) A technique for synthesizing interpretations drawn from a number of separate qualitative studies of the same phenomena
c) A process used to make generalizations from a range of qualitative studies
d) A process of surveying only that literature contained within a single library
What is a narrative literature review?
a) An historically-based review, starting with the earliest contributions to the field
b) A review based exclusively on stories about companies, in book and case-study form
c) A paraphrase style of reviewing which does not require referencing
d) An initial impression of the topic which you will understand more fully as you conduct your research
When accessing the internet, which of these steps is the most essential?
a) Recording the full URL
b) Noting the access dates
c) Downloading material to be referenced
d) They are all equally important
According to the Harvard referencing convention, which is the correct reference?
a) Bryman, A. (2008, 3e) Social Research Methods, Oxford; Oxford University Press
b) Bryman (2008, second edition), Oxford University Press
c) Bryman, Alan, Social Research Methods (2008: OUP)
d) Bryman, A. Social Research Methods (2008)
Which of the following statements about plagiarism is most accurate?
a) It is so easy to "copy and paste" from the internet that everyone does it nowadays. If a proper reference is given, where is the harm in that?
b) How can we say for sure where our own ideas come from exactly? If we tried to give a reference for everything we could never hope to succeed.
c) Any suggestion that we have written what another actually wrote is morally wrong. Anyway, the whole point of a literature review is to show what we have read and what we thought about it.
d) Plagiarism is such an awful crime that those found guilty should be obliged to wear a scarlet "P" on their clothing
What is a research design?
a) A way of conducting research that is not grounded in theory
b) The choice between using qualitative or quantitative methods
c) The style in which you present your research findings, e.g. a graph
d) A framework for every stage of the collection and analysis of data
If a study is "reliable", this means that:
a) It was conducted by a reputable researcher who can be trusted
b) The measures devised for concepts are stable on different occasions
c) The findings can be generalized to other social settings
d) The methods are stated clearly enough for the research to be replicated
"Internal validity" refers to:
a) Whether or not there is really a causal relationship between two variables
b) Whether or not the findings are relevant to the participants' everyday lives
c) The degree to which the researcher feels that this was a worthwhile project
d) How accurately the measurements represent underlying concepts
Lincoln & Guba (1985) propose that an alternative criterion for evaluating qualitative research would be:
Naturalism has been defined as:
a) Viewing natural and social objects as belonging to the same realm
b) Being true to the nature of the phenomenon under investigation
c) Minimising the intrusion of artificial methods of data collection into the field
d) All of the above
In an experimental design, the dependent variable is:
a) The one that is not manipulated and in which any changes are observed
b) The one that is manipulated in order to observe any effects on the other
c) A measure of the extent to which personal values affect research
d) An ambiguous concept whose meaning depends on how it is defined
What is a cross-sectional design?
a) A study of one particular section of society, e.g. the middle classes
b) One that is devised when the researcher is in a bad mood
c) The collection of data from more than one case at one moment in time
d) A comparison of two or more variables over a long period of time
Survey research is cross-sectional and therefore:
a) High in replicability but low in internal validity
b) High in internal validity but low in reliability
c) High in ecological validity but low in external validity
d) None of the above
Panel and cohort designs differ, in that:
a) Cohort studies involve quantitative research, whereas panel studies are qualitative
b) A panel study does not need rules to handle new entrants to households
c) Only a cohort study will suffer from sample attrition
d) A panel study can distinguish between age effects and cohort effects, but a cohort design cannot
Cross cultural studies are an example of:
a) Case study design
b) Comparative design
c) Experimental design
What is rhetoric?
a) The type of rapport that is usually established in in-depth interviews
b) An ancient form of poetry
c) A technique used to assess the external reliability of a data source
d) The attempt to persuade or convince an audience, often through writing
Which of the following is not usually found in a report of a quantitative study?
The introductory section of a research report should aim to:
a) Identify the specific focus of the study
b) Provide a rationale for the dissertation, or article
c) Grab the reader's attention
d) All of the above
What is the purpose of the conclusion in a research report?
a) It explains how concepts were operationally defined and measured
b) It summarizes the key findings in relation to the research questions
c) It contains a useful review of the relevant literature
d) It outlines the methodological procedures that were employed
In a report of quantitative research, an empiricist repertoire serves to:
a) Confuse the reader with long and technical words
b) Demonstrate the researcher's reflexivity about their role in the research process
c) Give the impression that the results were objective and logically inevitable
d) Provide a confessional tale of what went wrong in the procedure
Which of the following is not normally included in a written account of qualitative research?
a) An introduction, locating the research in its theoretical context
b) An explanation of the design of the study
c) A discussion of the main findings in relation to the research questions
d) A decision to accept or reject the hypothesis
Postmodernist theorists challenge the idea of objective truth by arguing that:
a) There are many possible ways of interpreting and representing social reality
b) It is important to uncover the social laws that operate in an external reality
c) Only women have the unique standpoint needed to be able to make universal truth claims
d) All of the above
Apart from postmodernism, what other intellectual trend has stimulated an interest in the way social scientists use rhetorical devices in their writing?
b) Social studies of science
c) Traditional ethnography
d) Existentialist philosophy
A reflexive social researcher will be inclined to write about:
a) The effects that their values, biases and theoretical leanings might have had upon the data collection and analysis
b) The way in which their findings unfolded naturally and inevitably through logical deduction
c) The way in which their findings are objectively truthful and valid
d) The unproblematic and straightforward procedures of designing research, building a rapport with participants and interpreting the findings
The three forms of ethnographic writing that Van Maanen (1988) identifies are:
a) Positivist stories, interpretivist stories and realist stories
b) Native accounts, tourist accounts and voyeuristic accounts
c) Realist tales, confessional tales and impressionist tales
d) Feminist accounts, ethnomethodological accounts and postmodern accounts
Which of the following is not a problem associated with using web sites as sources of data?
a) The sample of web sites is only as good as the keywords used to search for them
b) It is difficult to find any web sites about most topics in social research
c) New web sites are constantly appearing while others are disappearing
d) The content of web sites is likely to change as they are updated
What is distinctive about asynchronous online communication?
a) The interviewer and their respondents write at different times
b) It cannot take place on the World Wide Web
c) It occurs in real time, with participants responding to questions immediately
d) It cannot be conducted by email
a) The use of visual data rather than written texts for content analysis
b) A technique used to facilitate online focus groups
c) A study that uses participant observation but not interviewing
d) An ethnographic study of an online community or social setting
Which of the following is a practical problem associated with asynchronous focus groups?
a) It is difficult to send out a welcome message to participants this way
b) Moderators cannot be available online 24 hours a day
c) Not all participants will have access to the required conferencing software
d) Participants do not have enough time to write detailed responses
An advantage of conducting an interview online rather than face-to-face is that:
a) It saves time and money as no travelling is involved
b) Informants have more time to give detailed, considered responses
c) There is no need to transcribe the data
d) All of the above
Which of the following is not a disadvantage of conducting focus groups online?
a) Those who are fastest at typing may dominate the discussions
b) It is more difficult to establish rapport without non-verbal cues
c) Normally shy participants may find it easier to "speak" in this setting
d) It is easier for people to ignore questions or drop out of the study
The two ways of distributing on-line surveys are:
a) Quantitatively and qualitatively
b) With an interview schedule or an observation schedule
c) By email and via the World Wide Web
d) Face-to-face or by post
What is the main advantage of an attached email questionnaire over an embedded one?
a) It retains more of the original formatting and so tends to look more attractive
b) It requires less expertise for the respondent to open and reply to it
c) Recipients will be reassured that the message does not contain a virus
d) It is easier to code the answers from this type of questionnaire
Why is it argued that samples recruited online are not representative of the general population?
a) Because online researchers only use random probability sampling methods
b) Because Internet users are most likely to be white, young and middle class
c) Because women are less likely than men to volunteer for online social research
d) None of the above
What is the advantage of using Internet surveys to supplement traditional postal questionnaires?
a) Postal questionnaires generally produce a higher response rate
b) It makes all of the data more directly comparable
c) Online social surveys generally produce a higher response rate
d) It allows people to respond in the way that is most convenient for them
What is the name of one of the arguments that suggests that research methods are inextricably linked to epistemological commitments?
a) Triangulation argument
b) Postmodern argument
c) Embedded methods argument
d) Positivist argument
Which version of the debate about multi-strategy research suggests that quantitative and qualitative research are compatible?
a) Technical version
b) Methodological version
c) Epistemological version
d) Feminist version
What is triangulation?
a) Using three quantitative or three qualitative methods in a project
b) Cross-checking the results found by different research strategies
c) Allowing theoretical concepts to emerge from the data
d) Drawing a triangular diagram to represent the relations between three concepts
How might qualitative research facilitate quantitative research?
a) By providing hypotheses that can later be tested
b) By helping with the design of survey questions
c) By informing the schedule of a structured interview
d) All of the above
How might quantitative research facilitate qualitative research?
a) By identifying specific groups of people to be interviewed
b) By showing the frequency of different responses to a survey item
c) By imposing a rigorous positivist framework on it
d) By combining laboratory experiments with structured observation
Whereas quantitative research tends to bring out a static picture of social life, qualitative research depicts it as …
How might qualitative research help with the analysis of quantitative data?
a) By identifying a sample of respondents for a follow-up study
b) By providing hard, statistical data about them
c) By making the research more value-laden and subjective
d) By helping to explain the relationship between two variables
How can multi-strategy research help us to study different aspects of a phenomenon?
a) By reducing the standard deviation of scores around the mean
b) By allowing the researcher to interview first women, and then men
c) By revealing both the macro and the micro level
d) By making it unnecessary to have more than one stage in the research process
When might unplanned multi-stage research be described as a "salvage operation"?
a) When the researcher abandons their original strategy and starts all over again
b) When the second research strategy is used to explain unexpected or puzzling results
c) When there is a paradigm shift from quantitative to qualitative research
d) When it is ethically unsound to use only one research strategy
Which of the following is not a feature of multi-strategy research?
a) It is inherently superior to mono-strategy research
b) It must be competently designed and conducted
c) It must be appropriate to the research questions
d) The skills of all researchers must be well integrated
Why is it important for structured interviews to follow a standardized procedure?
a) To increase validity, as the interview can be adapted for each respondent
b) To increase reliability, because all respondents receive the same interview stimulus
c) To allow for an in-depth exploration of the topic
d) To make it easier for untrained interviewers to carry out complex surveys
Standardizing the interview schedule can reduce interviewer variation in terms of:
a) The way in which questions are phrased by the interviewer
b) The order in which questions are asked
c) The procedures used to code and analyse survey data
d) All of the above