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Социология COMPREHENSION EXERCISES
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I. Reread the text and answer the following questions.

1) What research techniques do sociologists regularly use to generate data? 2) What is considered to be the classic method of conducting an experiment? 3) What problems does the sociologist face in conducting participant observation research? 4) What are the advantages of an interview and a questionnaire? 5) What basic techniques of unobtrusive measurement do you know? 6) Are different research designs viewed as mutually exclusive? 7) What must sociologists abide by while conducting research? 8) What are the basic principles of the code of ethics? 9) What else do the ethical considerations of sociologists lie in? 10) What is the main ethical category that sociologists should practice in conducting research? 11) What is important in the relationship of sociology to government?

II. Define the following key terms and memorize the definitions:

research design, experiment, survey, unobtrusive measures, code of ethics, value neutrality.

III. Speak on the researchdesign and researchtechniques in brief and illustrate your report withsituations or examples of your own.

IV. Determine a social problem of dailylife that is of interest to you and try to work out a researchdesign and choose researchtechniques to obtain and analyze data regarding it.

V. Speak on the ethics of research and comment on its basic princip les developing the idea. Do you agree with all of them? Can you add any other principles to the Code of Ethics?

VI. Read the following and comment on the topics suggested.

1) On the surface, the principles of the Code of Ethics seem quite clear-cut. It may be difficult to imagine how they could lead to any disagreement or controversy. However, many delicate ethical questions cannot be resolved simply by following these six points. For example, should asociologist engaged in participant-observation research always protect the confidentiality of subjects? What if the subjects are members of a religious cult engaged in unethical and even illegal activities?

2) The Code of Professional Ethics expects sociologists to disclose all funding sources. But it does not state whether sociologists who accept funding from a particular agency may also accept their idea on what should be studied. In this case sociologists turn from basic sociological research to applied research for government agencies and the private sector losing to a great extent the freedom to choose their own problems and substituting the problems of their clients for those which might have interested them on purely theoretical grounds. Two delicate questions arise here:

a) Is it possible that applied sociology, the use of the discipline for some specific and practical applications, should get more prominent at the expense of basic sociology, the objective of which is to gain a more profound knowledge of the fundamental aspects of social phenomena?

b) And can it be that Max Weber's ideal of value neutrality might be undermined too?


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