What is science? Is sociology a science? Why or why not? How is sociology similar to and different from the natural and physical sciences?
Is the knowledge about social life gained by sociological methods better than knowledge gained by other means? Is there more truth in sociological "facts" than the "facts" offered by common sense, personal experience, faith, or political and religious authorities? Explain your answers.
How do politics, power, social class, gender, race, and culture affect science and the scientific endeavor? Is science objective? Can it be? Should it be? Explain your answers.
How does applied research differ from basic research? How are they the same? What is the role, if any, of theory in applied research? Comment on the following statement: "All research should be applied research and all research is applied research."
Define, discuss and relate the following: (a)
social positivism, (b) interpretive sociology, (c) quantitative
research methods, and (d) qualitative research methods?
Why is it important to review relevant academic literature prior developing a research project? What is "relevant academic literature?" How does one go about conducting and writing a review of the literature? Be specific.
What is a hypothesis? What is a model? Where do hypotheses/models come from? How are they developed? What makes a good hypothesis/model?
What is the unit of analysis and the unit of observation? What is their relationship? How is the unit of analysis in a study determined? How is the unit of observation determined? Why is it important to clearly identify the most appropriate unit of analysis and unit of observation in a study?
Discuss the major ethical issues involved in sociological research. What procedures have been developed to address these concerns.
What is longitudinal research? How does it differ from cross-sectional research? When is longitudinal research necessary? What are the different types of longitudinal research? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of longitudinal research?
What are some of the things that need to be considered when choosing a research method? Discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of each of surveys, experiments, secondary analysis of existing data, and content analysis.
What is measurement? How does measurement in the social sciences differ from measurement in the natural and physical sciences? What is validity and reliability? How are they related to each other? Are the issues of validity and reliability different in the social sciences and the physical/natural sciences? If so, how?
What is operationalization? Why is it important? Discuss the process. Present an example to illustrate your discussion.
What is a variable? What are the two major types of variables? Discuss the different levels at which variables may be measured? How does one decide at which level to measure a variable?