Research Methods

The Scientific Method

The scientific method in Sociology sets out to be a systematic and objective way of investigating an identified research question. This usually follows what is referred to as an ‘inductive’ (as opposed to ‘deductive’) process of research. That is to say, this approach begins by formulating a theory (such as one based upon a thorough literature review), then constructs this theory into a hypothesis, which contains variables that have been carefully operationalized, and then proceeds to test, and either confirm or reject the initial hypnosis based upon the data gathered.

Step by step guidance for this activity can be found in the link below:

Discover More

The objectives of this activity are to introduce the terminology associated with the scientific method and for students to experience how the scientific method is used.

The teacher holds up a bag of M&Ms and asks the class a question to begin an initial discussion, such as, how many M&Ms are in the bag? Students make their guesses and from this the teacher can begin to introduce some scientific terminology (such as, hypotheses). Then the teacher asks how we can test the hypotheses proposed by the group opening the bag to count the M&Ms, and the term ‘data collection’ is then introduced.

The task continues (full details in the link provided above) as students work in groups of two or three for around 15 minutes on the activity using M&Ms. When the group come back together, they share the data they have collected.

Depending on the prior learning of students, teachers may wish to spend some time using the data to look at the presentation of results in various types of graphs, percentages etc.


 

More Resources from Discovering Sociology


Pressure Groups

Pressure groups play a key role in the political system. They tend..

Politics Teacher Resource

Absolutism

Absolutism is a political theory that suggests that power should b..

Politics Teacher Resource

Anarchism

The infamous ‘Anarchy in the UK’ by the Sex Pistols could be playi..

Politics Teacher Resource

Conservatism

A good overview of conservatism is provided by the Encyclopaedia B..

Politics Teacher Resource

Elite Theory

Elite theory is the notion that power is concentrated in the hands..

Politics Teacher Resource

Introduction to the Political System

A range of resources are available to help with an introductory se..

Politics Teacher Resource

Liberalism

Here students could be set the task of ‘teaching the teacher’ on l..

Politics Teacher Resource

Pluralism

Robert Dahl (1961) suggested that modern societies are characteris..

Politics Teacher Resource

Political Protest

Political protests have and do exist on a continuum from the peace..

Politics Teacher Resource

Socialism

The World Socialism organisation provides an account of ‘what soci..

Politics Teacher Resource