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:

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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.

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