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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Essential Conditions for Research

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 0 Comments

Conditions for Research

1.         Personal Qualities of Researcher:
A researcher has to meet people from various walks of life and has to discuss a variety of topics. Accordingly, he must be a good conversationalist, possess ready wit and ability to get across his ideas to others. He must possess the ability to progressively refine his data and techniques. He must know his subject thoroughly, and be able to take quick decisions. A course of training in research techniques is very useful in this connection.

2.         Social Qualities of Researcher:
The skill to deal effectively with others requires social qualities like pleasant manners, good-humouredness, ability to establish rapport with others etc. An ability for improvisation, inspiring confidence in others and reactive thinking help social researcher to mix easily with others. While a social researcher must be alert and able to vary his techniques, he must be scrupulously honest and have the intellectual integrity. Therefore, it is very important that a research worker be tactful and resourceful enough to make improvisations, he must not do so at the expense of his basic convictions. Above all he must have the quality of patience. He must pursue his work relentlessly and should not let minor irritations and annoyances discourage him. As W. E. Spahar and R. J. Swenson have observed, “……in research, patience is not only a cardinal virtue but an absolute necessity.

3.         Mastery of Subject:
The world famous American journalist, John Ganther, who has written many books about the social and political conditions of various countries of the world, entitled Inside Asia, Inside U.S. Inside Russia etc. has remarked that before undertaking the study of a country he reads all the literature available about it. The same is the case with a researcher. Before investigating any social phenomenon he has to master all the present and past facts about it. Only if he has familiarized himself about each and every aspect of problem, can he hope to face his problem confidently and maturely. Before interviewing his objects he must acquaint himself about their social background.

4.         Time and Place Considerations:
Before approaching his subject, a researcher must ensure that the time and place of interview is both proper and mutually suitable.

5.         Other Considerations:
Research employs many tools, like questionnaire, schedule and interview. The researcher must be fully acquainted about nature, the purpose and the limitations of these tools. He should also avoid all types of biases and preoccupations and must be motivated by an urge to gain scientific knowledge and make discoveries. His efforts must not be swayed by personal considerations of pleasure or pain. He must not get personality involved with the person he interviews. He must be sufficiently trained to resist temptations and seductions which may present themselves in his work. For this, practical experience and emotional maturity is needed.

Scientific Method of Research and its Problems

Scientific Method
Like the typical man or woman on the street, the sociologist is interested in the central questions for out time. Are we lagging behind in our ability to feed the population of the world? Is the family falling apart? Why is there so much crime in Pakistan? Such issues concern most people whether or not they have academic training. However, unlike the typical citizen, the sociologist has a commitment on the use of the scientific method—a systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem—in studying society.

Many of us will never actually conduct scientific research. Nonetheless, it is important that we understand the scientific method, for it plays a major role in the workings of our society. As this chapter will indicate, the scientific method is stringent and demands that researchers adhere as strictly as possible to its basic principles.
The scientific method requires precise preparations in developing useful research. It investigators are not careful, research data that they collect may prove to be unacceptable for purposes of sociological study. There are five basic steps in the scientific method that sociologists and other researchers follow.
These are discussed one by one

Defining Problem
The first step in any sociological research project is to state as clearly as possible what you hope to investigate. Early in their research, sociologists face the task of developing an operational definition—an explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to allow a researcher to measure the concept of—each concept being studied. For example, a sociologist interested in status might use membership in exclusive social clubs or professional organizations as an operational definition of high status. A sociologist who intended to examine prejudice might rely on responses to a series of questions concerning willingness to hire or work alongside members of racial and ethnic minority groups.

Whenever researchers wish to study an abstract concept—such as intelligence, sexuality, prejudice, love, or liberalism—they must develop workable and valid definitions. Even when studying a particular group of people, it is necessary to decide how the groups will be distinguished.

By conducting a review of the literature—the relevant scholarly studies and information—researchers refine the problem under study, clarify possible techniques to be used in collecting data, and eliminate or reduce the number of avoidable mistakes they make.

After reviewing earlier research concerning a particular area or field of interest, and drawing upon the contributions of sociological theorists, the researcher may develop an intuitive guess about the relationship between the factors involved in the research. Such a speculative statement about the relationship between two or more factors is called a hypothesis.

A hypothesis essentially tells us what we are looking for in our research. In order to be meaningful, a hypothesis must be testable; that is, it must be capable of being evaluated. The statement “God exists” clearly cannot be scientifically confirmed. A research hypothesis must also be reasonable specific. “Young people have more fun” and “Florida is nicer than California” are statements that lack the kind of precision that sociologists need in order to collect suitable data.

A hypothesis usually states how one aspect of human behaviour influences or affects another. These aspects or factors are called variables—a measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions. Income, religion, occupation, and gender can all be variables in a study.

In developing hypothesis, sociologists attempt to explain or account for the relationship between two or more variables. If one variable is hypothesized to cause or influence another one, social scientists call the first variable the independent variable. The second is termed as the dependent variable, because it is believed to be influenced by the independent variable. Causal logic involves the relationship between a condition or a variable and a particular consequence, with one event leading to the other. Under casual logic, the degree of integration into society may be directly related to or produce a greater likelihood of suicide (refer back to Durkheim’s study of suicide in chapter 2). Similarly, the time students spend reviewing material for a quiz may be directly related to or produce a greater likelihood of getting a high score on the quiz.

A correlation exists when a change in one variable coincides with a change in the other. Correlation is an indication that causality may be present; they do not necessarily indicate causation. For example, data indicate that working mothers are more likely to have delinquent children than are mothers who do no work outside the home. This correlation is actually caused by a third variable: family income. Lower-class house-holds are more likely to have a full-time working mother; at the same time, reported rates of delinquency are higher in this class.

Social Research, Characteristics and Introduction of Research Methods and its Various Types

Sociological research offers the challenge of going as a “stranger” into the familiar world, often to find one’s assumptions shattered by the facts that one discovers. Research in sociology is really a form of detective work—it poses the same early puzzles and suspicions, the same moments of routine sifting through the evidence and inspired guessing, the same disappointments over false leads and facts that do not fit, and, perhaps, the same triumph when he pieces finally fall into place and an answer emerges. Research in sociology is where the real action takes place. It is in the field, far more than in the lecture room that the sociologist comes to grips with the subject.

There are two sides to the sociological enterprise: theory and research. Both are essential, and each thrives on the other. Facts without theory are utterly meaningless, for they lack a framework in which they can be understood. Theories without facts are unproved speculations of little practical use, because there is no way to cell whether they are correct. Theory and research are thus parts of a constant cycle. A theory inspires research that can be used to verify or disprove it, and the finings of research are used to confirm, reject, or modify the theory, or even to provide the basis of new theories. The process recurs endlessly, and the accumulation of sociological knowledge is the result.

Guesswork, intuition, and common sense all have an important part to play in sociological research, but on their own they cannot produce reliable evidence: that requires a reliable research methodology. A methodology is a system of rules, principles, and procedures that guides scientific investigation. The sociologist is interested in discovering what happens in the social world and why. Research methodology provides guidelines for collecting evidence about what takes place, for explaining why it takes place, and for doing so in such a way that other researchers can check the findings. It is vital that the sociologist use appropriate methodology, for an invalid method can produce only flawed results.

The methods of sociology can be applied only to questions that can be answered by reference to observable, verifiable facts. The sociologist cannot tell us what if God exists, because there is no scientific way to test the theories on the subject. But the sociologist can tell us what percentage of a population claims, to believe in God, because these facts can be established by using appropriate methods.

To explain any aspect of society or social behaviour, the sociologist must understand the relationships of cause and effect. One basic assumption of science is that all events have causes—whether the event is a ball rolling down hill, a nuclear bomb exploding, an economy improving, a political party losing support, or a student passing an examination. A second basic assumption is that under the identical circumstances, the same cause will produce the same effect. If we did not make these assumptions, the world would be utterly unpredictable and therefore unintelligible to us. The problem facing the sociologist is to sort out cause from the effect in the complexities of social life, and to determine which of several possible causes, or which combination of causes, is producing a particular effect.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Role of Sociologists to Analysis and Solving Problems

Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 0 Comments

What is the proper task of the sociologist? Is it merely to observe human action with the calm, detached curiosity of the ecologist who counts the lemmings as they dive into the ea? Or should the sociologist rush into social action? Should the professor of sociology encourage students to develop a detached understanding of social phenomena or inspire them to man the barricades for social reform? What is the proper role for the sociologist in a changing society?

The Sociologist as Research Scientist
Like all scientists, sociologists are concerned with both collecting and using knowledge. They share in these tasks in various ways.

Conducting Scientific Research: As a scientist, the sociologist’s foremost task is to discover and organize knowledge about social life. A number of full-time research sociologists are employed by universities, government agencies, foundations, or corporations, and many sociologists divide their time between teaching and research. Many university sociologists are engaged in “funded” research, with all or part of their salaries and their research expenses paid from research grants made by government agencies, foundations, or corporations. These grants are made to sociologists who submit an acceptable proposal for research on a particular topic. Since little research can be conducted without research funds, this gives the funding agencies great power to influence the direction of sociological research.
Radical critics of sociology (including some sociologists) claim that, behind a fa├žade of ethical neutrality and objective, sociologists have prostituted their research talents to the support of the interests of the funding agencies, and have thus supported militarism, racism, and other forms of oppression [Gouldner, 1962, 1970; Frederichs, 1970 pp. 823 – 85; any issue of The Insurgent Sociologist].
Whether sociological research has been widely corrupted in this manner may be debated [Horton and Bouma, 1971]. What is indisputable is that problems of bias and partisanship are present in all research, and that research findings are often helpful to the interests of some people and damaging to the interests of other people [Becker, 1967]. Even the definition of a research problem may carry an implicit bias. For example if we state a research problem as, “What characteristics of poor people contribute to their poverty?” we imply that the responsibility rests mainly on the poor people themselves; but if we define the problem as, “What social arrangements produce poverty?” then the responsibility is placed upon “society”.
Throughout most of the history of sociology, sociologists were often accused of being radical subversives whose research and teaching were a threat to established institutions and vested interests. Many older sociologists today, still bearing the scars of the anticommunist witch hunts of the 1950s, are puzzled and hurt when students and younger sociologists accuse them of having been lackeys of capitalistic oppression all their lives! But the question to society is as old as science itself, and will not soon be settled.

Correcting Popular Nonsense: Another task of the sociologist as a scientist is to clear away the intellectual rubbish of misinformation and superstition which clutters so much of our social thinking. Sociologists have helped to bury a great deal of nonsense about heredity, race, class, sex differences, deviation, and nearly every other aspect of behaviour. It is due partly to the findings of sociology that today we rarely hear an educated person argue that the white race is innately superior, that women are intellectually inferior to men, that behaviour traits are inherited, or that rural people are less “immoral” than urbanities – ideas which nearly every educated person accepted a half century ago. By helping replace superstition and misinformation with accurate knowledge about human behaviour, sociologists are perhaps performing their most important function.

Making Sociological Predictions: Although the track record of sociologists in making social predictions is not impressive, someone must make social predictions. Every policy decision is based upon certain assumptions about the present and future state of the society. A legislator who says “We need more severe penalties to curb drug pushing” is predicting that more severe penalties actually will curb the narcotics business without creating even greater problems. Another legislator who says “Legalize marijuana” is making a set of predictions about the consequences of this action. Thus every policy recommendation inevitably implies a set of assumptions and predictions. What sort of predictions do sociologists offer? Here are a few samples, offered without explanation or documentation at this point, as examples of the kind of predictions sociologists can make:
The trend toward employment of women will continue until most women are working for most of their married lives.
Birth rates will fall to approach death rates, or death rates will rise to approach birth rates.
Despite some experimentation with alternatives, the monogamous nuclear family will continue to be the basic family type in the United States.
The present popularity of jeans and casual clothing among young people will be followed by a return to high-style clothing.
The recent trend onward early retirement will soon be replaced by efforts to lengthen the work career.
Most social science prediction consists not of predicting specific developments, as the astronomer predicts an eclipse, but of forecasting the general pattern of trends and changes which seem most probable [e.g., Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, 1973]. All such predictions or forecasts should be offered with certain humility, for no certainty attends them. Instead, social scientists offer them as the best, most informed guesses available upon which to base our policy decisions and expectations for the future.

The Sociologist as Policy Consultant
Sociological prediction can also help to estimate the probable effects of a social policy. Every social policy decision is a prediction. A policy (e.g. federal grants for Head Start) is begun in the hope that it will produce a desired effect (e.g. narrow he educational gap between poorer and more prosperous children). Policies have often failed because they embodied unsound assumptions and predictions. Sociologists can help to predict the effects of a policy, and thus contribute to the selection of policies which achieve the intended purposes. For example:
What effect does dropping out of high school have upon a youth’s future earnings? (Little or none, when other factors are equal).
What would be the effect of intensified law enforcement upon campus marijuana use? (Little or no reduction, with aggravation of other student-police problems).
Would low birth rates and a small-family norm increase marital happiness? (Yes; there is research evidence that smaller families are better off in every way).
Would publishing the names of juvenile delinquents help to reduce delinquency? (No; it would more likely increase it).
Would the suppression of obscene literature help to reduce sex crimes and sex immorality? (Our limited evidence suggests that it would not).
Would legal barriers to abortion strengthen family life? (No; most sociologists believe this would increase illegitimate births, unwanted children, child abuse, and family discord).
These are a few of the many social policy questions which sociologists could help to settle. One of the greatest services any scholarly group can offer is to show the society what policies are most likely to work in achieving its objectives. This is a service which sociologists are qualified to perform.

The Sociologist as Technician
Some sociologists are engaged in planning and conducting community action programs; advising on public relations, employee relations, problems of morale or of “inter-group relations” within the organization; working on human relations problems of many sorts. Often these sociologists have specialized in social psychology, industrial sociology, urban or rural sociology, or the sociology of complex organizations.
Recently the term clinical sociologist has appeared to describe the work of the sociologist as technician [Gardner, 1978]. To some extent, this is a new name for what sociologists have been doing for a long time, but it also includes a considerable broadening of the range of sociologists’ efforts to be useful in society.
In such positions the sociologist is working as an applied scientist. He or she has been engaged to use scientific knowledge in pursuing certain values – a harmonious and efficient working force, an attractive public image of the industry, or an effective community action program. This role raises a question of ethics. When a sociologist accepts employment as a technician, pursuing values chosen by an employer, has scientific integrity been compromised? To make an extreme example, there is evidence [Monroe, 1962] that gambling operators engaged social scientists to find out why people do or do not gamble, so that the operators could learn how to attract more customers. (We do not know whether any sociologists were included). Would this be a form of scientific prostitution?
The radical critics of “establishment sociology” charge that sociologists have “sold out” whenever they serve as technicians or research scholars in any kind of effort to maintain or improve the efficiency of government, military, capitalistic, or welfare establishments. Thus, not only are sociologists (if any) working in war-related activities condemned, but even sociologists working in programs to improve the health of poor children in Mississippi, to increase agricultural output in Peru, or to teach birth control in village India are sometimes accused of supporting “oppression”. This is the classic view of the revolutionist – any attempt to make the present system work better, or to help people find better lives within the system is “oppressive” because it helps to perpetuate the system.
There is no simple answer to the question of what clinical appointments it is proper for the sociologist to accept. Each sociologist’s answer will be found partly in the prevailing views of the academic world at that moment and partly in his or her own conscience.

The Sociologist as Teacher
Teaching is the major career of many sociologists. In addition to the concerns and problems of teaching in any field, the problem of value neutrality versus value commitment is a particularly acute question. For example, in a course on “poverty”, should the sociologist supervise an objective study of facts, theories, and policies – possibly sympathetic but as objective as possible? Or should the course be designed to produce dedicated advocates of a particular action program? Should the sociologist seek to convert students to conservatism, liberal reformism, or revolutionary activism? For some decades the ethics of university teaching have demanded that the teacher refrain from all conscious “indoctrination,” but this question is now under spirited debate.

The Sociologist and Social Action
Scientists seek to discover knowledge. Should scientists also tell the society how this knowledge should be used? For example, the geneticists already know something about human heredity, and before very long it may be possible to control the genetic makeup of babies, and “order” babies according to a specifications list. Who should dedicate what sort of baby should go to whom? The scientists? The parents? The Government?
The basic question is whether science – specifically sociology – should be value-free. For example, sociologists know some things about population growth, race relations, urban development, and many other matters involving questions of public policy. Should sociologists become public advocates of birth control programs, legalized abortion, women’s liberation, legalized marijuana, racial integration, and many other programs which they may consider socially desirable?
Early sociologists gave an emphatic “yes” to this question. Without an adequate foundation of scientific knowledge, they rushed to support all sorts of public policies they believed wise. Between 1920 and 1940, many sociologists shifted to the view that sociology should be a more nearly “pure” science, discovering knowledge but not attempting to decree how it should be used. They sought to build sociology on the model of physics or chemistry, as a value-free science. As such, it should be committed to no values except those of free scientific inquiry. Sociologists generally avoided involvement in controversial issues and sought the status of “pure” social scientists.
More recently, this view has been challenged in both physical and social science. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists carries many articles by scientists urging their fellows to claim a larger role in deciding the uses of nuclear science discoveries. Many sociologists today believe that sociologists should claim a major role in making decision about public policy and should involve themselves in the major issues of our society [Lindesmith, 1960; Horowitz, 1964; Stein and Vidich, 1964; A. Lee, 1966, 1973, 1978; Becker 1967]. They charge that sociologists have buried themselves in “safe” research topics, leaving the really important questions to non-sociologists – questions such as “How can poverty be reduced?” “How can schools be integrated?” “How can communities be organized for more civilized social living?” “Should the goals and values of American society be altered to promote human welfare?” They feel that not only do sociologists have a duty to say what society might do about problems of race conflict, population growth, birth control, drug addiction, divorce, sex deviation, medical care, etc. but that sociologists have a duty to say what our society should do about such problems. Books like Shostak’s Putting Sociology to Work [1947] provide concrete examples of how sociologists are involving themselves in social issues and constructive social action and show what they have learned from these experiences.
Sociology today, in common with all the other social sciences, has some members who insist that, both individually and as an academic discipline, sociologists should openly and publicly support the “radical reconstruction of society” [Szymanski, 1970; Colfax and Roach, 1971; D. Horowitz, 1971; Sternberg, 1977]. This question is receiving much attention in sociological literature [Douglas, 1970; Lee, 1978; Harris, 1980]. Whether sociology should be value-free is an unsettled question, but sociologists are agreed upon the following propositions.

The Study of Sociology
Students are sometimes delighted to find in sociology (or another social science) evidence that some of their parents fondest beliefs are outmoded superstitions. But when they find evidence that their own beliefs are scientifically unfounded, their reaction to this correction may not differ greatly from that of their parents. To separate sense from nonsense is one of the objectives of sociology. Only those who are willing and able to subject their beliefs, assumptions, and practices to objective scientific scrutiny will gain much from the study of any of the social sciences.

Characteristics, Classification and Causes of Social Problems

Characteristics of Social Problems
Salient feature of social problem is that it charges the situation in such a way that a problem is created to the extent that existing social order have to be changed. It also means that it is difficult to solve the problem but to feel that such a solution is inevitable or undesirable is not proper. But one of the significant characteristics of social problem is that it becomes problem only when the people begin to feel and take that in that sense. As long as the people are not aware of the problem, even though that exists there is no social disharmony, but maladjustments come to the front only when the masses become conscious of it.

Classification of Social Problems
So far no universally accepted classification has been produced about social problems. Our sociologists have tried to give different classification. Harold A Phelps has classified social problems as biological, e.g. physical defects, bio-psychological e.g. feeble mindedness, cultural e.g. juvenile delinquency and economic e.g. poverty and unemployment. Another classification is based on heritage e.g. physical heritage, biological heritage, and social heritage. But so far no universally accepted classification has been produced. Primary season for this is that in society no problem is absolute. Every problem is relative and is also linked with one or more aspects of our social life.

Causes of Social Problems
Social problems are not a welcome in any society. These create disharmony and maladjustment but still the problems exist. What are the main causes of social problems is a question, which has been posed by our sociologists. So far the problem has fond no solution and every attempt made in this regard has failed. The main reason for this is that the sociologists cannot pinpoint a single cause responsible for creating a social problem. The cause, which may be responsible in one society, may not be responsible in the other society. Similarly what may be responsible under certain circumstances may not be under certain other circumstances and so on. In fact in actual practice it has been found difficult to find out any single cause responsible for creating social problems. Some of the many causes include feeble mindedness of the individual and his physical disability. Industrialization, immobility and weak social institutions may be other causes responsible for creating social problems.

Social Problems, its Definition and its Effects

What do you know about social problems?

In each complex and complicated society there are bound to be social problems. Some problems are of serious magnitude and result in dislocation. These also require our immediate attention otherwise these will in turn create problems. Some problems are not very serious if ignored can result in further seriousness.

Social Problem Defined
According to Lundberg, “A social problem is any deviant behaviour in a disapproved direction of such a degree that it exceeds the tolerance limit of the community”. It may also be defined as a condition, which effects large number of people in an adverse manner. It can also be said as a difficulty of mis-behaviour which vast majority wants to correct. Social problem also arises when there is deviation from accepted social norms. These are usually threats to establish social ways and therefore, it is necessary to eliminate them as quickly as possible.

Effects of Social Problems
Social problems very adversely affect our society. One of the major effects is that our harmony is distributed and in its stead in the society there is hostility and suspicion. These also result in large-scale social dissatisfaction and create suffering and misery. On the whole social problems do not all help in solving any problem but create problems of serious magnitude, which is disadvantageous to the whole society. But in this connection it may be pointed out that ‘problem’ is not an absolute term. It is only a relative term because what is problem for one society may not be problem for the other. Similarly ‘problem’ is not permanent and universal. What may appear problem today may not remain so tomorrow. We find that in Pakistan child marriage was problem till yesterday but today it has received universal condemnation and as such is no problem at all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A body is pulled rightward with a four of 25 N. To keep the body in equilibrium how much force will be applied leftward on the body?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 0 Comments

A body is pulled rightward with a four of 25 N. To keep the body in equilibrium how much force will be applied leftward on the body?


A force of 50 N acts on a body. If moment arm is 0.5 m, find the value of torque.

A force of 50 N acts on a body. If moment arm is 0.5 m, find the value of torque.


A force is applied perpendicularly on a gate, 2 metres wide which requires a torque of 100 Nm to open it. What will be the minimum force required?

A force is applied perpendicularly on a gate, 2 metres wide which requires a torque of 100 Nm to open it. What will be the minimum force required?


Sunday, June 5, 2011

A force of 20N is applied at the edge of wheel of radius 10 cm. Find the torque acting on the wheel.

Sunday, June 5, 2011 - 2 Comments

A force of 20N is applied at the edge of wheel of radius 10 cm. Find the torque acting on the wheel.

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