In this unit you are learning about methodology! I know it’s not that exciting to learn about the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods, and the scientific method may seem repetitive, but it is exciting to apply these concepts to something that interests you! For this writing assignment you will map out the beginning of your own (hypothetical) research design about a social phenomenon that you, if you were conducting research, would want to learn more about. Your task is to choose a prospective research topic that is of interest to you, do some background research, identify your variables, and describe the method of data collection that is best for your topic. To begin, write down the first three steps of the scientific method. Then, think of a broad topic that you are interested in and which would make a good sociological study—for example, ethnic diversity in a college, textbook access, athletic scholarships, or college success. Now, take that topic through the first steps of the process. For each step, write a few sentences:
1. Ask a question about the topic and describe why this is of interest to you.
2. Do some research and identify the titles of 2 articles or books you’d want to read that could give you some more information on the topic. (Credible resources: peer reviewed articles, cdc website, book)You can include hyperlinks to the articles or just write the title and author. For each book or article, explain what this text would provide you in terms of background and information–why did you choose these?
3. Formulate a hypothesis — including identifying the dependent and independent variables.
4. Identify the methodological approach you think is best to gather information–will you take a quantitative or qualitative approach? Then, you will want to be specific about the approach you would take to acquire your data–experiment, participant observation, ethnography, interview, survey, content analysis, case study, etc. Explain why you believe this is the best approach.
1. “What variables are related to student success?”
2. Books/articles — (a) Student Success — What Works (Links to an external site.) and (b) Student Success: What Matters. (Links to an external site.) (These were both retrieved from : school library or library or (links to external cite). site by typing in “student success factors” in the search box)
3. Hypothesis — “Having access to the required textbook for a class at the beginning of the semester makes college success more likely.” Dependent variable = student success; independent variable = access to class textbook.
4. Methodology– general survey distributed to all (demographic) students
This is obviously a brief outline; your response will require more explanation. If you are having trouble thinking of a hypothetical research topic see below for ideas.
Submission should be +400words, one page, written in paragraph form (no bullet points!!)
Sociology is a particularly interesting topic to write about. The following is a list of topics to research for sociology.
Sociology is the study of groups of people and their cultures, customs, practices. Because this topic is so broad and our culture is always changing, there are endless possibilities when deciding which sociological topic you would like to write about. With sociology, one could write about various subjects that range from pop culture to cults.
This list will also guide you to make your own, original topic based on theoretical sociology. The top ten sociological subjects are listed below with plenty of ideas for your research.
Race, Nationality and Ethnicity
Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity are some of the most written about subjects in sociology. Classical sociologist Emile Durkheim discussed the effects of origin on a person and the solidarity that they feel with others from the same or similar origin. Sociologists like to study these bonds, as well as the negative effects of difference.
By using the Census data from your nation, you can write thousands of research papers. The following are some sociological topics on race, nationality, and ethnicity:
• Racial Segregation in Cities
• The Correlation between Class and Race
• [insert race] Education Levels
• Interracial Marriage Then and Now
• Racial Stereotypes and their Affects
• Culture and Race: Is Environment More Affective than Race?
• Ethic Culture and Race: What is the Difference/What is the Correlation?
• How Ethnicity Affects Class
• Multi-Ethnic Individuals and their Position in Society
• Multicultural Society and the Prominent Culture
• Patriotism in [insert country] • How [insert plural nationality] views [insert plural nationality] • Nationality and Pride: What Makes a Patriot?
One of the most interesting things to research for sociology is the media. What we see on television, in magazines, in theaters has an affect on us as members of society. There are endless topics to study in the media, but below is a list of topic ideas.
How [insert a race] are Presented in the Media
• Young Women
• Young Men
• Disabled Individuals
• Celebrities [choose one] • The Mentally Challenged
• The Media’s Target and Portrayal for Profit
Other Mass Media Questions:
• What Commercials Play at What Times During the Day? [Also, which channels do they play on?] • Who consumes the most [insert genre] music?
• Sexuality and Disney Movies
• Romantic Comedies and Women
• Gym, Tan, Laundry: A Study of Jersey Shore and its Viewers
• Children’s Television
• Ratings and New Technologies: How Youth Watch Television
Sociology of Food
Food culture is a very interesting topic to research not only on the distribution-side, but also how it is consumed. Here are some possible research topics for those of you who want to learn more about how our food is made, distributed, consumed.
How Food is Made
• Where does our food come from? Meats, Vegetables, and More
• How does [insert fast food place] Make their Food?
• Laws on Food: Food Regulations
• Which Companies Supply Food to the US?
• The Use of Pesticides in Farms
• Monsanto Seeds
• The Seed Bank
• How Food is Distributed
Other Food related Questions:
• Import-Export Practices around the World
• Food Packaging Messages
• The Locations of Fast Food Chains in Relation to Low-Income Areas
• The Geographical Difference in Food Distribution: Class Inequality
• How Food is Consumed
• The Difference in Serving Sizes Over Time
• Do you Know What’s In Your Food? A Study of the Nutritional Facts and Food Education
• Where do People Eat?
• Family Dinners and the Modern Day
• [Insert Country/State/City] Food Culture
• Are We What We Eat: A Study on Obesity
• Child Obesity
• Has Technology Changed the Way We Eat?
• Vegetarians, Vegans and Others with Personal Food Regulations
• How the Media Advertises Food
One of the most interesting sociological topics to study is youth culture. Youth belong to many subcultures, which they illustrate in their attitude, clothing, music and more. Studying these cultures allows us to understand how our world works–particularly the media due to the fact that the majority of American consumers are between the ages of 14 and 21.
• Hip Hop Culture in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s
• Punk: Anarchy, Rebellion and Revolution
• Extreme Sport Culture: Surf, Skate and Snow
• How Adolescents are Affected by the Media
• “Emo” Culture: The Self-Destructive Teen
• Mean Girls: A Study of Competition between Young Women
• Jock Culture
• At-Risk Youth and Deviant Behavior
• Messages Promoted in [insert genre here] Music
• Masculinity and Femininity in High School
• Cliques and Outcasts: A Study of a High School Social Structure
• Cyber Bullying
• Maturity and the Media: Are Teens Pressured to Mature as Fast as their Favorite Stars?
• Sex and Adolescents
Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
The gender bias has been one of the more important subjects that sociologists study because it is in every culture around the world. Man and woman have always been opposites in society, which has contributed to numerous inequalities. The following is a list of sociological research topics on gender.
• Wages for Men and Women
• Genderized Occupations: Nurses and Contractors
• Women in the Workplace
• Transgendered Individuals
• Homosexuality and How it is Portrayed in the Media
• “Coming Out”: Feared or Loved
• The Gender Bias: How Men and Women are Treated Differently in Law, Media, and Social Interactions
• Anorexia and Women
• Gender Stereotypes in [media/workplace/region] • The Feminist Revolution
• Women’s Rights and Movements
• The White (Man’s) House
Social movements and revolutions are interesting topics to study because they illustrate the formation of a community that shares the same beliefs and strives to accomplish a goal. Social movements are always happening, which makes them current as well as historical, so choosing a topic is easy!
To study a movement, just choose a movement or a group of people that are being oppressed. Then choose whether you would like to study the oppression, formation of the movement, the movement itself, the accomplishments or downfall of the movement, or the aftermath. Here are some movements to get you started:
• The Civil Rights Movement
• The Feminist Movement
• Occupy Wall Street
• Animal Rights Movement
• The French Revolution
• Tea Party Movement
• Disability Rights Movement
• Fair Trade Movement
• Ethiopian Movement
• Human Rights
• Anti-Nuclear Movement
Cults, Clans and Communities
People in society want to be a part of a group that shares their same beliefs. Sometimes these groups become so united that they are destructive, whereas some of the groups create solidarity, community, and fellowship. The following is a list of religions, cults and other groups that share similar beliefs and can be studied.
• Klu Klux Klan
• Charles Manson
• Montana Doomsday Religious Cult – “Church Universal and Triumphant”
Class Conflict and Inequalities
Classes are treated differently in every society. Because the inequalities are so deeply embedded in our society, it is difficult to eliminate them. Geographically, classes are segregated, which further complicates the pursuit for equality. Here are some topics to study:
• Class and Geographical Segregation
• Ghettos and Gated Neighborhoods
• Food in Rich and Poor Areas
• Schools in Low Income Neighborhoods
• Taxes and Wages
• The Affects of the Ghetto on Youth
• The “Ghetto” Cycle: A Study of Recidivism and No Opportunities
• Wealth and Race
• City Funding and District Zones
Spirituality, Superstition, and Ledgends
One of my favorite topics to write about is Ancient Hawaiian culture. The Ancient Hawaiians had many myths and legends as do numerous other cultures. Sociological studies about myths and legends illustrate the purposes of these legends. Below are some interesting cultures and legends to get you started.
• Dolphins and the Amazon
• Pele, the Hawaiian Fire Goddess
• Viking Legends
• Egyptian Legends (Tombs, Afterlife, and Tut)
• Biblical Events
• Pandora’s Box
• Mayan Culture
• Lochness Monster
• The Legend of the Three Sisters
Research about commodities can be done with little field work and mostly with available data online and in books. You could choose a number fo things to write about including the following:
• Vinyl Records or Music in other forms
• Currency/Gold/Rare Gems and Minerals (Inflation, Deflation)
• Artifacts (Rare or Other)
• Fashion Accessories