Sociology Daily Answer Writing (29-06-2022)

Sociology Paper 1: Fundamentals of Sociology Research Methods and Analysis: (a) Qualitative and quantitative methods. (b) Techniques of data collection. (c) Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.

Table of contents

Questions - PDF

Model Solutions - PDF

  1. What is reliability and validity? Critically examine its importance in sociological research. (20 Marks)
  2. Participant observation is the most effective tool for collecting facts. Discuss Critically. (10)

Model Structure 1.


  • Reliability and Validity are the two important parameters that determine the correctness and effectiveness of an observation.
  • Both are two major challenges in sociology as the environment of social experiment (society) is not controlled.

Main Body


  • Repetition of the same results
  • Types: Temporal reliability and comparative reliability
  • Examples of research methods with high reliability- sampling, surveys etc

Validity -

  • Extent to which an instrument measures what it is supposed to measure.
  • Degree of achieving intended results

Importance of Reliability and Validity

  • To produce useful results.
  • Gives more legitimacy to quantitative analysis
  • Makes sociology as a positive science
  • Positivism claims reliability and validity.
  • Furthers objective analysis in sociology


  • Reliability and validity (R&V) cannot be tested as there is little scope for controlled experimentation in social domain
  • Marxist, Feminist and sub-altern perspectives criticises it by saying reliable and valid sociological researchs are nothing trying to advocate status quo in the society.
  • Obsession with R&V might incentivise researchers to spend their time accumulating and manipulating data to claim validity
  • Interpretivists deny the possibility of using scientific methods in sociology thereby making it impossible to check validity. (Human consciousness cannot be captured using any method)


  • Lincoln and Guba: to overcome limitations of Reliability and Validity, alternative terms like trustworthiness, credibility, transferability, and conformability can be used to suit the nature of research
  • Sociologists should focus on the relevance of a research by looking beyond the reliability and validity debate. (Hammersly)

Model Structure 2.


  • Definition of Participant Observation method - The participant observation method, also known as ethnographic research, is when a sociologist actually becomes a part of the group they are studying in order to collect data and understand a social phenomenon or problem.

Main Body

Emergence -

  • Influence of Anthropological Field View - Malinowski

Features -

  • Field View - Talcott Parsons, M N Srinivas, S C Dube
  • Actual participation

Benefits (add examples in each of following points)

  • Actual Ground Reality
  • Identify Manifest and Latent functions
  • Discards personal Biases
  • Reliable data

Limitations (add examples in each of following points) -

  • Social Desirability Bias
  • Ethical concerns
  • Alienation by the Target Groups
  • Opposition from the Target Groups
  • Time and resource consuming
  • Observer might get involved with the subjects can’t see the reality as outsider
  • Observer may develop sympathy for the group to be observed resulting in an emotional attachment (William Whyte)


  • Enriching the understanding of Villages, tribals, castes, minorities etc in Indian Society
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