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