Sociology Daily Answer Writing (07-10-2022)


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

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Model Solutions

1. What is reliability and validity? Critically examine its importance in sociological research. 20

Model Structure

  • 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

  • Reliability
    • 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
  • Concerns:
    • 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

Model Framework:

  • 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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