Sociology Topics for Research Papers: Things You Might Not Know
Sociology deals with the social sciences, particularly those concerning human behavior, psychology and culture. Research papers are either argumentative or informative in tone and strive to objectively analyze the subjective. Within the format of detailing and defining or explaining and justifying are qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative papers define and expand upon observed behaviors or data gathered in the field; whereas quantitative data is structured or gathered under controlled conditions, often in a laboratory.
The Basic Differences Between Qualitative and Quantitative
At their core, each method is a process for data collection that requires a unique set of intellectual skills. The inherent challenges of each one will always make one more fitting than the other one, so it is best to know their fundamental strengths and weaknesses.
- Qualitative is based on open ended question; quantitative is based around close ended questions
- Qualitative data is compiled vs. survey, diary, interview or in field observation
- Quantitative is built on the prospect of numerical or pedantic measuring of inputs and outputs
- Quantitative studies involve clinical trials, rating-based surveys, interviews or questionnaires and census-like documents
Qualitative data requires much more of your own thought, reflection and rationalization. This also means that a lot of the data used to measure for data correctness is subjective. Many favor qualitative studies claiming it frees thought from the shackles of the laboratory and white-coat mentality. But because of this, many scholars dismiss all qualitative-based studies as being to free or “anything goes.” To them, quantitative is just another word for the scientific method, which was done solely for the purpose of bringing order and clarity to the field. But over time, the data gleaned from qualitative research is holding true, lending it more credibility and slowly gaining it more supporters.
To help you in your brainstorming, here are a few topics that might help jump-start your thinking processes. Alcohol in American cultures versus Irish or Indiana cultures; what does a “legal” drinking age mean to adolescents of various cultures?
- How American media portrays Middle Eastern men
- How Middle Eastern media portrays Americans
- Testosterone and crime
- Women or teenagers and crime
- The long term effects of dysfunctional families
- Differences parents can make in the education of children
- Various cultures and their connections to food, music or movie genres