Picture from book

Research Methods

This lesson focuses on the research methods used by sociologists to study the social world.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between the major kinds of research methods.

  • Understand why different topics are better suited to different research approaches

  • Evaluate a specific research methods.


Be sure to hand these in before the deadline


Textbook cover

Discuss (Thursday during class):

Circle of Books

Image from film

For over 35 years, the gay porn shop, Circus of Books, served as the epicenter for LGBT life and culture in Los Angeles. Unbeknownst to many in the community it served, the store was cultivated and cared for by its owners, Karen and Barry Mason; a straight couple with three children. CIRCUS OF BOOKS is an intimate portrait of the Masons and their journey to become one of the biggest distributors of hardcore gay porn in the United States. Their story unfolds through the lens of their daughter, filmmaker and artist, Rachel Mason. rt

We will use the documentary film Circus of Books as an opportunity to explore how fundamentals of sociology. We will watch it together during class.

  • Be sure to have the movie ready to go at the start of class.

  • Login to the course Slack by 9:30am and say hi to your group!


If you have any questions at all about what you are supposed to do on this lesson, please remember I am here to help. Reach out any time so I can support your success.

Lesson Keywords

  • quantitative research

  • qualitative research

  • scientific method

  • literature review

  • hypothesis

  • variables

  • operational definition

  • correlation and causation

  • intervening variable

  • spurious correlation

  • ethnography

  • participant observation

  • reflexivity

  • interviews

  • closed and open-ended questions

  • replicability

  • validity

  • representativeness

  • bias

  • population

  • sample

  • content analysis

  • experiment

  • independent variable

  • dependent variable

  • social network analysis

  • objectivity

  • reactivity

  • Hawthorne effect

  • research ethics

  • surveys

The least you need to know

Overview of research methods

Table 1 from Chapter 2 in the textbook