Comparative method in sociological research

They Comparative method in sociological research also help to sharpen the focus of analysis of the subject under study by suggesting new perspectives. To transform cross-national surveys from parallel exercises into joint ones, collective development work, experimentation, scale construction, and piloting should be undertaken in all participating nations.

Many ethnographers agree that to fully understand a complex social situation, one must enter into an unbiased observation or interaction with the society being studied. In ideal conditions, a project team manager will be able to select the countries to be included in the study and researchers with appropriate knowledge and expertise to undertake the work.

The group is typically sampled from a larger population; information is obtained by asking standard questions about previously operationalized variables. If the scope conditions are clear and the criteria are specified and defined, then this approach is an important method for obtaining "social facts.

Questions may be either closed-ended or open-ended.

Rules of Comparative Research

Their source, the purpose for which they were gathered, the criteria used and the method of collection may vary considerably from one country to another, and the criteria adopted for coding data may change over time.

Approaches to cross-national research For the purposes of this article, a study is held to be cross-national and comparative, when individuals or teams set out to examine particular issues or phenomena in two or more countries with the express intention of comparing their manifestations in different socio-cultural settings institutions, customs, traditions, value systems, lifestyles, language, thought patternsusing the same research instruments either to carry out secondary analysis of national data or to conduct new empirical work.

A juxtaposition approach is often adopted at this stage: Don Dillman argues that mail surveys using the "tailored design method," a detailed methodology of multiple contacts ensuring compliance, often have the greatest likelihood of being understood, completed, and returned; these are all characteristics necessary for the survey results to be truly representative of the population.

The solution to the problem of defining the unit of observation may be to carry out research into specific organisational, structural fields or sectors and to look at subsocietal units rather than whole societies.

The method is often adopted when a smaller number of countries is involved and for more qualitative studies, where researchers are looking at a well-defined issue in two or more national contexts and are required to have intimate knowledge of all the countries under study.

Ethnomethodologists commonly study the normal through the use of techniques such as conversation analysis and breaching experiments, which force an examination of the usual, accepted, and unquestioned.

The comparative method

Language can present a major obstacle to effective international collaboration, since it is not simply a medium for conveying concepts, but part of the conceptual system, reflecting institutions, thought processes, values and ideology, and implying that the approach to a topic and interpretations of it will differ according to the language of expression.

For certain topics, information may be routinely collected in tailor-made surveys in a number of the participating countries, whereas in others it may be more limited because the topic has attracted less attention among policy-makers. It is largely an empty debate over the definition of the tradition with those questioning whether comparing things counts as comparative research.

One primary limitation noted by Etienne Van de Walle is that although historical demographers have access to volumes of information, they are frequently limited by only including information on elite male populations with little or no information about females or the common man. Managing and funding cross-national projects The mix of countries selected in comparative studies affects the quality and comparability of the data as well as the nature of the collaboration between researchers.


Comparing things is essential to basic scientific and philosophic inquiry, which has been done for a long time. In other words, it is part of the emergence of episteme and philo-sophia, as a love for knowledge that is independent from material benefits.

In interpreting the results, wherever possible, findings should be examined in relation to their wider societal context and with regard to the limitations of the original research parameters.

Quantitative analysis is much more frequently pursued than qualitative, and this is seen by the majority of comparative studies which use quantitative data. Social scientists should undertake not to interpret survey data relating to a country about which they know little or nothing.

He found that he was able to class welfare states into three types, based on their level of decommodification. There are many names for the type of research that we do:Comparative research methods are central to sociology and its associated disciplines. This four-volume set brings together 77 articles and book chapters from key sources, spanning the history of comparative analysis in the social sciences, from ancient to modern works.

Comparative research is a research methodology in the social sciences that aims to make comparisons across different countries or cultures. A major problem in comparative research is that the data sets in different countries may not use the same categories, or define categories differently (for example by using different definitions of poverty).

The comparative method lies at the root of any sociological research that goes beyond description. Any sociologist who is trying to identify the causes of social events and behaviour is going to be involved in making comparisons. Comparative Method in Sociological Research Essay; Comparative Method in Sociological Research Essay.

Words Dec 26th, 10 Pages. Show More. The Phrase “comparative method” refers to the method of comparing different societies or groups within the same society to show whether and why they are similar or different in certain respects.

Comparative sociology

The method usually relies on the use of official statistics which interpretivists argue are socially constructed E.g DURKHEIMS study on official stats on suicide being accurate. Evaluation Comparative method of official statistic regarding lab and field experiments.

methods, research (in sociology) Various sociological methodologies are used when designing and executing research. Each of these methods, including comparative-historical sociology, ethnometho-dology, ethnography, evaluation research, qualitative methods, and survey research.

Comparative method in sociological research
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