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Research Methods Guide: the 2008 US Presidential Election

I need help in the introduction of the Sociological problem - How is our society going to be affected by the 1st female president or the first black president - Inauguration potential ramifications. I need to describe research methods/designs that will be used to collect and analyze data, I need to explain why this method is more appropriate than other alternatives. This is a very tough class for me and I am having difficulties trying to write this part of my paper.

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Not too the Student,
I have created a fully comprehensive guide for you in tackling your research as well as understanding what sociological research is about. I hope that this solution will help you in your research. I have attached a full word version. The Bonus is that this word version of the solution follows the APA format and is a sample to you in terms of being aguide in how your final paper ought to be presented. Also, let me direct your attention to the listed references - the web sources I have added are great sources for your data collection. Thank you for using Brainmass! Good Luck!

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

A Quick Note

Prior to launching on explaining and guiding you by example on how to approach this problem, I would like to give you a bit of insight about approaching sociological research and easing your frustration a bit. When I started my own sociological studies I found it hard to tie concepts to reality. I get the general idea but at times theories and concepts seem to just hang in the air and I feel like I am grasping at straws. Do not worry, it is a normal feeling. In my graduate studies I have learned to look at the social world as an open system. If you are looking at it through sociological eyes you are an observer. To do it right you have to try your best to distance yourself and avoid subjectivity and observe it to try and understand the social mechanism that exists. It does not mean you have to be devoid of feelings - far from it. You just need to look at society as subject of study, an open system, a big massive experiment of nature. As a social scientist, you are equipped with tools to understand the social world - theories, perspectives, concepts, processes, schools of thought. Some scientists have preferences as to which theories and what methods to use when studying the social world. We have empiricists, ethnographers, positivists, post-modernists, conventionalists, feminists, etc. Do not let this 'scare' you as heavy and difficult concepts to use. Actually - these are all just tools. Like you have a preference for a certain car or a certain pair of shoes which you believe will fit your style, mood and purpose, theories, concepts and methods in the social sciences are chosen by researchers because of their aptness to the subject matter at hand. With this in mind, we can start looking at the sociological problem that is challenging you and approach it as a subject of study. We will draw from the tools on hand: theory & method then follow said method to produce a study design. I will guide you by example.

Approaching Research

I fondly recall my post grad tutor from Oxford, Dr. Sanders, a criminologist when she said that everything starts with a problem. When research is taken on whether in social or natural science, the researcher focuses on coming up with the right question to ask. This is when everything begins. In investigating crime for example, criminologists often ask - Who done it? Newton wanted to find the answers to the question - Why is everything 'falling' towards the ground? Einstein wanted to know how light travels. Derrida wanted to understand how language happens. Foucault wanted to know how human beings attach meaning and create knowledge. How? Why? What? From the root question, secondary and tertiary questions come forth, all asked to investigate the idea further. When the researcher has come upon a position where he has looked closely at the problem, he creates a hypothesis- that position that will either be proven or disproven by the research he/she will undertake. The next step is to design the research and decide upon a method. When the research is quantifiable for example, like investigating the current rate of homelessness in the streets of NY, it is advisable to use quantitative approaches relying on statistics and numbers to present and investigate a sociological problem (rate of homelessness). On the same subject matter, if the research would like to understand the 'state of being homeless', the data and information he is looking for cannot be quantified, it must be 'told' via what sociologists refer to as 'sense-data', felt, observed and shared in. In this case, the qualitative approach applies where the researcher immerses himself in the 'world' of the homeless, talking with them, befriending them, observing them, trying to understand and see how they move about in society, what they lack, how they cope. Like in quantitative, at the end, qualitative research gives the researcher enough data to create a picture of the subject matter and recommend, offer solutions to society to answer the problem of homelessness.

Tackling Your Research Problem

I can see why you feel difficulty in approaching this sociological problem. It is apt however since it applies to the state of things in America. For the first time since the beginning of American Democracy, it seems that equality has truly come to fore - the democrats have come to ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an exploratory essay that delves into the social, philosophical, political, legal and other ramifications on the possibility of the inauguration/victory of either the first woman or African American President. The 2008 Presidential election in the US was rermarkable for the fact that it will always be remebered in history as the first US election where once people considered to be members of a minority group held power and represented the democratic party, first racing against each other, then campaigning for their party, the Democrats (OBAMA & Clinton). While Obama's victory is now sealed, this essay written during that period looks at the varied ways this inauguration was to affect society. The student who was to write the essay needed advice in social research - since this is a polarizing issue thats quite heavy with popular opinion, the solution was set out to guide her from the very beginning of research: how to approach the problem, how to gather data, how to write the essay following several philosophical and social viewpoints and finally, how to present the sociological problem while remaining true to the research methods and socio-political viewpoints used. Written in the APA format, references provided.