This week’s Doing Sociology assignment involves designing a questionnaire, interviewing at least five people, and describing the results.
Select one of the research questions you developed in the Week 1 Doing Sociology assignment.
- What is the perception of society regarding the issue of the social class?
- Is the ability to acquire wealth influenced by the social class?
- How does social class impact the way of life?
- How does social class affect poverty?
Based on the research question, operationalize the main concepts into at least one dependent variable and several independent variables. Formulate 10 questions that will measure each of your variables and use close-ended or fixed-choice answers (each question is a variable; each choice of an answer is a category or value of that variable).
For example, if your research question is “What is the relationship between educational achievement and income?” your dependent variable is income and your main independent variable is educational achievement (or education level). Our dependent variable, income, is usually measured at either an interval/ratio level or an ordinal level. Below are examples of how you might measure this variable:
Interval/ratio level: What is your annual income in dollars? ____________________
Ordinal level: What is your annual income?
We know that interval/ratio level data are more precise, but many people are reluctant to reveal their actual income. While you can use either measure you are more likely to get a response using the ordinal measure.
Our main independent variable can be measured at the same two levels:
Interval/ratio level: How many years of education have you completed? ____________________
Ordinal level: What is your highest level of educational achievement?
- Less than high school
- Completed high school or GED
- Some college or Associates degree
- College graduate
- Some post-college
- Graduate degree
The interval/ratio level measure may not tell us what we want to know. It is possible to have 15 years of education and only a high school degree! If we want to look at the relationship between education and income, it is probably more important to know what degrees our subjects have completed.
Now, think of what other factors might affect income besides education; you will want to measure some of those, also. You might want to measure the number of years someone has had at their current job; any specialized training or certificates; their sex, race/ethnicity, marital status; how many hours a week they work; etc. Try to come up with at least 10-15 questions, plus at least 5 demographic questions. You can see an example of a questionnaire (from the General Social Survey) in Doc Sharing. You can also see the actual questionnaires used in the General Social Survey by following this link:
Next, interview five adults, eighteen years of age or older, about your research question. Interview your subjects wherever you like, at home, work, the mall, or Starbucks. Most importantly, make it a place where your subject will feel comfortable. Be sure and probe whenever possible for further information (if relevant), be courteous, attentive, and thank your subjects for their time.
Write a small report (4 pages, double-spaced, APA style) about the similarities and differences of your subjects. Include a detailed description of each respondent, the interview location and length, the findings of the interview, and your general observations about the respondent. Were they comfortable during the question and answer period? Did they appear open and available to your probing? One of the main advantages of conducting interviews is being able to act as an observer! Was it a successful interview in general? Was this an appropriate research method to get the kinds of answers you wanted? For what types of research is this method appropriate?
Include your questionnaire at the end of your paper.