General vs. Empirical Research

ACTIVITY: General vs. Empirical Research – This post is a two-part exercise (that you can do in one or two initial posts, totally up to you!).

First, what are your responses to the following questions: What is the difference between “research” and “empirical research”? Given what you know from our module this week, how can you, as a consumer of information, critically assess social science research you hear about in the media to determine whether or not it is of high quality and empirical?

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Once you’ve thought about the questions above and posted your thoughts, sometime this week find one news story – either on TV, in a newspaper or magazine, or online – that describes the findings of a sociological research topic of your choice. What information does the news source provide about the methods used in this study? What pieces of critical information are missing for you to determine whether or not this research can be considered high quality, empirical research? Finally, what are the implications of understanding how to assess high quality, empirical research compared to the information we are generally given in various ‘sound bites’ in the media? Could news outlets do a better job of this? Why/why not? How?



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