NCERT Notes for Class 11 Sociology Chapter 5 DOING SOCIOLOGY: RESEARCH METHODS


NCERT Notes for Class 11 Sociology Chapter 5 DOING SOCIOLOGY: RESEARCH METHODS, (Sociology) exam are Students are taught thru NCERT books in some of state board and CBSE Schools. As the chapter involves an end, there is an exercise provided to assist students prepare for evaluation. Students need to clear up those exercises very well because the questions with inside the very last asked from those.

Sometimes, students get stuck with inside the exercises and are not able to clear up all of the questions.  To assist students, solve all of the questions and maintain their studies without a doubt, we have provided step by step NCERT Notes for the students for all classes. These answers will similarly help students in scoring better marks with the assist of properly illustrated Notes as a way to similarly assist the students and answering the questions right.

NCERT Notes for Class 11 Sociology Chapter 5 DOING SOCIOLOGY: RESEARCH METHODS




  • Sociology deals with things that are already familiar to most people.
  • All of us live in society, and we already know a lot about the subject matter of sociology— social groups, institutions, norms, relationships and so on— through our own experience.
  • Sociologists try to adopt the point of view of the people they study, to see the world through their eyes.
  • It seems fair, then, to ask what makes the sociologist different from other members of society.


  • Methodology is the study of methods.
  • We begin by looking at the ways in which sociologists try to produce knowledge that can claim to be scientific.

Issue 1: Objectivity and subjectivity in Sociology

  • Objective :- un biased, neutral or based on fact alone.

We must ignore our own feelings or attitudes about that thing

  • Subjective:-Something that is based on individual values and preferences.
  • All science is expected to be ‘objective’, to produce unbiased knowledge based solely on facts.
  • To do this objective study in Sociology is very difficult.
  • Sociologists are also members of the societies. They also have their own like and dislikes.
  • Geologist and the botanist are not themselves part of the world they study but,
  • Social scientists study the world in which they themselves live — the social world of human relations.

This creates special problems for objectivity in a social science like sociology.

How to overcome this Issue?

  • To examine one’s own ideas about the research subject rigorously and continuously.
  • Self-reflexivity:

To take outsiders view on his work

He has to see his work through their eyes.

  • Researcher documents all things through self-reflexivity.
  • Documentation helps checking and re-checking and double checking the line of argument.
  • The researcher mentions in clear-cut terms the features of their social background that might provide a source of bias on the topic.

Another Problem?

Different versions of truth in the social world

For example:

  • A shopkeeper and a customer may have very different ideas about what is a ‘good’ price,
  • A young person and an aged person may have very different notions of ‘good food’, and so on.
  • There is no simple way of judging which particular interpretation is true or more correct, and often it is unhelpful to think in these terms.

How to solve?:

  • Sociologist tries to look at it from different angles through the eyes of the shopkeeper, customer, young man and old man.
  • Try to find out why they think what they think.


  • Sociology is a Multi-paradigmatic Science,
  • Having several point of view
  • Objectivity is very difficult in Sociology.

Issue 2: Multiple methods and Choice of methods

  • Since there are multiple truths and multiple perspectives in sociology, it is hardly surprising that there are also multiple methods.
  • Each method in sociology has their own merits and demerits.
  • So also questions about which method is superior, and which method is inferior are meaningless.
  • The question to be asked is whether the right method has been selected to find answers to questions being asked.
  • Example:-Study about current status of Indian Joint family – survey or census method re more suitable.

Various methods commonly used by sociologists. It is conventional,

  • Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
    • Quantitative:  Countable or measurable variables (proportions, averages etc.)
    • Qualitative: more abstract and hard to measure phenomena like attitudes, emotions and so on.
  • Observable and Non-Observable
  • Methods on the basis of data
    • Primary data: (Fresh data)- Interview
    • Secondary data: (Already exist)-Document, record
  • Micro and Macro Method
    • Micro methods are used while working in a intimate setting with a single researcher. Example: Interview and participant observation.
    • Macro methods are involved large scale research with a number of respondents and investigators. Example: Survey

How to select a method?

  • Researcher decides the choice of method based on the research question and preference of the researcher.
  • Triangulation
    • Social research uses multiple methods to focus on the same research problem and study it from different vantage points. This is known as Triangulation.
    • That is, a process of pinpointing something from different directions.
    • In this way, different methods can be used to complement each other to produce a much better result than what might have been possible with each method by itself.
  • Participant Observation (Fieldwork)
    • It is a particular method by which the sociologist studies society, culture and people.
    • It consists long period of interaction with the subject of research.
      • Researcher spends many months living with the people he studies.
      • Researcher immerses himself in the culture of the people. o He learns their language and takes part in the everyday life. o This field work helps to learn their whole way of life.

Fieldwork in Social Anthropology

  • It is a rigorous scientific method that contributed to establishing Anthropology as a Social Science.
  • It developed by: Brounislaw Malinowski.
  • The early Anthropologists were collects secondhand information for the study of societies.
  • They collected and organised information about distant communities (which they had never themselves visited) available from the reports and descriptions written by travellers, missionaries, colonial administrators, soldiers and other ‘men on the spot’. (Example:- James Frazer- ‘The Golden Bough’, Emilie Durkhiem- ‘Primitive Religion’)
  • Only the end of the 19thC, many anthropologists started to do systematic surveys.
  • From 1920 onwards fieldwork became an integral part of Social Anthropological training and gathering information.

What did the social anthropologist actually do when doing fieldwork?

  1. Conducting a census.
    • This involved making a detailed list of all the people who lived in a community, including information such as their sex, age group and family.
  2. Mapping of the area.
    • Location of each house, relevant common place etc.
  3. Construct a genealogy of the community.
  4. Create a family tree for individual members.

Role of Researcher in Fieldwork

  • Researcher understand the kinship system of the community
  • Cross checking various information
  • Continues live with people
  • Speaking their language
  • Making detailed record of his observation (Festival, events, Family, relation etc.)
  • Studied in detail
  • Researcher asks numerous questions like child.
  • The researcher depends on one or two people who are called ‘Informants’ or ‘Principal Informants’.

Fieldwork in Sociology

  • Fieldwork in Sociology differ only its context, i.e. Where is done.
  • Anthropologist did their work in remote tribal communities.
  • In India, fieldwork sociology is done in villages.
  • Sociologist interacts with everyone in this small community and observed their life.
  • The fieldwork method was found to be very useful and practical for village studies.

William Foote Whyte

  • American sociologist
    • ‘Street corner society’ – his Book
    • His fieldwork with street gang in an Italian-American slums
    • He lived in the area more than three and half years
    • Spending together with unemployed youth.

Difficulties in fieldwork

  • Modern sociologist had to deal with literate people.
  • Who might read his report about the work.
  • The book he publishes after the research study should do no harm to the people and it should do some good to the people.

Limitations of participant observation

  • Consuming Time, money and energy
  • Single researcher does all the work
  • Only can do a small part of the vast world
  • That are not sure whether the researcher or the people are being projected.
  • Small area may not applicable to large areas or communities.
  • One sided relationship: he asks questions and records the answer but they are not asking questions.


  • Popular method
  • A survey provides an overview
  • Based on information gathered from representatives set of people and gives comprehensive perspective on a subject. The selected people are called ‘Respondents’.
  • Questionnaires are used in surveys
  • Generalization to large population.
  • Sample surveys

Characteristics of Indian census.

  • First census started in India -1871, in 1881- started 10yr census
  • World largest census
  • Every ten year
  • Lakhs of investigators
  • Huge expense
  • It give genuinely
  • Comprehensive
  • Sample survey Conducted by National Sample survey Org.
    • Sample:- Representative portion of Population.

Principles of Sample selection

  • All subgroup in the large population are represented in the sample.
    • Subgroup:- class, cast, sex, age, religion etc.
  • Sample will reflect the characteristics of all strata
  • Selection of sample population also depends on Randomization.
    • Randomization is the selection of sample is based purely on chance which depends on probability
  • Probability means the chance of an event happening
  • Equal weightage to all strata
  • Biggest sample give most accurate result.

Sampling error

  • Difference between actual population characteristics and sample is the margin of error or sampling error.

Non-sampling error

  • This error caused by the research design
  • Caused by Human error
  • Sensitive or personal questions are make problem, respondents might answer them ‘safely’ rather than ‘truthfully’, problem kike these called Non- sampling error.

Disadvantageous of survey

  • Not get in-depth information
  • Need large number of Investigators
  • Problems in way of questions are asked
  • Sampling error, non-sampling error


  • Is a dialogue between Researcher and respondent
  • It is a highly flexible process
  • Interviewers enjoy lot of freedom in framing questions
  • Establishing Rapport at the initial stage
  • Types
    • Structured (loosely structured , strictly structured)
    • Un structured

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