Techniques of Data Collection in Sociology : Data Collection Methods in Sociology | UPSC Notes

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Techniques of Data Collection UPSC

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• A questionnaire is “a piece of paper with a list of questions that the people who fill it out have to answer for themselves.”

• A questionnaire is a set of well-thought-out questions that are generally sent by mail, though they can also be given by hand. The hand delivery could happen at home, school or college, the job, an organisation, and so on.

• A cover letter tells the people who fill out the poll why it’s important. Usually, a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope is sent with the form to save the respondent money.

• Repeated notes ask for the questionnaire to be sent back as a follow-up.

A questionnaire is a tool that is used when…

• They want very large samples;

• They want to keep costs low;

• They want to reach specialised groups that are likely to have high response rates;

• They want the survey to be easy to run; and

• They are happy with a moderate response rate.

When making and asking questions, you should follow these rules:

• Questions should be easy to understand:

A question like, “What do you think about the proposed peace plan for Kashmir?” might not make sense to someone who doesn’t know anything about the plan.

• Questions should be about the topic:

People are sometimes asked what they think about things they have never thought about before. For example, “What do you think about the economic policies of the BJP, the Congress, and the CPI parties?” People are sure to not care about these kinds of questions.

• You should ask short questions:

Avoid things that are long and hard to understand. The person answering should be able to read something quickly, figure out what it means, and come up with an answer without much trouble.

• You shouldn’t ask negative questions:

The fact that there is a denial in the question makes it easy to get it wrong.

For example, if you ask people if they agree or disagree with the statement “India should not recognise the military rule in Fiji,” a large number of them won’t read the word “not” and will answer based on that.

• Avoid terms that are biassed:

The results are affected by bias. For example, the question “Have military rulers in the neighbouring country always slowed down the progress of our country?” may make some people more likely to give a certain answer than other questions.

• People who answer must be able to:

The researcher should always ask himself if the people he has picked to answer his questions are knowledgeable enough to do so. For example, it might not make sense to ask people who work for a daily wage what they think about “community violence.”

In the same way, it would be wrong to ask students how they think the university’s total income should be spent, since they may not have a good understanding of the events and how much they cost.

• People who answer must be ready to:

People often don’t want to share their thoughts with others, like when you ask Muslims about how Pakistan treats Muslims in India.

Types of Questions:

Primary, secondary, and tertiary questions;

• Primary Questions get answers that are directly related to the topic of the study.

Each question tells you something about a certain part of the subject.

For example, the question “Who makes decisions in your family?” is a good way to figure out what kind of family you have (husband-dominant, wife-dominant, or equalitarian).

• Secondary questions are used to get information that isn’t directly related to the topic. This means that the information isn’t as important. They only make sure that the people who answer are telling the truth. For example, in the above topic, the questions “Who decides what kind of gift to give to a family member who is getting married?” and “Who chooses the boy the daughter will marry in the end?” are secondary questions.

The third questions are neither the most important nor the least important.

These only set up a framework that makes it easy to get enough information and enough data without making the responder tired or biassed.

Closed-ended and Open-ended Questions:

• Questions with only one answer are called “closed-ended.” They ask the responder to choose one of the answers that the researcher has given. Here’s just one: “Who do you think is the best teacher?”

Who takes teaching seriously; Is always available to talk with and help students; Has a flexible way of dealing with student issues; Doesn’t believe in punishing students; Is interested in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

• The open-ended questions are free-response questions that need answers in the respondent’s own words. For example: Who do you think would make a good teacher?

How well do you think the last government did its job?

What do you think is India’s most important problem right now?

Advantages of open-ended questions:

• The researcher finds out what the subject knows.

• If there are a lot of answer categories, like 50 or more, it would be hard to put them all on a questionnaire. However, if some were left out, there wouldn’t be enough right answers for everyone.

• Because the responder can choose how to answer, the researcher gets more and different information based on how the respondent thinks. Sometimes the information and answers a researcher gets are so different from what he or she expected that their ideas change completely.

• They are better for big, complicated problems that can’t be put into a few small groups.

Disadvantages of open-ended questions are :

• It’s hard to sort and code all of the answers.

• Because the numbers are not standardised, it is hard to do statistical analysis and figure out percentages.

• Sometimes the answers given are very long, so it takes time to figure out what they mean.

• Semi-literate people find it hard to answer open-ended questions because they require a better understanding of how to talk about feelings.

The advantages about closed-ended questions are:

• They give more standard answers.

• Standard answers are easy to code, score, and process, which saves time and money.

• The person answering doesn’t have to think too hard because he or she usually knows what the question means.

• Little time is taken to finish questionnaire.

• Different people’s answers can be compared.

• You don’t get irrelevant answers, and the answers are mostly complete. For example, if you ask, “How often do you smoke?” and it’s an open-ended question, you might get a response like, “Whenever I feel like it.” But if you ask a closed-ended question, you might get a response like, “One pack a day, or two packs a day, or four cigarettes a day,” and so on.

• There are a lot of responses, especially to questions about income, age, etc., that are hard to answer. If the answer to a closed-ended question is a category, it’s easy for the respondent to figure out where his or her age or income fits.

The disadvantages of closed-ended questions are:

• The responder might not get all possible answers because the researcher might have left out some important ones.

• The responder doesn’t think about giving free information and doesn’t do it. Even the wrong answer gets checked.

• Often, when people answer closed questions, they don’t find answers that match how they really feel or think.

• The person who doesn’t know the answer takes a guess and picks one of the answers that makes the most sense or gives an answer at random.

• It is not possible to tell if the responder made a mistake or if they chose the right answer.

Direct and Indirect Questions :

• Direct questions are ones that are about the person being asked. For example, “Do you believe in God?” is a direct question.

• Indirect questions try to find out about other people. For example, “Do you think that people your age and status believe in God these days?” is an indirect question. Here are some more:

• Asking in a roundabout way: Do college professors read more English or Hindi books these days?

Do you read books written in English?

How would you describe the relationships between the people in your family?

• Straightforward question: Do you fight with your partner often, sometimes, rarely, or never?

Nominal, Ordinal and Interval Questions:

• A nominal question has answers that fit into two or more groups, such as male or female, rich or poor, married or not married, country or urban, illiterate or educated, Shia or Sunni, Hindu or Muslim. Nominal question is also called sorting scale.

• An ordinal question is one in which the answers are put in order of how important they are.

You can put the categories in order from best to worst, worst to best, or first to last.

o For example, smoking: often, sometimes, or never

o Putting aside 33% of the places in Parliament for women: Agree/disagree/don’t know

o Relationships with coworkers at work: great, good, bad, or can’t say

Ordinal scales are also called ranking scales from time to time.

• In an interval question, the space between the two numbers is the same. For instance:

Age now: 10 or younger, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41 or older

Below Rs. 18,000/Rs. 18,000-Rs. 36,000/Rs. 36,000-54,000/Rs. 54,000-72,000/Rs. 72,000+

Below 18; between 18 and 22; between 22 and 26; between 26 and 30; and over 30.

Steps in Questionnaire Construction

Questionnaires are put together in a methodical way. There are a number of steps that all work together. Most of the time, people do (Sarantakos):

• Preparation: The researcher thinks about the different things that should be on the questionnaire, how they should be arranged, and what questions have been used in other studies that are similar.

• Making the first draught: The researcher comes up with a number of questions, including direct/indirect, closed/open-ended, and primary/secondary/tertiary questions.

• Self-evaluation: The researcher thinks about how relevant, symmetrical, and clear the wording is, among other things.

• Evaluation from the outside: The first draught is given to one or two experts or colleagues to look over and offer changes.

• Revision: Some questions are taken out, some are changed, and some new questions are added based on ideas.

• Pre-test or pilot study: A pre-test or pilot study is done to see how well the whole evaluation works.

• Revision: Small and big changes can be made based on what we learned from pretesting.

• Second pre-testing: The updated questionnaire is then given a second test, and if changes are needed, they are made.

• Making the final draught: The final draught is made after editing, checking wording, leaving space for responses, and pre-coding.

Limitations of Questionnaire

• Only educated people can use the mail-in surveys. This limits the number of people who can answer.

• Only a small number of surveys are sent back. The average rate of return is between 30 and 40%.

• The mailing address might not be right, which could cause some qualified people to be left out. So, many times, the group chosen is said to be biassed.

• Sometimes different respondents understand questions differently. There is no way to clear up the mistake.

• There may be bias in the responses because people who don’t care about the subject may not answer all of the questions. Since the researcher is not there to explain what some ideas mean, the responder may choose to leave the question blank.

• Questionnaires don’t give you the chance to get more information while you’re filling them out.

• Researchers aren’t sure if the person to whom the assessment was sent filled out the questions themselves or if someone else did.

• Many questions remain unanswered. The analysis is changed by the partial answer.

• Before filling out the form, the respondent can talk to other people. Because of this, the answers can’t be seen as his thoughts.

• The respondent’s background information can’t be checked to see if it’s true. A person from the middle class can say that they are rich, and a person from the middle caste can say that they are high caste.

• Since the size of the questionnaire has to be kept small, the responders can’t be asked for all the information that would be helpful.

• The question doesn’t go into enough depth or try to get a more detailed answer.

Advantages of Questionnaire

• Lower cost: Compared to other ways, questionnaires are cheaper. Even the staff needed isn’t that big, since the researcher can either mail the surveys himself or hire one or two other people to do it.

• Saves time: Because the people who fill out the questionnaires may live in different places and the sample size may be big, it may take a little longer to get the questionnaires back than it would to do face-to-face conversations. So, schedules take months to finish because all of the surveys are sent at the same time and most of the answers come back in 10–15 days. In simple words, questionnaires produce quick results.

• Accessibility to a wide range of respondents: When respondents live in different places, they can be reached by mail, which saves money on travel.

• There’s no bias from the interviewer. Since the interviewer isn’t there in person, he can’t affect the interviewee’s answers by prompting, giving his own opinion, or misreading the question.

• Greater anonymity: When the interviewer isn’t there, the responder is assured of anonymity, which lets them say what they want and answer even socially awkward questions. Because the reporter isn’t there, the people being interviewed feel like they can talk freely about things they wouldn’t have talked about otherwise.

• Convenience for the respondent: The respondent can fill out the form at his own pace. He does not have to answer all of the questions at once. Since he fills out the survey in his free time, he can answer the easy questions first and take his time with the harder ones.

• Questions are written in the same way for everyone, so there isn’t much difference in how people understand them. This makes it easier to compare the results.

• They don’t change: questionnaires are stable, consistent, and uniform tests that don’t change.


• An interview is a series of questions asked out verbally. As a tool for study or a way to get information, an interview is different from a general interview in how it is planned, built, and done.The difference is that a research interview is planned and done in a systematic way, it is controlled by the researcher to avoid bias and distortion, and it is related to a specific research question and a specific goal.

• Lindzey Gardner (1968) defined an interview as “a two-person conversation started by the interviewer for the specific purpose of getting research-relevant information and focused by him on the content specified by the research objectives of description and explanation.”

• During the research interview, the interviewer asks specific questions about the research goals and standards, and the respondent only answers the specific questions asked by the interviewer.

Functions of Interview

The two most important things that the interview method does are:

• Description: The information from the responder gives us a better understanding of how social reality works.

Since the interviewer spends some time with the responders, he can better understand how they feel and what they think. He can also ask for more information if he needs to and figure out what it all means.

• Exploration: The interview sheds light on parts of the problem that haven’t been looked into yet.

In the case of “widows being taken advantage of by their in-laws and coworkers,” a personal interview with the victims gives the interviewer information about the widows’ place in the support system and how their traditional values make their lives hard and make it hard for them to adjust.

The conversation can be a good way to find out more about a topic and find new things to study. It can also help make ideas clearer. Even new ideas can be thought of as things to test.

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For example, if you study the problems that husbands and wives face in inter-caste and intercommunity marriages and ask a lot of questions about their views, beliefs, and patterns of behaviour, you can learn interesting things about how people adjust in different ways.

Characteristics of an Interview.

Black and Champion have said that an interview has the following traits:

• Personal communication: The interviewer and respondent talk to each other face-to-face and have a chat.

• Equal status: Both the interviewer and the person being interviewed have the same position.

• People ask questions and get answers out loud.

• The interviewer takes notes, not the person being interviewed.

• The reporter and the person being interviewed are strangers to each other, so their relationship is short-lived.

• The talk doesn’t have to be between just two people. It could be two interviewers and a group of people being interviewed, or it could be one interviewer and two or more people being interviewed.

• There is a lot of freedom in how the interview is set up.

Types of Interviews:

• There are many different types of interviews, which vary in structure, the role of the interviewer, and the number of people being interviewed.

• Some types of interviews are used in both quantitative and qualitative research, while others are only used in one type of research.

Interviews with no plan vs. plans:

• The talk with no set plan;

There are no rules about how the questions should be asked or in what order they should be asked. The interviewer makes up questions on the spot.

The way these conversations are set up is flexible because they are given in the form of a guide. In this interview, the person doing the interview only has a general idea of what questions will be asked.

He doesn’t know ahead of time what the exact questions are going to be about. He hasn’t put questions in a certain order.

The conversation can go on for as long as he wants.

So, what is asked of one respondent at the beginning may be asked of the other respondent at the end, and what is asked of one respondent in the middle may be asked of a third respondent in the middle. The benefits of an unstructured interview are: o The questions are asked naturally, so the interview can be like a conversation.

o There are more chances to go exploring without restrictions.

o If the responder seems interested in a certain part of the problem, the interviewer can pay more attention to that part.

But there are also some problems with the open interview:

o It’s not possible to match the information from different respondents.

o If the questions aren’t asked in a consistent way, it’s hard to believe the facts.

o The facts can’t be put into numbers.

You can waste a lot of time learning little or nothing that adds to what you already know. Time is also lost by repeating things and having talks that don’t get anywhere.

o When a talk is mostly about a few things, some things may be left out.

• The structured interview; This is based on the structured interview guide, which isn’t too different from the form.

In fact, it is a list of specific points and questions that the interviewer has made up ahead of time.

It doesn’t give you much room to change anything about it, like the content, words, or order of the questions.

In this kind of interview, the interviewer is supposed to act in a way that gives all of the people being interviewed the same idea.

The goal is to limit the interviewer’s bias as much as possible and make the process as casual as possible. In quantitative study, this kind of interview is used.

Interviews that are normal vs. interviews that aren’t:

• In standardised interviews, the answers to each question are all the same because they are picked from a list of possible answers. Respondents should pick one of the choices given as the answer. For instance, the possible answers could be “yes,” “no,” “don’t know,” “agree,” “disagree,” “illiterate,” “less educated,” “highly educated,” “for,” “against,” “don’t know,” and so on. This is mostly used in study that looks at numbers.

• An unstandardized interview is one where the answers are up to the person being interviewed. Most of the time, this is used in qualitative study.

One-on-one interviews vs. group interviews:

• In an individual interview, the interviewer talks with only one person at a time.

• In a group interview, more than one person is talked to at the same time. The group can be small, like a husband and wife or two coworkers in a workplace, or it can be big, like 10 to 20 people, like all the students in a class.

Self-administered interviews vs. interviews given by someone else:

• In a self-administered interview, the person being interviewed is given a list of questions and directions on where to write their answers on the interview form.

• In other types of interviews, the interviewer puts the answers to the questions on the response sheet himself.

Unique interviews vs. group interviews: • In a unique interview, the interviewer gets all of the information in one interview. But he is not forbidden from going back to the interviewer a second time to ask for more details.

• In a panel interview, the reporter asks the same group of people for information more than once at regular times. When different people are asked the same questions at different times, this is called a “trend study.”

Personal interviews vs. non-personal ones:

In a personal interview, the reporter and the interviewee talk face-to-face. In a non-personal interview, they don’t talk to each other. There is no face-to-face contact; instead, information is gathered by phone, computer, or some other way.

Conditions for a Successful Interview

• Gardner has pointed out that there are three things that need to happen for an interview to go well:

Accessibility: For someone to give information, it’s important that they know what’s expected of them and that they’re ready to give the information they have. It’s possible that the respondent doesn’t know anything or has forgotten something, or that he’s under mental stress and can’t give information, or that the question is written in a way that he can’t answer it.

Understanding: Sometimes the responder can’t figure out what is expected of him. If he doesn’t know what the study or survey is about, how long the interview will be, what concepts and terms will be used, and what kind of answers the interviewer wants from him, his answers might not be on point.

Motivation: The respondent needs to be motivated not only to give information, but also to give correct information. Some of the things that make a respondent less motivated are fear of consequences, embarrassment over not knowing something, suspicion of the interviewer, and dislike of the topic. So, the reporter has to try to lessen the impact of these things.

How to conduct an interview;

You could say that training the interviewer, or the process of training, means walking the interviewer through the steps of how to do an interview. There are jobs to do at each stage. These are: Fully explain to the researcher what the study is about and what its goals are; and Choose and find the people who will be part of the study.

on what parts of the theme the focus should be.

Before asking the respondent for the interview, you should ask him to set up a time.

Set up the conversation so that only the respondent is there and everyone else leaves on their own.

Tell the respondent about how long the conversation is likely to last.

Start the interview by telling the responder what organisation he works for and how he was chosen for the interview.

Look in a certain way so that the responder feels free to say what he thinks.

Probe questions that are written in a fair way.

Do not say anything about your own ideas. This will either stop the responder from saying something different or make him more likely to agree with the interviewer. In either case, the answers would not show how the person really feels.

Boost the respondent’s desire to work with you.

Assure the responder that you won’t tell anyone who he is.

Teaching the interviewer that they have to ask all relevant questions in a certain order.

Pros of an Interview

• The response rate is high;

• In-depth questioning is possible;

• Respondents’ trust can be gained through personal rapport;

• The interviewer can explain difficult terms and clear up confusion and misunderstandings;

• The survey is easy to run because respondents don’t have to be educated or fill out long questionnaires;

• The interviewer can see how respondents act when they’re not talking;

• The respondent’s identity is known; and

• The interview is sure to be full because all of the questions asked by the interviewers are answered by the people being interviewed.

Disadvantages of Interview

• Interviewees who are afraid of being found out can hide information or give wrong information.

• Interviews cost more money and take more time than surveys.

• The interviewee’s mood affects what they say and how much they say. If he’s tired, he won’t pay attention. If he’s in a hurry, he’ll try to get rid of the reporter as soon as possible.

• Different interviewers may get different answers, especially if the conversation is not planned out.

• The interviewer may write down the answers in different ways, based on how he sees them.

• It is not as private as other ways.

• It is less useful for sensitive questions.

Lindsey Gardner has said that observation is the “selection, provocation, recording, and encoding of that set of organisms’ behaviours and settings “in situ” (naturalistic settings or familiar surroundings) that are consistent with empirical goals.” In this meaning, Selection means that there is a focus on observation and also editing before, during, and after the observations are made.

Provocation means that watchers don’t destroy natural environments, but they can make small changes that make things clearer.

Recording means that the things that are seen are written down so that they can be looked at later. During encoding, records are made easier to read.

What makes an observation?

• Scientific observation is different from other ways of gathering data in four ways:

1) It is always direct, while other methods can be direct or indirect;

2) Field observation takes place in a natural setting;

3) Observations tend to be less structured; and

4) It only does qualitative studies, not quantitative ones, to learn about people’s experiences and how they make sense of them (phenomenology) or how people understand them (psychology).

• Loft land has said that this way is better for studying lifestyles or subcultures, practises, episodes, encounters, relationships, groups, organisations, settlements, roles, etc.

The goal of observation is to record how people act as they actually do it. In other ways, we only get a steady picture of what people do.

• In real life, they sometimes change their minds, sometimes contradict themselves, and sometimes are so swayed by the situation that they act in a completely different way. For example, the way clerks act in the office or the tone of voice, facial expressions, and content of slogans used by protesters are all examples of how people’s actions can change based on the situation.

• To describe social life in more detail than can be learned in other ways. For example, how do women act when their husbands hurt them physically? How do young women act when their in-laws put them down, bother them, and take advantage of them? How do the owners of bound workers treat them?

• To look into important situations and events. There are many times when not much is known about a subject. By being there, problems that might otherwise be ignored are looked at more closely. For example, if you went to the office right after work hours and found that married men and single women were working overtime while single men and married women had gone home, you would know that you needed to pay more attention to that situation.

It can be used as a way to gather information when watching alone isn’t enough, like when workers are on strike.

How to Make an Observation

Participants and people who didn’t take part:

• Participant observation

This is a way for the analyst to learn more about a situation by becoming a part of it. He takes part in the setting and group life of the people he is studying. He talks about what’s going on in the community by observing what’s going on around him and adding to this with interviews and chats.

 In India, M.N. Srinivas used this method to study the process of “sanskritization” in Mysore, and Andre Beteille used it to study class, status, and power differences in social inequality in rural areas (Tanjore village).

The problems with this type of observation (participant observation) are that the observer is sometimes so involved in the events that he loses his objectivity; he affects the events; he interprets the events in his own way; his presence makes the subjects so nervous that they don’t act naturally; he may write down some information but forget to write down other information or explain why information was not written down.

o He isn’t clear about how the data is collected; o Since he isn’t clear about how the data is collected, others can’t check the accuracy and validity of his research findings; o He doesn’t pay much attention to detail; and o This method can’t be used for studies where people do illegal things.

• In non-participant observation, the watcher stays out of the way and doesn’t take part in or try to change what’s going on around them.

He does nothing but watch how they act. This can sometimes put the person being watched in an awkward situation and make them act in a strange way.

 But some people say that even though the observer’s actions may change the behaviour of the watched at first, after a while the observee pays less and less attention to him.

This type of observation is better for gathering data because the observer can choose the events to watch and can freely write down the information.

Observation that is organised or not:

• Reiss (1971) made a distinction between systematic and unsystematic observation based on how well the observational data could be used to make scientifically useful conclusions.

Systematic observation is when there are clear rules for observing and writing down what you see. This lets you use reasoning and makes it possible to repeat the experiment.

The statement doesn’t follow any rules or make sense, which makes it hard to repeat.

A simple observation and a scientific one:

Nave observation is observation that is not planned or organised. Observation becomes scientific when it is planned and done in a systematic way, when it has a clear goal, and when it is tested and controlled.

Structured and unstructured observation: Structured observation is organised and planned, has a set of well-defined observation categories, and is subject to high levels of control and differentiation. Unstructured observation is loosely organised, and the process is mostly up to the observer.

The two types of observation are natural and laboratory. In natural observation, observations are made in natural settings. In laboratory observation, observations are made in a lab.

There are two types of observation: direct and indirect. In direct observation, the observer does not try to control or change the event. The watcher just writes down what happens.

• An indirect view is one in which the subject(s) cannot be seen directly because they are dead or don’t want to take part in the study. The researcher looks at the actual signs that the thing being studied has left behind and draws conclusions about it. For example, a researcher might look at the site of a bomb explosion where the dead, the injured, and the wrecked cars are lying.

Overt observation and covert observation:

• In covert observation, the people being watched don’t know they’re being watched. In this type of observation, the researcher usually takes part in all the activities; otherwise, it would be hard for him to explain why he is there. Most of these thoughts are not organised in any way.

• In overt observation, the people being watched know they’re being watched. This can sometimes make them act differently than they usually do. For example, if a police officer in a police station knows that a researcher is watching how he acts, he will never think of giving the accused person the third degree. Instead, he will be polite and sensitive.

Process of Observation: There are no standard operating procedures in observational field study, which is one of the most interesting things about it.

Since each society has its own unique traits, researchers are asked to do different things. Observation can’t be boiled down to a simple set of techniques because it includes sensitive interactions between people.

Still, some scholars have tried to show what the watcher on the ground needs to do. Sarantakos has pointed out six steps in observation:

The topic is chosen by observing what is going on, such as a fight between husband and wife, a riot, a meeting of the caste Panchayat in a town, child labourers in a glass factory, and so on.

Formulating the topic means setting up groups to be watched and pointing out situations where cases should be watched.

Research design is what decides who will be watched, if there will be an observation schedule, and how people will get into situations to be observed.

Collecting data includes getting to know the setting, observing, and making notes.

Analysis of data: At this stage, the researcher looks at the information, makes tables, and tries to figure out what it all means.

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Report writing: This is the process of writing the report so that it can be sent to the funding agency or published.

Factors That Affect the Choice of Observation

• During the process of observation, there are a number of things that can affect the choice of observation. Three of these factors have been found by Black and Champion:

When it comes to the problem:

o Some things are hard to watch, like how a mafia group works, how professional crooks spend their days, how prisoners and hospital patients live, and so on.

o Observation is a key method in some theoretical orientations, such as ethnomethodology (the study of the methods used in everyday social activities), phenomenology (an approach that looks at phenomena as seen by the acting individual, focusing on perception and consciousness), and symbolic interactionism (an approach that looks at how language and body language shape the mind, the self, and society).

Concerning the investigator’s skills and personality: o All social scientists don’t feel comfortable watching a situation for a long time.

o After an hour or so, they feel more comfortable asking questions. Few experts change their behaviour in a way that can be seen.

o This means that people with certain traits and skills can be good watchers.

Concerning the qualities of the observed:

o Their traits are an important part of getting information from the people being looked into.

o The relationship between the subject and the interviewer is a big part of whether observation will work as a way to gather information.

o Many people who are being watched value their privacy so much because of their job, their income, their subcultural values, or social norms, that they don’t let the person watching them watch them in all settings.

o It’s easy to watch people who are poor compared to those who are wealthy. It’s easier to watch teachers, clerks, etc. than doctors and lawyers, who have to keep their relationships with their customers private and sacred.

Basic Problems in Observation

• Festinger and Katz have listed six basic problems:

How do you know when to make an observation? How is the setting for observation set up?

What behaviour should be chosen and recorded to get the knowledge that is needed?

How stable are the conditions under which observations can be made so that the same results can be gotten under what seem to be the same conditions? Are the measurements correct?

How true is the process that has been seen or thought to be true?

What evidence is there that we are seeing a process with a working whole?

Has anyone tried to summarise what has been seen in terms of numbers? Can a grade be given?

• According to Lyn Lofland (1995:63), a researcher using the observation method should not do any of the following:

The people being watched shouldn’t be kept in the dark about why they are being watched.

Information should be gathered from everyone, not just a select few.

People should not be given help, even if they really need it.

There shouldn’t be any promises made.

The study should have a plan for how to deal with people.

When there are different sides, you shouldn’t choose one.

Paying money or something else of value for information should never be done.

What’s good about observing

• Bailey has mentioned four good things about observing:

Better at getting information about nonverbal behaviour:

o The survey method is the best way to find out what a person thinks about a certain problem, but observation is better for finding out how they act when they don’t say anything or if they might forget what they said.

o It doesn’t just let people be studied in a limited way, but also lets them be studied in depth. The unstructured observational method gives the observer a lot of freedom, so they can focus on any factors that turn out to be important.

Relationships that are more personal and less formal: Since the observer often lives with the subjects for a long time, the connection between them is often more personal and less formal than in a survey where the interviewer meets the respondents for 30 to 40 minutes in a very formal setting.

o The relationship is sometimes more important than the other person. Even if a witness is close to the subject, that doesn’t mean they can’t still record facts in an objective way.

o This is only possible if the viewer cares about the people he is watching. Natural environment: o Watching behaviour in its natural setting won’t cause any bias.

Observation will not be made up or too limited.

Longitudinal analysis: In an observation study, the researcher can look at things for a much longer time than in a poll.

• Sarantakos has said that watching has the following benefits:

It is less hard to do and takes less time.

It gives information when people can’t or won’t work together to give information.

It looks at truth in its natural form and studies how things change over time.

It lets a lot of different kinds of information be collected.

Cost-wise, it’s not too bad. Observation tool also has two other benefits, which are:

Observers can judge how people feel by how they act.

The observer can write down the situation that gives meaning to what the responder says.

What’s wrong with observing?

• Bailey says that the problems with the watching method are:

Lack of Control: In an artificial setting, the researcher can control the variables that affect the data, but in a natural setting, they don’t have much say over the factors that affect the data.

Problems with putting numbers on things: o Observational data can’t be put into numbers.

o The data will show how people talked to each other, but it won’t be possible to figure out how many times they talked.

o During community riots, looting, arson, and killing can be seen, but it is impossible to know how many of each type of person did what. Deep emotional and social data is hard to put into categories.

Small sample size: o Unlike poll studies, observational studies use a smaller sample size.

o Two or more observers can look at a larger group, but their results can’t be compared if they do. Since observations are made over a longer period of time, it can be expensive to hire a lot of watchers.

Getting in: Sometimes it’s hard for the researcher to get permission for the study.

o It’s not always easy to watch how an organisation or institution works without the administrator’s permission.

So, he might not write down his findings right away, but he might write them down at night.

Lack of anonymity and studying sensitive topics: o It is hard to keep the respondent’s identity in an observational study.

o In a poll, it’s easy for the husband to say that he never fights with his wife, but if you watch him for a long time, you can’t hide the fights.

Limited study: Not all parts of the problem can be looked at at the same time.

o The viewing method only looks at a few things. In the same way, you can’t study your own thoughts and feelings.

• Williamson et al. have talked about some of the problems with the observation method.

This method can’t be used to find out about big groups of people.

There aren’t many ways to prevent bias on the part of the expert.

There is also the problem of choosing which facts to gather.

Just by being there, the researcher might change the group or social order in some way.

Since there is no set way to use the observation method, the researcher might not be able to explain exactly how the work was done. Because of this, it becomes hard to repeat the study.

So, we could say that observation is a useful tool for scientific study when it is planned and written in a systematic way, when it is checked and controlled, and when the people who do the observing have skills and have been trained.

Case study:

A case study is a detailed look at a person, an institution, a system, a community, an organisation, an event, or even the whole society.

• Yin has said that a case study is “an empirical inquiry that looks at a modern phenomenon in its real-life context, when the lines between phenomenon and context are not clear, and when evidence comes from more than one source.”

• According to Kromrey, “case study means looking at individual cases, often in their natural setting and over a long period of time.”

• A case study is not a way to collect data. Instead, it is a strategy for research or an empirical inquiry that looks at a modern event by using evidence from multiple sources.

• Mitchell has also said that a case study is more than just a story about an event or series of events; it also involves analysis against a suitable theoretical framework or in support of theoretical conclusions.

• A case study can be easy and specific, like “Ram, the bad boy,” or it can be complicated and general, like “how decisions are made at a university.” But no matter what the topic is, a case study must be a closed system or unit that stands on its own.

Hartfield says that a case study is different because it looks at whole units, not just some parts or factors of them.

It uses more than one way to collect data so that mistakes and distortions don’t happen.

If a person usually studies just one unit, then one unit is one study.

It sees the responder as an expert, not just a source of information.

It looks at a common case.

Purposes of Case Study:

• A case study can be used as a starting point for a larger investigation because it can bring to light factors, processes, and connections that need more in-depth research.

To look into the phenomenon in depth and examine it carefully in order to make generalisations about the larger group that the unit is a part of.

To find examples from real life that show more general conclusions.

 To deny a universal generalisation. A single case can make a big difference in building a theory and help point future research in the same area in the right direction.

To use it as a one-of-a-kind, typical, and interesting case by itself.

• Berger et al. say that the case study method can be used to: Get detailed information about the structure, process, and complexity of the research object; Form hypotheses; Conceptualise; Operationalize variables; Expand quantitative findings; and Test whether the quantitative study can be done.

Types of Case Studies:

• Burns has listed six types of case studies:

Oral history case studies: These studies show how a group or system has changed over time.

o An example of this type of case study is looking at a thief as a child, adolescent, and young adult.

This type relies more on conversations, recordings, and written records.

Oral history case studies: These look at a drunk, a teacher, a student, a union leader, an action, an event, or a specific group of people.

o However, researchers in this type of study don’t usually take part in or watch the whole thing.

Oral history case studies: Usually, these are first-person stories that the researcher gets by asking a single person a lot of questions.

For example, a drug user or alcoholic, a prostitute, or a retired person who can’t fit in with his son’s family.

This method rests more on the respondent and how willing they are to help.

Oral history case studies: This type of project looks at certain events. People at the event are asked what they think. For example, a communal riot: how it started with a fight between two people from different religious groups, how each person looked for support from people of his own religion who were there, how the police were notified, how people from one religious group were arrested, how the power elite got involved and put pressure on the police department, how the public and the media reacted, and so on.

o Putting all of these points of view together gives the story a depth that helps us understand it much better.

Oral history case studies: o This method is used to learn more about a specific person, like a patient in a hospital, a prisoner in a jail, a woman in a foster home, a troubled child in a school, etc.

o These studies include things like in-depth conversations, observing, reading records and reports, and so on.

Oral history case studies: o It’s a group of case studies or a type of repetition, which means doing the same thing more than once. For instance, we can look at three case studies and figure out how replication reasoning works from them.

o This means that in each case, the results will either be different or the same. The results will either show that the original ideas were right or that they need to be changed and tested with a different set of cases.

o The proof can be more convincing when you use a multi-case design. But this method takes longer and takes more work.

Sources of Data for Case Studies:

• Interviews and observations are the two main ways to get primary data. For secondary data, you can use a wide range of sources, such as reports, records, newspapers, magazines, books, files, notebooks, etc.

• It’s possible that the secondary sources are not correct or are biassed. But they go into more depth about events and issues than interviews can.

Participant observation or non-participant observation could be used. Sociologists in India, like M.N. Srinivas, Sachchidananda, L.P. Vidyarthi, etc., have used the second term more than the first. For some topics, it’s better to look at things from the outside.

 Participant or non-participant observing methods could be used. Sociologists in India, like M.N. Srinivas, Sachchidananda, L.P. Vidyarthi, etc., have used the second term more than the first. For some topics, it’s better to look at things from the outside.

Benefits of Case Study:

• It allows for in-depth study.

• It gives you a lot of options for how to collect data, like using a questionnaire, discussion, observation, etc.

• It could be used to study any part of the topic. For example, it could be used to study one part of the topic but not others.

• It can be done in almost any kind of group situation.

• Case studies don’t cost a lot of money.

• Yin has talked about the three ways a single case study can be used:

It gives an idea a critical test to show if it is true, wrong, or incomplete.

It helps us learn about a unique case, which is useful not only for clinical psychology but also for sociology, where it can be used to learn about deviant groups, problem people, and so on.

It helps to study things that haven’t been studied before, such as the problems and rehabilitation of cyclone victims in coastal areas (sociology of disaster), the management of irrigation canals for farmers, and environmental disasters, among other things.

Criticisms of Case Study;

• The case study method is often criticised because:

Subjective bias: The case study design is looked down upon because it is up to the investigator to decide what evidence to collect to support or disprove a certain explanation. A lot of the time, the agent lets his or her own opinions affect what he finds and what he decides.

People say that case studies don’t provide much proof for making scientific conclusions and generalising theory. People often say, “How can you draw conclusions from a single case?”

Case study takes a lot of time because it gives a lot of information that is hard to analyse properly. When you pick and choose, you tend to be biassed. But a case study doesn’t have to be long if it’s about important parts of the person or event being studied.

Doubtful reliability:

In the case study, it is very hard to prove reliability. The investigator can’t show that the data he got were real or that he didn’t have a bias when he looked at them. It is not easy to write down steps and methods clearly enough so that others can do the same study.

Missing validity: The researchers in the case study don’t come up with a set of measures that work well enough. So, there are no checks and balances on reliable tools. What seems true is more important to an investigator than what is true. Case studies can oversimplify or overstate things, which can lead to wrong conclusions.

The validity question also comes up because the investigator’s appearance and actions change the way the people being watched act, but the investigator doesn’t take this change into account when interpreting the facts. One more thing that can be said against the case study is that it is not representative, which means that each case studied does not represent other cases that are identical.

• Yin has mostly made three points against case studies:

The results of case studies are often skewed because the research is often not done well. Most likely, this criticism comes from the idea that quantitative experts don’t like qualitative data. They think that numbers are the only reliable way to describe and understand social life.

 Case studies can’t be used to say something about the whole. One point is that you can’t draw conclusions from one case. The other point is that if more than one case is used, it will be very hard to show that they are comparable. Too many things about each case are different.

Case studies take too long and come up with too much information. In fact, it’s not the case study itself that takes a lot of time, but the ways that data are collected.

Additional Notes: Social Survey: In a survey, people are asked a number of questions about the part of their behaviour that the researcher wants to know more about. People who are carefully chosen to be representative of the community being studied are asked to answer the same question. This is done so that the answers from different groups of respondents can be compared.

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• One type of survey involves sending a letter to the responders and asking them to fill out a questionnaire on their own before sending it back.

• These are called Mail surveys. Questionnaires are sometimes not filled out by one person at a time, but by a group of people under the direct supervision of a study worker.

• One way to change the process is to have a skilled interviewer ask the questions and write down the answers from each respondent on a schedule. Each of these different methods has its own pros and cons. Mail surveys aren’t too expensive and can be used to reach people who live in different places.

• However, only a small number of people generally fill out questionnaires that are sent to them by mail.

• The questions on the main surveys must also be carefully worded to avoid ambiguity, since the people filling them out can’t ask for questions to be explained to them.

• When groups fill out surveys, the return rate is high and information is collected quickly and fairly.

• The most reliable way is probably to give the interview dates to each respondent on their own. Several trained interviewers may be used to get in touch with certain people.

• There can be both short and long questions on the surveys and schedules. Also, extra care must be taken to make sure that the surveys are filled out in the right order.

• When there are questions about ability, great care must be taken to use the right words. When it comes to schedules, focus and interactions can also be made the same from one person to the next and from one respondent to the next.

• Finally, the right selection methods must be used to make sure that the group being studied is a good representation of the whole. Pilot studies must be used to test questionnaires and schedules before they are used to collect data. This will make the data gathered through questionnaires and schedules more reliable.

Nomothetic and Ideographic Methods: Ideographic and nomothetic methods are two ways to look at social life that are different from each other.

The focus of an ideographic method is on a single case or event. Ethnographers, for example, look at the small details of daily life to build a picture of the whole.

On the other hand, a nomothetic method focuses on general statements that explain bigger social patterns that shape the context of single events or individual behaviour and experience.

The method of studying big groups of people to find general rules of behaviour that apply to everyone is called the “nomothetic method.”

Idiographic Method is a way of getting a unique understanding of a person by learning a lot about them on a personal level.

“Nomos” in ancient Greek meant “laws.” This method believes that a person is a complex mix of many universal laws, so it is best to study people as a whole.

“Idios” means “private” or “personal” in ancient Greek. This way of thinking believes that each person is different.

• According to the Nomothetic Method, the best way to find the universal laws that guide behaviour is through quantitative experimental methods. The person will be put in a group with other people and given a score on a dimension or become a number that backs up a general principle (called “averaging”).

• According to the Idiographic Method, qualitative methods are best. The case study method will give a more complete and global view of the person, who should be studied using flexible, long-term, and detailed procedures to put them in a “class of their own.”

• Benefits of the nomothetic method: in line with the deterministic, law-abiding nature of science, useful for predicting and controlling behaviour; nomothetic results on prejudice and discrimination may be helpful (reduce discrimination).

• The disadvantages of the nomothetic method include: a shallow understanding of any one person; even if two people have the same IQ, they may have answered different questions on the test; a person may have a 1% chance of getting depressed (but is he one of the 1%? ); classification manuals are not accurate and do not help people.

• The advantages of the idiographic method are that it gives a more full and global picture of a person, that it is sometimes the most effective method, and that it often leads to results that lead to experimental studies of behaviour.

Idiographic research tends to be less reliable and scientific (subjective, long-term, and not standardised procedures). Radcliff Brown said, “Sociology is nomothetic, and history is idiographic.” In other words, sociologists make broad statements about things, while historians write about specific things.

Analysis of content;

• Content analysis is a way to study social life by figuring out what words and pictures mean in documents, movies, art, music, and other forms of media and culture.

• It has been used a lot to look at where women stand in society. In ads, for example, women are often shown to be less important than men. This is often done by having the women stand lower than the men or by having them pose or gesture in a submissive way.

• Researchers can find out a lot about a culture by looking at things like newspapers, magazines, TV shows, or songs.

• This is called “analysis of the content.” Researchers who use content analysis don’t look at the people themselves. Instead, they look at the things people say and write to get a picture of their society.

• Content analysis is often used to study different parts of culture and to measure changes in culture.

• Sociologists also use it as a secondary way to find out how people see different social groups. For instance, they might look at how African Americans are portrayed on TV or how women are portrayed in ads.

• In a content analysis, experts count and analyse how many words and ideas are in a cultural artefact, what they mean, and how they relate to each other. Then, they draw conclusions about the messages in the artefacts and the culture they are learning based on what they have learned.

• At its most basic, content analysis is a statistical task that involves putting behaviour into categories and counting how many times each category is used. For example, a researcher might count how many minutes of a TV show men and women spend on screen and compare the numbers.

• This gives us a picture of the patterns of behaviour that are behind how people act in the media.

What are the pros and cons of content analysis?

• Content analysis is a good way to do study for more than one reason. First, it’s a great way to do things because it doesn’t get in the way.

• In other words, it doesn’t change the person being studied because the cultural artefact has already been made. Second, it’s not too hard for a researcher to get access to the media source or newspaper they want to study.

• Finally, it can give an unbiased account of events, themes, and problems that a reader, viewer, or general consumer might not understand right away.

• Content analysis is also not the best way to do study in other ways.

First of all, it can’t study everything. Since it only looks at visual, oral, or written mass communication, it can’t tell us what people really think about these pictures or if they change how people act.

Second, it may not be as neutral as it says it is because the researcher has to choose and record the data correctly.

• Sometimes, the researcher has to decide how to classify or explain certain kinds of behaviour, and other researchers may come to a different conclusion. Last but not least, text analysis can take a lot of time.

Discussion in a focus group;

• Focus group discussion is a type of qualitative research that is most often used in product marketing and marketing research. During a focus group, a group of people, generally between 6 and 12, is brought together in a room to talk about a certain topic in a structured way.

• Focus groups are also often used in study in the social sciences. Take, for example, William Gamson’s study of political views.

• In 1992, he used focus groups to find out how people in the U.S. think about politics. He decided to talk about affirmative action, nuclear power, industries that are having trouble, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

First, Gamson did a content study of the press coverage of these issues to get an idea of how the participants would think and talk about these issues and politics in general based on what they read and heard in the media.

Then he held the focus groups to watch how people talked about these problems with their friends.

• The people in a focus group are chosen because they have something to do with the topic being studied.

• They aren’t usually picked using strict, random sampling methods, so they don’t statistically represent any meaningful community. Participants are instead chosen by word of mouth, advertising, snowball sampling, or other similar methods, based on the type of person and traits the researcher wants to include.

Focus groups have these pros:

• Focus groups have a number of good points:

As a socially focused way of research, it gathers real-life data in a social setting.

It can be changed.

It seems to measure what it is supposed to measure, so it has a high face validity.

 It creates quick results.

It doesn’t cost much to do.

Group dynamics often bring out parts of a topic or share information about it that the researcher might not have expected or that didn’t come up in individual interviews.

The disadvantages about a focus group are:

• Focus groups also have a number of drawbacks:

• The researcher has less control over the event than in individual interviews.

• It’s often hard to figure out what the data mean.

• Moderators require certain skills.

• Differences between people can be hard to deal with.

• It can be hard to get groups to work together.

• The talk needs to take place in a good setting.

How to Get Ready for a Focus Group:

• Figure out what the main goal of the focus group is.

• Put thought into your questions for the focus group. Most of the time, 1 to 1.5 hours is enough time to cover 5 or 6 items in a focus group.

• Invite people who might be interested in coming to the meeting by calling them. Focus groups usually have between 6 and 12 people who are similar in some way (e.g., age, rank in a programme, etc.). Choose people who are likely to take part in talks and don’t know each other.

• Send a follow-up invitation with a suggested agenda, questions to talk about, and information about the time and place.

• Call each member three days before the focus group to remind them of the meeting.

Setting up the meeting:

• Pick a time that works for the most people. Set aside between 1 and 1.5 hours for the focus group. Most people are happy at lunch or dinner, and if you serve food, they are more likely to show up.

• Find a good place, like a meeting room, that has good lighting and air flow. Set up the room so that everyone can see everyone else. Give out name tags and drinks. If your focus group is during lunch or dinner, make sure to bring food.

• Give the people who are going to be there some ground rules that will help get them involved and keep the process moving along in the right way. Like this: 1. Keep your attention on the subject or question, 2. Keep the talk going at a good pace, and 3. Get closure on each question.

• Put together a schedule for the focus group. Think about: “Welcome,” “Overview of the Agenda,” “Overview of the Meeting’s Goal,” “Overview of the Ground Rules,” “Introductions,” “Questions and Answers,” and “Conclusion.”

• Don’t rely on what you remember about what was said in the focus group. Plan to record the lesson with either an audio or a video recorder. If this is not possible, get a co-facilitator who is good at taking notes.

How to Run the Meeting:

• Say who you are and, if you have a co-facilitator, who they are.

• Tell the group why and why you need to record the talk.

• Stick to the plan.

• Think about how to ask each question of the group. Before a group talk, give everyone a few minutes to write down carefully what they want to say. Then, lead a talk about each question’s answer, one at a time.

• After each question is talked about, give a brief recap of what you just heard to the rest of the group. If you have a co-facilitator who takes notes, he or she could do this.

• Make sure that everyone in the group takes part. If only a few people are talking, you should ask others to join in. You could also use a round-table method, where you go around the table in one way and give everyone a chance to answer the question.

• At the end of the meeting, thank the people who came and tell them they will get a copy of the report that came out of the conversation.

As soon as the session is over:

• Check to see if the audio or video recording (if one was used) worked the whole time.

• Add any extra notes that you need to your writing notes.

• Write down any notes you made during the session, such as how people in the group participated, what surprised you about the session, where and when it was held, etc.


• In general, Serendipity is when you find something useful or fun when you weren’t looking for it. In information technology, chance often helps find a new product need or solve a design problem.

• Sometimes when you’re looking for something else on the Internet, you find a useful or interesting site while you’re searching.

• The English writer Horace Walpole used the word for the first time in a letter to Horace Mann on January 28, 1754. He said it was because of “The Three Princes of Serendip,” a “silly fairy tale” he had read.

• Three handsome young princes went on a trip around the world so they could learn more and be ready to take their rightful places when they got back. On their way, they met a camel driver who asked if they had seen his lost animal. As a joke, they said they had seen the camel and said that it was blind in one eye, missing a tooth, and unable to walk. Based on these exact details, the camel’s owner thought for sure that the three had taken the camel and put them in jail. Soon, the lost camel was found, and the princes were taken to the land’s confused Emperor. The Emperor asked the princes how they knew these things. The way the grass was eaten on one side of the road showed that the camel only had one eye. The grass cuds on the ground showed that the camel was missing a tooth, and the marks left by its hoof showed that it was lame.

• Horace Walpole, an English novelist (The Castle of Otranto), politician, and belle lettres, was inspired by this strange story about ancient kings of Sri Lanka, then called Serendip. In this last role, on January 28, 1754, Walpole wrote to the British ambassador Horace Mann and used the word “serendipity” for the first time. Walpole made the word “serendipity” to describe when someone makes a finding by chance and then figures out what it means.

Serendipity in classical fieldwork:

• This “good luck” is an inevitable part of qualitative research, but serendipity is how we turn our “good luck” into a useful finding.

• Since Malinowski’s work in 1950, many research classics have shown how important it is to understand and use unplanned, unplanned events. But generally, ethnographers didn’t like to talk about their mistakes or random events, even if they led to later insights. They might have been afraid that if they did, it would prove that ethnography was just a hobby. Hortense Powdermaker noticed this lack in 1966 when she said:

• There isn’t much written about making mistakes and learning from them, or about the role of chance and accident in finding important problems, rethinking old ones, and coming up with new techniques. This is called “serendipity.” A fieldworker may not be able to learn from his mistakes if he doesn’t have enough theory or imagination, is too committed to a particular theory, or has a rigid personality.

• With the growth of the “reflexive turn” in ethnography, which some have called the “new ethnography” (Dowd, 1994), it is no longer a battle to include serendipitous events in fieldwork accounts. This may contribute to the image of the ethnographer as a hero who makes sense of chaos. We’ve come to show that we like the fun and surprise of study. Even though we have what Atkinson (1990) called a “mythological corpus” of ethnographers’ stories of discovery—often in the form of “confessionals”—we don’t know much about how chance works in qualitative research. The different parts of chance need to be thought of more clearly. The question then becomes: How do the insights we get from our own lives lead to real discoveries?

The pattern of serendipity:

• Robert Merton’s attempt to use the idea of serendipity in social science theory has been the most important one. Merton pointed out in 1962 that there is a lot of writing about how social scientists should think, feel, and act, but not much about what they actually do, think, and feel. Merton tried to make sense of serendipity in sociology in a methodical way by talking about the serendipity pattern, in which unexpected data sparks a theory analysis. For Merton, a piece of data that fits into a pattern of serendipity has to be “unexpected,” “anomalous,” and “strategic,” which means it has to do with the growth of theory.

• Of course, Merton used the scientific model explained above, which is also involved in the princes’ story. That is, there is a real world that hints help us understand. In opposition to a positivist or postpositivist view, we think that a serendipitous insight can help build a story that makes sense. We don’t say that there isn’t an outside world. Instead, we say that there are many possible answers and that random events can be lucky if they give us a chance to tell a story. In this way, telling stories is a tool, not an end in itself. We use stories in a way that is similar to how experts might use an example case to make a statistical study more interesting. Our stories are meant to back up the findings of the paper and, hopefully, show the reader a shortened version of how the researcher understood and drew conclusions.