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sociology: scientific enterprise (Essay Sample)

Please respond to the following questions by 9/5 Reading Assignment: Contreras: Preface (xv-xix) and Introduction (1-32) The author (Randol Contreras) was very conflicted by his “insider status” as an informal member of the group of young men he was studying. What do you think are some of the pros and cons of being so familiar with a group of people that one is studying? What does this mean for the “scientific enterprise” of Sociology? source..
Research Process
Despite the benefits associated with the adoption of the ‘insider status’ in the course of a study, use of this approach also exposes the researcher to profound challenges. Key among the challenges is the risk of the researcher becoming too familiar with the study units. Although increased familiarity ensures a greater level of social proximity between the researcher and the subjects, the resultant levels of social proximity exposes social divisions existing between the researcher and the subjects by increasing awareness. Subsequently, this may leader to a greater divide between the researcher and the study units, thereby harming the entire research process. Similarly, both the researcher and the participants are able to identify ties that join them, thereby leading to increased acceptance and understanding (Contreras 8). Conversely, increased familiarity may negatively impact the manner in which the researcher and the participants perceive one another. If negative, these perceptions may negatively structure the interaction between the participants and the researcher. Moreover, increased familiarity may lead to researcher bias especially if the researcher allows his personal understanding of the participants and their behaviors to influence his judgment (Ganga and Scott 1).
Given the challenges associated with being too familiar with the study participants, social scientists need to fully acknowledge and address the ensuing issues. The ‘insider status’ approach affects the objectivity of a study and hence, the need for sociologists to develop ways through which to manage the margin between public and private self during research. Consequently, the discipline’s scientific enterprise should seek to enhance the objectivity of the study by minimizing the negative effects o...
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