Interactionists and Sociological Methods

Gap-fill exercise

Fill in all the gaps, then press "Check" to check your answers. Use the "Hint" button to get a free letter if an answer is giving you trouble. You can also click on the "[?]" button to get a clue. Note that you will lose points if you ask for hints or clues!
Make sure you have completed the reading on your reading list before you attempt this exercise

Choice of research methods by sociologists largely depend on the theorectical perspective of the sociologist. We saw earlier that positivists prefer methods which produce quantitative data. Interactionists on the other hand use methods which they say uncover the meanings behind actions. They prefer methods which generate qualitative data (thoughts, feelings, opinions etc).

Interactionists are looking for the behind individual actions and do not believe that humans can be measured or understood in a way. They seek to collect data which will help them understand human behaviour from the point of view of the individual. Methods used to achieve this include unstructured interviews and participant .

Interactionists such as Weber emphasise the need to have empathy with the people you are studying (be able to see the world as they do). Weber use the German word "" to describe such empathy.

Interactionists also get called interpretivists and anti-positivists by examiners! They mean the same thing... don't get caught out!