In this lecture, Dr. Andrew Jorgenson presents an overview of methodological tools used in sociological research. He notes the distinctions between exploratory analysis and hypothesis testing and between inductive and deductive reasoning, and highlights differences among data types. He provides examples of qualitative research approaches, including ethnography and case study methodologies, and quantitative research approaches, overviewing multivariate regression and other techniques. He provides several examples of studies from environmental sociology that use methodological techniques. He concludes by noting that research questions should determine the methods that are used, and that environmental sociology embraces diverse methodological approaches to answer a range of research questions.
Marquart-Pyatt, S.T., Jorgenson, A.K., and Hamilton, L.C. (2015). Methodological approaches for sociological research on climate change. In R.E. Dunlap and R.J. Brulle (eds.), Climate Change and society: Sociological Perspectives (pp. 369–411).
Andrew Jorgenson is Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at Boston College. The primary area of his research is the political economy and human ecology of global environmental change. His secondary areas of research include the environmental and institutional conditions that shape public health outcomes in developing nations, and the political economy of development and inequality. The majority of his research is quantitative, longitudinal, and comparative-international, and in new projects he employs multi-level and multi-method techniques. His current collaborative research on the facility-level and country-level factors that influence power plant carbon emissions is funded by the National Science Foundation. He is the founding co-editor of the journal Sociology of Development, and a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology.