Posted: August 24th, 2016

Drawing on Patricia Hill Collins, explain why attention to marginality and insider/outsider status is significant for sociological research.

Your methods portfolio and essay will be comprised of 3 assignments of up to 1,500 words each. You need to pick 2 of the 4 methods tasks for your portfolio AND you need to answer 1 of the 3 questions for the essay component. Submit your entire portfolio as one document, using page breaks/titles to distinguish between the 3 pieces of work. Your bibliography will go at the end of the entire document.

Read the instructions for each task carefully, and look also at the draft marking proformas on moodle.

You will use far fewer references for this piece than for a standard essay usual but there may be a small number. These may be from the reading lists, or from standard methodology textbooks.

Introductions and conclusions are likely to be brief. They may help you say something about what you have learned. E.g. an introduction to task A would be a discussion of why your chosen field is interesting, and its conclusion might be ideas for further study of emergent themes or your reflections on why you realized ethnography was not suitable for your chosen topic.

In total the entire portfolio, including methodology pieces and essay should be 4000 words, excluding bibliography. You should provide a bibliography after each portfolio item.

You may provide appendices for each task and these are excluded from the word count. We have suggested what these appendices might comprise, but you can include other relevant material you need to refer to in your writing. We have distinguished between essential and optional appendices. Optional appendices should only contain material you have referred to in your writing.

Remember we are interested in seeing how you learned from your mistakes and reward reflexive awareness of things that went wrong.

We know that the word limit is very restricted: aim to make your writing clear and concise, and consider ensuring you leave time to edit your work to make sure you’ve made the most of those few words.


You need to answer 1 of the following 3 questions.
1. How should sociologists approach the idea of objectivity in conducting research?

2. Drawing on Patricia Hill Collins, explain why attention to marginality and insider/outsider status is significant for sociological research.

3. “The sense of unease of social observation as ‘spectacle’ (Bourdieu 1979) is endemic to qualitative social research and should be faced honestly rather than ignored or swept aside” (Mah, p. 11). How can research ethics help us address the issues of conducting qualitative research identified by Mah?

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