NCERT Textbook - Suggestions for Project Work Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Sociology Class 12

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Suggestions for Project Work Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


© NCERT
not to be republished
Indian Society
142
T     his chapter suggests some small practical research projects that you can try
out. There is a big difference between reading about research and actually doing it.
Practical experience of trying to answer a question and collecting evidence
systematically is a very valuable experience.  This experience will hopefully introduce
you to the excitement and also some of the difficulties of sociological research.
Before you read this chapter, please refer once again to Chapter 5 (“Doing Sociology:
Research Methods”) in the Class XI textbook, Introducing Sociology.
The projects suggested here have tried to anticipate the potential problems
of organising this kind of activity for large number of students in different kinds
of schools located in different kinds of contexts.  These are intended just to give
you a feel for research.  A “real” research project would obviously be more
elaborate and involve much more time and effort than is possible in your setting.
These are meant as suggestions; feel free to think up ideas of your own in
consultation with your teachers.
Every research question needs an appropriate or suitable research method.
A given question may be answered with more than one method, but a given
research method is not necessarily appropriate for all questions.  In other words,
for most research questions one has a choice of possible methods but this
choice is usually limited.  One of the first tasks of the researcher – after carefully
specifying the research question – is to select a suitable method.  This selection
must be done not only according to technical criteria (i.e., the degree of
compatibility between question and method), but also practical considerations.
These latter might include the amount of time available to do the research; the
resources available in terms of both people and materials; the circumstances
or situations in which it has to be done, and so on.
For example, let us suppose you are interested in comparing co-educational
schools with ‘boys only’ or ‘girls only’ schools.  This, of course, is a broad topic.
You must first formulate a specific question that you want to answer.  Examples
could be: Do students in co-educational schools do better in studies than
students in boys/girls only schools?  Are boys only schools always better than
co-educational schools in sports?  Are children in single sex schools happier
than children in co-educational schools, or some other such question.  Having
decided on a specific question, the next step is to choose the appropriate method.
For the last question, ‘Are school children in single sex schools happier?’,
for example, you could choose to interview students of different kinds of schools.
In the interview you could ask them directly how they felt about their school.
You could then analyse the answers you collect to see if there is any difference
between those who attend different kinds of schools.  As an alternative, you
could try to use a different method – say that of direct observation – to answer
the research question.  This means that you would have to spend time in
co-educational and boys/girls schools, observing how students behave.  You
would have to decide on some criteria by which you could say if students are
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


© NCERT
not to be republished
Indian Society
142
T     his chapter suggests some small practical research projects that you can try
out. There is a big difference between reading about research and actually doing it.
Practical experience of trying to answer a question and collecting evidence
systematically is a very valuable experience.  This experience will hopefully introduce
you to the excitement and also some of the difficulties of sociological research.
Before you read this chapter, please refer once again to Chapter 5 (“Doing Sociology:
Research Methods”) in the Class XI textbook, Introducing Sociology.
The projects suggested here have tried to anticipate the potential problems
of organising this kind of activity for large number of students in different kinds
of schools located in different kinds of contexts.  These are intended just to give
you a feel for research.  A “real” research project would obviously be more
elaborate and involve much more time and effort than is possible in your setting.
These are meant as suggestions; feel free to think up ideas of your own in
consultation with your teachers.
Every research question needs an appropriate or suitable research method.
A given question may be answered with more than one method, but a given
research method is not necessarily appropriate for all questions.  In other words,
for most research questions one has a choice of possible methods but this
choice is usually limited.  One of the first tasks of the researcher – after carefully
specifying the research question – is to select a suitable method.  This selection
must be done not only according to technical criteria (i.e., the degree of
compatibility between question and method), but also practical considerations.
These latter might include the amount of time available to do the research; the
resources available in terms of both people and materials; the circumstances
or situations in which it has to be done, and so on.
For example, let us suppose you are interested in comparing co-educational
schools with ‘boys only’ or ‘girls only’ schools.  This, of course, is a broad topic.
You must first formulate a specific question that you want to answer.  Examples
could be: Do students in co-educational schools do better in studies than
students in boys/girls only schools?  Are boys only schools always better than
co-educational schools in sports?  Are children in single sex schools happier
than children in co-educational schools, or some other such question.  Having
decided on a specific question, the next step is to choose the appropriate method.
For the last question, ‘Are school children in single sex schools happier?’,
for example, you could choose to interview students of different kinds of schools.
In the interview you could ask them directly how they felt about their school.
You could then analyse the answers you collect to see if there is any difference
between those who attend different kinds of schools.  As an alternative, you
could try to use a different method – say that of direct observation – to answer
the research question.  This means that you would have to spend time in
co-educational and boys/girls schools, observing how students behave.  You
would have to decide on some criteria by which you could say if students are
© NCERT
not to be republished
Suggestions for Project Work
143
more or less happy with their school. So, after observing different kinds of schools
for sufficient time, you could hope to answer your question.  A third method you
could use is the survey method.  This would involve preparing a questionnaire
designed to get information on how students felt about their schools.  You would
then distribute the questionnaire to an equal number of students in each kind of
school. You would then collect the filled-in questionnaires and analyse the results.
Here are some examples of some practical difficulties that you might face when
doing research of this kind. Suppose you decide to do a survey. You must first
make enough copies of the questionnaire. This involves time, effort and money.
Next, you may need permission from teachers to distribute the questionnaire to
students in their classrooms.  You may not get permission the first time, or you
may be asked to come back later…..  After you have distributed the questionnaire
you may find that many people have not bothered to return it to you or have not
answered all questions, or other such problems. You then have to decide how to
deal with this – go back to your respondents and ask them to complete the
questionnaires; or ignore the incomplete questionnaires and consider only the
complete ones; consider only the completed answers, and so on. You must be
prepared to deal with such problems during research work.
7.1 VARIETY OF METHODS
You may remember the discussion of research methods in Chapter 5 of the Class
XI textbook, Introducing Sociology.  This may be a good time to revisit this
chapter and refresh your memory.
SURVEY METHOD
A survey usually involves asking a relatively large number of people (such as
30, 100, 2000, and so on; what is considered ‘large’ depends on the context
and the kind of topic) the same fixed set of questions.  The questions may be
asked by an investigator in person where they are read out to the respondent,
and his/her answers are noted down by the investigator.  Or the questionnaire
may be handed over to the respondents who then fill it up themselves and give
it back.  The main advantage of the survey is that it can cover a lot of people, so
that the results are truly representative of the relevant group or population.
The disadvantage is that the questions to be asked are already fixed.  No
on-the-spot adjustments are possible. So, if a question is misunderstood by
the respondents, then wrong or misleading results can be produced.  If a
respondent says something interesting then this cannot be followed up with
further questions on the subject because you have to stick to the questionnaire
format.  Moreover, questionnaires are like a snapshot taken at one particular
moment. The situation may change later or may have been different before, but
the survey wouldn’t capture this.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


© NCERT
not to be republished
Indian Society
142
T     his chapter suggests some small practical research projects that you can try
out. There is a big difference between reading about research and actually doing it.
Practical experience of trying to answer a question and collecting evidence
systematically is a very valuable experience.  This experience will hopefully introduce
you to the excitement and also some of the difficulties of sociological research.
Before you read this chapter, please refer once again to Chapter 5 (“Doing Sociology:
Research Methods”) in the Class XI textbook, Introducing Sociology.
The projects suggested here have tried to anticipate the potential problems
of organising this kind of activity for large number of students in different kinds
of schools located in different kinds of contexts.  These are intended just to give
you a feel for research.  A “real” research project would obviously be more
elaborate and involve much more time and effort than is possible in your setting.
These are meant as suggestions; feel free to think up ideas of your own in
consultation with your teachers.
Every research question needs an appropriate or suitable research method.
A given question may be answered with more than one method, but a given
research method is not necessarily appropriate for all questions.  In other words,
for most research questions one has a choice of possible methods but this
choice is usually limited.  One of the first tasks of the researcher – after carefully
specifying the research question – is to select a suitable method.  This selection
must be done not only according to technical criteria (i.e., the degree of
compatibility between question and method), but also practical considerations.
These latter might include the amount of time available to do the research; the
resources available in terms of both people and materials; the circumstances
or situations in which it has to be done, and so on.
For example, let us suppose you are interested in comparing co-educational
schools with ‘boys only’ or ‘girls only’ schools.  This, of course, is a broad topic.
You must first formulate a specific question that you want to answer.  Examples
could be: Do students in co-educational schools do better in studies than
students in boys/girls only schools?  Are boys only schools always better than
co-educational schools in sports?  Are children in single sex schools happier
than children in co-educational schools, or some other such question.  Having
decided on a specific question, the next step is to choose the appropriate method.
For the last question, ‘Are school children in single sex schools happier?’,
for example, you could choose to interview students of different kinds of schools.
In the interview you could ask them directly how they felt about their school.
You could then analyse the answers you collect to see if there is any difference
between those who attend different kinds of schools.  As an alternative, you
could try to use a different method – say that of direct observation – to answer
the research question.  This means that you would have to spend time in
co-educational and boys/girls schools, observing how students behave.  You
would have to decide on some criteria by which you could say if students are
© NCERT
not to be republished
Suggestions for Project Work
143
more or less happy with their school. So, after observing different kinds of schools
for sufficient time, you could hope to answer your question.  A third method you
could use is the survey method.  This would involve preparing a questionnaire
designed to get information on how students felt about their schools.  You would
then distribute the questionnaire to an equal number of students in each kind of
school. You would then collect the filled-in questionnaires and analyse the results.
Here are some examples of some practical difficulties that you might face when
doing research of this kind. Suppose you decide to do a survey. You must first
make enough copies of the questionnaire. This involves time, effort and money.
Next, you may need permission from teachers to distribute the questionnaire to
students in their classrooms.  You may not get permission the first time, or you
may be asked to come back later…..  After you have distributed the questionnaire
you may find that many people have not bothered to return it to you or have not
answered all questions, or other such problems. You then have to decide how to
deal with this – go back to your respondents and ask them to complete the
questionnaires; or ignore the incomplete questionnaires and consider only the
complete ones; consider only the completed answers, and so on. You must be
prepared to deal with such problems during research work.
7.1 VARIETY OF METHODS
You may remember the discussion of research methods in Chapter 5 of the Class
XI textbook, Introducing Sociology.  This may be a good time to revisit this
chapter and refresh your memory.
SURVEY METHOD
A survey usually involves asking a relatively large number of people (such as
30, 100, 2000, and so on; what is considered ‘large’ depends on the context
and the kind of topic) the same fixed set of questions.  The questions may be
asked by an investigator in person where they are read out to the respondent,
and his/her answers are noted down by the investigator.  Or the questionnaire
may be handed over to the respondents who then fill it up themselves and give
it back.  The main advantage of the survey is that it can cover a lot of people, so
that the results are truly representative of the relevant group or population.
The disadvantage is that the questions to be asked are already fixed.  No
on-the-spot adjustments are possible. So, if a question is misunderstood by
the respondents, then wrong or misleading results can be produced.  If a
respondent says something interesting then this cannot be followed up with
further questions on the subject because you have to stick to the questionnaire
format.  Moreover, questionnaires are like a snapshot taken at one particular
moment. The situation may change later or may have been different before, but
the survey wouldn’t capture this.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Indian Society
144
INTERVIEWS
An interview is different from a survey in that it is always conducted in person
and usually involves much fewer persons (as few as 5, 20, or 40, usually not
much more than that). Interviews may be structured, that is, follow a
pre-determined pattern of questions or unstructured, where only a set of topics
is pre-decided, and the actual questions emerge as part of a conversation.
Interviews may be more or less intensive, in the sense that one may interview a
person for a long time (2-3 hours) or in repeated visits to get a really detailed
version of their story.
Interviews have the advantage of being flexible in that promising topics may
be pursued in greater detail, questions may be refined or modified along the
way, and clarifications may be sought. The disadvantage of the interview method
is that it cannot cover a large number of people and is limited to presenting the
views of a select group of individuals.
OBSERVATION
Observation is a method where the researcher must systematically watch and
record what is happening in whatever context or situation that has been chosen
for the research. This sounds simple but may not always be easy to do in
practice. Careful attention has to be paid to what is happening without
pre-judging what is relevant to the study and what is not.  Sometimes, what is
not happening is as important or interesting as what does actually happen.  For
example, if your research question is about how different classes of people use
specific open spaces, then it is significant that a given class or group of people
(say poor people, or middle class people for example) never enter the space, or
are never seen in it.
COMBINATIONS OF MORE THAN ONE METHOD
You can also try to combine methods to approach the same research question
from different angles.  In fact, this is often highly recommended.  For example,
if you are researching the changing place of mass media sources like newspapers
and television in social life, you could combine a survey with archival methods.
The survey will tell you about what is happening today, while the archival
methods might tell you about what magazines, newspapers or television
programmes were like in the past.
7.2 POSSIBLE THEMES AND SUBJECTS FOR SMALL
RESEARCH PROJECTS
Here are some suggestions about possible research topics; you can always
choose other topics in consultation with your teachers.  Remember that these
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


© NCERT
not to be republished
Indian Society
142
T     his chapter suggests some small practical research projects that you can try
out. There is a big difference between reading about research and actually doing it.
Practical experience of trying to answer a question and collecting evidence
systematically is a very valuable experience.  This experience will hopefully introduce
you to the excitement and also some of the difficulties of sociological research.
Before you read this chapter, please refer once again to Chapter 5 (“Doing Sociology:
Research Methods”) in the Class XI textbook, Introducing Sociology.
The projects suggested here have tried to anticipate the potential problems
of organising this kind of activity for large number of students in different kinds
of schools located in different kinds of contexts.  These are intended just to give
you a feel for research.  A “real” research project would obviously be more
elaborate and involve much more time and effort than is possible in your setting.
These are meant as suggestions; feel free to think up ideas of your own in
consultation with your teachers.
Every research question needs an appropriate or suitable research method.
A given question may be answered with more than one method, but a given
research method is not necessarily appropriate for all questions.  In other words,
for most research questions one has a choice of possible methods but this
choice is usually limited.  One of the first tasks of the researcher – after carefully
specifying the research question – is to select a suitable method.  This selection
must be done not only according to technical criteria (i.e., the degree of
compatibility between question and method), but also practical considerations.
These latter might include the amount of time available to do the research; the
resources available in terms of both people and materials; the circumstances
or situations in which it has to be done, and so on.
For example, let us suppose you are interested in comparing co-educational
schools with ‘boys only’ or ‘girls only’ schools.  This, of course, is a broad topic.
You must first formulate a specific question that you want to answer.  Examples
could be: Do students in co-educational schools do better in studies than
students in boys/girls only schools?  Are boys only schools always better than
co-educational schools in sports?  Are children in single sex schools happier
than children in co-educational schools, or some other such question.  Having
decided on a specific question, the next step is to choose the appropriate method.
For the last question, ‘Are school children in single sex schools happier?’,
for example, you could choose to interview students of different kinds of schools.
In the interview you could ask them directly how they felt about their school.
You could then analyse the answers you collect to see if there is any difference
between those who attend different kinds of schools.  As an alternative, you
could try to use a different method – say that of direct observation – to answer
the research question.  This means that you would have to spend time in
co-educational and boys/girls schools, observing how students behave.  You
would have to decide on some criteria by which you could say if students are
© NCERT
not to be republished
Suggestions for Project Work
143
more or less happy with their school. So, after observing different kinds of schools
for sufficient time, you could hope to answer your question.  A third method you
could use is the survey method.  This would involve preparing a questionnaire
designed to get information on how students felt about their schools.  You would
then distribute the questionnaire to an equal number of students in each kind of
school. You would then collect the filled-in questionnaires and analyse the results.
Here are some examples of some practical difficulties that you might face when
doing research of this kind. Suppose you decide to do a survey. You must first
make enough copies of the questionnaire. This involves time, effort and money.
Next, you may need permission from teachers to distribute the questionnaire to
students in their classrooms.  You may not get permission the first time, or you
may be asked to come back later…..  After you have distributed the questionnaire
you may find that many people have not bothered to return it to you or have not
answered all questions, or other such problems. You then have to decide how to
deal with this – go back to your respondents and ask them to complete the
questionnaires; or ignore the incomplete questionnaires and consider only the
complete ones; consider only the completed answers, and so on. You must be
prepared to deal with such problems during research work.
7.1 VARIETY OF METHODS
You may remember the discussion of research methods in Chapter 5 of the Class
XI textbook, Introducing Sociology.  This may be a good time to revisit this
chapter and refresh your memory.
SURVEY METHOD
A survey usually involves asking a relatively large number of people (such as
30, 100, 2000, and so on; what is considered ‘large’ depends on the context
and the kind of topic) the same fixed set of questions.  The questions may be
asked by an investigator in person where they are read out to the respondent,
and his/her answers are noted down by the investigator.  Or the questionnaire
may be handed over to the respondents who then fill it up themselves and give
it back.  The main advantage of the survey is that it can cover a lot of people, so
that the results are truly representative of the relevant group or population.
The disadvantage is that the questions to be asked are already fixed.  No
on-the-spot adjustments are possible. So, if a question is misunderstood by
the respondents, then wrong or misleading results can be produced.  If a
respondent says something interesting then this cannot be followed up with
further questions on the subject because you have to stick to the questionnaire
format.  Moreover, questionnaires are like a snapshot taken at one particular
moment. The situation may change later or may have been different before, but
the survey wouldn’t capture this.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Indian Society
144
INTERVIEWS
An interview is different from a survey in that it is always conducted in person
and usually involves much fewer persons (as few as 5, 20, or 40, usually not
much more than that). Interviews may be structured, that is, follow a
pre-determined pattern of questions or unstructured, where only a set of topics
is pre-decided, and the actual questions emerge as part of a conversation.
Interviews may be more or less intensive, in the sense that one may interview a
person for a long time (2-3 hours) or in repeated visits to get a really detailed
version of their story.
Interviews have the advantage of being flexible in that promising topics may
be pursued in greater detail, questions may be refined or modified along the
way, and clarifications may be sought. The disadvantage of the interview method
is that it cannot cover a large number of people and is limited to presenting the
views of a select group of individuals.
OBSERVATION
Observation is a method where the researcher must systematically watch and
record what is happening in whatever context or situation that has been chosen
for the research. This sounds simple but may not always be easy to do in
practice. Careful attention has to be paid to what is happening without
pre-judging what is relevant to the study and what is not.  Sometimes, what is
not happening is as important or interesting as what does actually happen.  For
example, if your research question is about how different classes of people use
specific open spaces, then it is significant that a given class or group of people
(say poor people, or middle class people for example) never enter the space, or
are never seen in it.
COMBINATIONS OF MORE THAN ONE METHOD
You can also try to combine methods to approach the same research question
from different angles.  In fact, this is often highly recommended.  For example,
if you are researching the changing place of mass media sources like newspapers
and television in social life, you could combine a survey with archival methods.
The survey will tell you about what is happening today, while the archival
methods might tell you about what magazines, newspapers or television
programmes were like in the past.
7.2 POSSIBLE THEMES AND SUBJECTS FOR SMALL
RESEARCH PROJECTS
Here are some suggestions about possible research topics; you can always
choose other topics in consultation with your teachers.  Remember that these
© NCERT
not to be republished
Suggestions for Project Work
145
are only topics – you need to select specific questions based on these topics.
Remember also that most methods can be used with most of these topics, but
that the specific question chosen must be suitable for the method chosen.  You
can also use combinations of methods.  The topics are in no particular order.
Topics that are not obviously or directly derived from your textbooks have been
emphasised because it will be easier for you and your teachers to think of your
own project related to the texts.
1. PUBLIC TRANSPORT
What part does it play in people’s lives?  Who needs it?  Why do they need it?  To
what degree are different types of people dependent on public transport?  What
sorts of problems and issues are associated with public transport?  How have
forms of public transport been changing over time? Does differential access to
public transport cause social problems?  Are there groups who do not need
public transport?  What is their attitude towards it?  You could also take up the
case of a particular form of transport – say the tonga, or the rickshaw, or the
train – and write about its history in relation to your town or city.  What are the
changes this mode of transport has gone through?  Who have been its main
rivals?  Is the competition with rivals being lost or won?  For what reasons?
What is the likely future of this mode of transport?  Will anyone miss it?
If you live in Delhi, try to find out more about the Delhi Metro.  Could you
write a science-fiction like account of what the Metro would be like fifty years
from now, in, say 2050 or 2060?  (Remember, it is not easy to write good science
fiction!  You must give reasons for the things you imagine; these future things
must be related in some coherent fashion to things/relations/situations that
exist in the present.  So you would have to imagine how public transport will
evolve given present conditions, and what the role of the Metro would be in future
compared to what it is now.)
© NCERT
not to be republished
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