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Awakenings Essay

1405 words - 6 pages

When conducting an experiment, there are a number of ways in which it can be carried out. In the movie Awakenings a variety of research methods are displayed. These are used by sociologists, and the majority of the scientific community. It can be seen in the film that certain conflicts erupt when protocol is not maintained. There is a fine line between being a compassionate researcher and becoming too emotionally involved with a test subject; this film demonstrates the problems that may arise when this barrier is broken and whether or not this is the ethical route to take.
Sociologists often use the scientific method during a period of analysis. The scientific method is a systematic ...view middle of the document...

The difference lies in that quantitative deals with numbers, amounts, and quantities; Qualitative deals more with descriptions or aspects especially with the meanings people give to their social actions. There is also experimental which has the cause and effect phenomena and deals with variables. Survey includes questionnaires and interviews with a large amount of people. Sampling zeroes in on a specific portion of the population. ethnographic is very personal and covers the cultural aspect and the individual meanings within that culture. This could be carried out through an ethnographic interview which involves lots of discussion.
There are four kinds of research design in sociology: Participant interview, case study, triangulation, and content analysis. participant interview is essentially observing and gathering data whilst immersing oneself in the activity of the test subject. Case study entails a very thorough analysis of the person, the people, or the situation. Triangulation is when two or more techniques are used together for more complete data. Content Analysis examines all forms of communication. Examples of this include the television, the media, music, or a letter.
Sociological theories are statements of how and why particular facts about the social world are related. These ideas or concepts are used to make predictions about future events. An example of this would be the functionalist perspective/theory which states that society consists of interdependent parts that all function together to maintain order and stability. Before an experiment is conducted, the individual may have a preconceived idea of what will happen according to each of the different sociological theories. This may help them in their research, however it should not dictate their research. The experiment should be carried out according to the particular research method. Also, certain types of sociological theories apply to distinct types of research methods when analyzing society.
In the film examples of these research methods can be seen from the beginning. The opening of the film shows dr. Sayer entering into the "Garden" , the part of the Bronx mental hospital home to those patients who suffered from encephalitis lethargica in the 1920's. It is named the "Garden" due to the catatonic state of the patients; they primarily cannot move or function and are there only to be fed and cared for.
His "research" begins when he realizes that the patients can react to certain stimuli. A patient drops her glasses and she tries to catch them. So he begins by throwing balls and sure enough they all catch them. The rest of the staff and his superiors are extremely skeptical at first. He tells them that they are borrowing the will of the ball and this seems unrealistic to them.
After spending some time with the patients and performing various tests, he comes to believe that they are not mindless statues but people trapped within their own body. A neurologists answers...

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