What's the Difference between Sociology Experiments and Documentary Research?

Scientists form hypotheses, which are untested predictions or ideas. To prove or refute a hypothesis, scientists must conduct an experiment. Experiments are controlled tests that are specifically designed to prove or refute hypotheses. Before conducting an experiment, the researcher must try to identify everything that might affect the results of the experiment and do his best to neutralize the effects of everything except the research topic.

This is done through the introduction of experimental controls: two nearly identical experiments are carried out, only one of the factors being tested varies. This serves to further isolate any causal phenomenon. An experiment is a controlled test specifically designed to prove or refute a hypothesis.
Of course, trial is not an absolute requirement. In the field of observation-based science, the actual experiments must be designed differently than the classical laboratory-based sciences. Because ethical issues and costs merely manipulate large segments of society, sociologists often turn to other methods for testing hypotheses.

Because sociologists do not try to isolate variables in the same way that hard science does, this type of control is often done through statistical techniques, such as regression, applied after the data is collected. Direct experiments are quite rare in sociology.

Scientists must assume an attitude of openness and accountability on the part of those who conduct experiments. It is important to keep detailed records in order to facilitate reporting of experimental results and provide evidence of the effectiveness and integrity of the procedure.

Documentary Research

It is possible to carry out sociological research without directly involving humans at all. One such method is documentary research. In documentary research, all information is collected from texts and documents. Texts and documents can be in the form of text, images, or visuals in form.
Government documentary research, sociologists can use government documents to research the ways in which policies are made.

The material used can be categorized as primary sources, i.e. original materials that are not made after the fact with benefits from the back, and secondary sources that cite, comment on, or make up on primary sources.

Media Study and Content Analysis

Usually, sociological research on documents falls under the scope of interdisciplinary study of media, which includes all research related to television, books, magazines, pamphlets, or other recorded human data. Apart from the particular media being studied, they are referred to as texts. Media studies can draw traditions from both the social sciences and humanities, but most of these are core disciplines of mass communication, communication, communication science, and communication studies.

Researchers can also develop and apply theories and methods from scientific disciplines including cultural studies, rhetoric, philosophy, literary theory, psychology, political economy, economics, sociology, anthropology, social theory, art history and criticism, film theory, feminist theory, theory information, and political science.

Content analysis refers to studies that have recorded human communication, such as paintings, written texts, and photographs. This falls under the category of disturbing research, which can be defined as a way to study human behavior without influencing in the process. While sociological research involving documents is one of the less interactive research options available to sociologists, it can reveal much about the norms, values, and beliefs of people belonging to certain temporal and cultural contexts.