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Sociology Research Methods

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During the research process the qualitative research method was used. The topic chosen to research was to choose three of my favorite television shows and analyze how a person in another country would see the show, and to analyze what values the shows reflect. The television shows selected were Sportscenter, Extreme Home Makeover, and The O.C. During the research process I watched the shows every time they were on television. Sportscenter comes on three times a day and is repeated throughout the day. Extreme Home Makeover is on Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. for one hour. I watched the show for a period of 3 weeks for this project and countless times before then. The O.C. is on Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. for one hour. The new season of The O.C. has not started but re-runs have been shown and I have seen most of the episodes from the previous seasons. I plan on showing what cultural values are reflected in these shows and also to show how someone in another country would view our culture through these shows.

Sportscenter airs on ESPN three times a day and is repeated several more times throughout the course of the day. ESPN stands for the Entire Sports Network. The network is completely dedicated to sports and people who love sports. Sportscenter is a show where they show highlights of the day's sports events. During the research process there were four main sports going on that were mainly talked about during the show. Those sports were football, golf, baseball, and racing. The shows host adds in colorful commentary to make the highlights more interesting. The show also has interviews with sports players. According to the textbook the definition of culture is "Culture consists of the values the members of a given group hold, the languages they speak, the symbols they revere, and the norms they follow" (Giddens, 2003, p.55). In the case of Sportscenter the group is sports fans who will watch the show three or four times a day. Amongst friends they will talk about the highlights that were shown and the craziness of the athletes of the previous day. In the case of Americans watching sports is prescriptive norm. A prescriptive norm is something that is acceptable to do or should be done (Chee, 2004). Sportscenter could also be a folkway as people watch it like it is part of their daily routine. People in another country may see America as a sports crazed nation who will miss work, school, and time with loved ones to see a sporting event. In Germany they watch very few sports. They watch soccer, and Formula 1 racing. In America we rarely watch soccer and Formula 1. Some people in America live and die by a certain sports season, and the cultural values of that are shown in Sportscenter.

The next show that I watched was Extreme Home Makeover. In this show ABC accepts nominations fro deserving families who need a home makeover. Many large corporations also contribute to this effort. There are always hundreds of people who take a week off of work to come help a deserving family. The family is sent on a week long vacation during the re-build of their house. In past few shows they have completely demolished the homes and started over. The community plays a huge role in the effort to help the family. Then ABC brings a design team to design the house and oversee the construction of the home. They also bring in a contractor to take care of the technical construction aspects of the job at hand. People from all different backgrounds come together to make this possible. This shows that people value helping others when they are in need. The large corporations like Sears donate all the appliances and electronics and several large furniture retailers donate an unbelievable amount of furniture. The design team tries to save furniture that is of sentimental value to the family. In a recent episode they helped a Mexican family that has nine children and they created a cultural room that reflected the Mexican culture where the family could go and reflect on their heritage and relax. Someone from another country may see this show and be surprised. In other countries that are as rich as this country the people live in apartments instead of houses due to lack of space. In America it is a folkway to live in a house. Though not all Americans live in a house the majority do. This program shows other people in other countries and cultures how much American care about each other and how much they are willing



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