This is the first thing you have to do when you decided to conduct a sociological research.
You should consider the following factors:
- Who is funding your research? The source of funding is very important. Charitable foundations (for example, Joseph Rowntree Foundation) will favour researches of lone-parent families or healthcare. Government organisations (Economic and Social Research Council) will support researches on political and economic views and on living conditions researches. Industries will fund market researches etc.
- Availability of the data on chosen topic, FBI is difficult to interview lol.
- Theoretical issues - Marxists will concentrate on the class, Feminists - on women etc.
- Researcher's values - what he thinks is important to study.
- Society's values - researcher might aim to change so stereotype views and therefore change society's views and values. Ann Oakley made the society to pay more attention to women's rights and equality with men, for instance.