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The social survey
This is the method most favoured by positivist sociologists. It normally involves the random selection of a sample which is representative of the population the sociologist is interested in studying. This sample may be sent standardised questionnaires through the post and/or may be asked to take part in structured interviews.
The social survey normally results in the obtaining of large amounts of quantitative data in a relatively short period of time. This is sometimes called the sample survey.