The article is a review of several main theoretical and methodological approaches for studying altruism which are popular in a range of social and behavioral sciences. I discuss some recent researches in the field, both theoretical and empirical, and provide a critical analysis of different methods of studying altruism, such as experiments and behavioral games. The article is structured according to the framework distinguishing kin, reciprocal, and genuine altruism as different concepts and models of explanation, as I emphasize the difficulty of separating methodology from theoretical considerations in this research area. It is also argued, that it would be useful for sociology of morality to incorporate some of the discussed methods in order to create an integrative approach for studying human altruism.
The paper discusses the range of problems, which arise in standardized interviews on time budget evaluations of academics. Authors present some methodological reflections, which were made in course of policy-oriented study on work time budgets of teachers and researchers. The study was conducted in one of the leading universities in Moscow. The analysis is carried out on the material of 21 interviews. As a result some conclusions about the possible sources of errors in the estimates of time spent on various types of workload were made. Three common strategies of recalling that respondents used to retrospectively assess the time spent on a particular task were described. Authors also examined the biases concerning the subjective character of the respondents’ estimates. In conclusion some practical recommendations, which can be taken into account in further studies on work time budgets of academic professional, are presented.
The paper analyzes the method of identifying the worldviews of individuals: its theoretical foundations dating back to the works by M.Douglas (describing four types of cultures – individualistic, hierarchical, egalitarian and fatalistic) and its empirical implementation proposed by S.Rippl. Test-retest reliability of the method and its internal consistency are evaluated with the data from an online-survey. Evaluation of the construct validity of this method is based on the empirical study examining the value of human life. It is shown that a particular type of respondent’s worldview (that is operationalized using a set of normative judgments on various topics – work, family, values, etc.) has a weak effect upon the value that the respondent attributes to the human life. Few cases of the revealed worldview’s influence on judgment (under certain circumstances members of hierarchy evaluate human life higher than individualists and egalitarians are characterized by the highest propensity to save people whose lives are threatened) suggest a low construct validity of the method.
Right-wing authoritarianism is a contemporary conceptualization of the authoritarian personality, which is very popular among scholars of social and political psychology. In the article a place of the right-wing authoritarianism in the history of the authoritarian personality, construct and concurrent validity, as well reliability of the right-wing authoritarianism scale are analyzed on a two Russian student samples (N=191). The scale of right-wing authoritarianism showed high construct validity and reliability. However, it is not possible to draw conclusions on concurrent validity of the scale because of inappropriate reliability of “openness to experience” and PVQ scales.
We analyze the research practices of sociologists in solving ethical dilemmas arising during the ethnographic fieldwork. In ethnographic research, where a close proximity to people under study is a fundamental principle, ethical issues are the most acute. Situations faced by researchers using the ethnographic method, do not often fit into the formal framework of procedural ethics, defined by the corpus of universal rules for conducting research “on people”. Based on expert interviews with Russian sociologists, the paper considers practical ways to overcome ethical dilemmas, as well as research reflection associated with them. It was found that researchers often have to act according to the circumstances, relying on their assessment and perceptions of acceptable behavior. The permissibility of this position is justified by the moral law, which Russian sociologists recommend thinking about before immersion into the field.