SOCIOLOGY 131
FIELD RESEARCH PROJECTS Information Sheet

Good Drugs/Bad Drugs



Each field research project will be evaluated/graded according to the following 
criteria: 1) data collection (25%), 2) data analysis (25%), 3) use of supplementary 
materials (25%), and 4) presentation of findings (25%).  Your group will be required 
to fill out a grade sheet (one per group)  which explicitly states what you have 
done for each phase of the project.   


DATA COLLECTION
What is a drug?  How do we define it?  What drugs do we consume?  What are good 
drugs and what are bad drugs?  What determines whether they are good or bad?  Why do 
we consume drugs?  What are the social contexts in which drug use is consumed?  
What social contexts are defined as normative, what contexts are defined as deviant?  
Who controls the definition of these contexts and the consumption of drugs?  Sources 
of information:  pharmacist, drug counselor, law enforcement officials, and various 
consumers of drugs (both ‘good' and ‘bad') which need not be identified by name.  


DATA ANALYSIS, USE OF SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS, AND PRESENTATION OF THE FINDINGS
You will want to read your textbook very closely to understand the different types 
of theories which are used to explain deviance.  There are functionalist explanations 
(Deviance and social bonds; structural strain; opportunity and control theory), conflict 
explanations (deviant subcultures, class dominance, and sturctural contradiction theory), 
and Symbolic Interactionist explanations (labeling and cultural transmission theories).  
It will be necessary for you (or your group) to decide which perspective you will 
approach your field research project from, or if you will use some combination of 
theories and paradigmatic approaches.  Your data collection, analysis, and presentation 
will hinge upon the type of explanation(s) which you choose to explore this theme. 
Please see me if this is unclear.  

Below I have suggested two possible readings to get you started - I would suggest 
however, that when you have decided upon your theoretical orientation, you review 
the primary sources cited in the textbook.

Coleman, James William.  (1994).  The Criminal Elite: The Sociology of White-Collar Crime.  New
	York: St. Martin's Press. 
Becker, Howard.  (19 ).  "On Becoming a Marijuana User."  In Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology
	of Deviance.   New York: The Free Press.





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