Every science has its own history - its own beginning and own specifics of development. Quantitative methods have dominated in Russian sociology for a long time. These methods sought to collect and analyze statistics and resulted in the rapid development of survey methods which were accompanied by various suitable computer programmes. Huge changes have occurred in the last decade within Russian sociology, including a shift of emphasis towards qualitative methods: unstructured interviews; participant observation; biographical methods; life-histories; etc. Traditional computer methods for data treatment are irrelevant for qualitative methods of data gathering in the social sciences. Therefore the development of adequate models and methods of sociological data treatment is very important at the present time.
From 1996 to 1998 the Scientific Research Centre ‘REGION’ participated in a joint Russian-British research project entitled ‘Images of the West amongst Russian youth’. This research focused upon the actual reception and interpretation of images of the West, and on general portraits of the West, Western countries and Western cultures amongst Russian young people. Besides a standardized survey, the researchers used the following methods of data-gathering: discourse analysis of various media; participant observation; qualitative interviews (both individual and group). The total amount of transcribed texts constituted approximately 3,000 pages.
During the project the problem arose of creating a complex system of data storage and treatment as the data existed, not in the form of statistics, but in the form of text. An adequate method of data treatment was found by using the ACCESS computer package for Windows 95.
The implementation of this package allowed: the full use of the related data base for data treatment and the forming of conclusions; and the integration of data from Einmaleins Excel and other data bases. Standard OLE is able to embed or link, text data, spreadsheet data and video and pictures, from the Windows application into tables.
The language procedure ‘Visual Basic’ has been used for programming in ACCESS, with the addition of object-solutions and elements of SQL. Three main data base files were created for data storage and treatment:
- Respondent - including information about the respondents.
- Interview - including information about the results of the interviews.
- Questions - including information about the answers to questions.
The use of five additional tables allowed the researchers to increase the speed of data entry, decrease the percentage of mistakes, and the volume of main memory. The system of Menus and screen forms made the interface convenient for the user. The search for answers and questions allowed the researchers to obtain all the necessary information in a accessible form. Due to the created system of qualitative data treatment all the material collected during the three years of the research project can be grouped in a convenient form, that allows constant access to this information for further theoretical analysis.
Context depending HELPS and control over the data-entry increased the reliability of the working of this programme. The reference uniqueness and complexity are also supported by the system.
Thanks to the created programme system the changes occurring in contemporary Russian society can be easily understood, described and explained by Russian sociologists.
Khalilov A.I., Agaeva A.A. ON SOCIALLY ORIENTED COMPONENT OF THE MUNICIPAL INFORMATION SYSTEM
We consider an approach to the realization of one of the components of the municipal information system oriented to the servicing the information requirements of the citizens, residing, working or staying within the given municipality. During the design and implementation of such a component many factors are taken into account:
An individual, his way of life, behavior, mentality, well being, interaction with the rest of society is influenced by many factors of environment among which one of the most important is the ability to reliably and timely receive the needed information;
Such information by virtue of its diversity can be acquired from a wide number of sources, many data bases and local (corporate, departmental) information systems;
The necessity to provide concrete information coming from multiple disperced sources envisages that municipal information system is based on up-to-date means of communication and telecommunication;
The information that the citizens need depends considerably on decisions made on different levels of management. The process itself of making a decision, the system of its preparation have to do not only with factual statistical information but also to considerable extent with the knowledge, expert assessment. Thus the information system in question contains as technical components systems of decision making, expert systems, systems of artificial intellect and other means;
Intercommunication between the user (citizen) and the system involves the presence of intelligent interface between the user and the front-end device of the system (which could be called infomate). I.e. socially oriented component stores and accumulates knowledge and manipulates with them on each step of the dialog.
Based on the above an approach is proposed to design and implement the municipal information system including its socially oriented component founded on: