Essay on social research methods

Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials. Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose. Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.

A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information.


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Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources. Azevedo, L. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers , pp.

Structuring Your Research Thesis. Methods Section. Writing Center. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, , pp. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. Department of Biology. Bates College. Statistical Designs and Tests? Do Not Fear Them! Don't avoid using a quantitative approach to analyzing your research problem just because you fear the idea of applying statistical designs and tests. A qualitative approach, such as conducting interviews or content analysis of archival texts, can yield exciting new insights about a research problem, but it should not be undertaken simply because you have a disdain for running a simple regression.

A well designed quantitative research study can often be accomplished in very clear and direct ways, whereas, a similar study of a qualitative nature usually requires considerable time to analyze large volumes of data and a tremendous burden to create new paths for analysis where previously no path associated with your research problem had existed. Knowing the Relationship Between Theories and Methods. There can be multiple meaning associated with the term "theories" and the term "methods" in social sciences research.

Research Methodology: Exploratory, Descriptive and Explanatory

A helpful way to delineate between them is to understand "theories" as representing different ways of characterizing the social world when you research it and "methods" as representing different ways of generating and analyzing data about that social world. Framed in this way, all empirical social sciences research involves theories and methods, whether they are stated explicitly or not.

However, while theories and methods are often related, it is important that, as a researcher, you deliberately separate them in order to avoid your theories playing a disproportionate role in shaping what outcomes your chosen methods produce. Introspectively engage in an ongoing dialectic between the application of theories and methods to help enable you to use the outcomes from your methods to interrogate and develop new theories, or ways of framing conceptually the research problem.

How to Write Research Methodology in Four Steps | With Examples

This is how scholarship grows and branches out into new intellectual territory. Reynolds, R. Ways of Knowing. Alternative Microeconomics. Part 1, Chapter 3. S-Cool Revision. United Kingdom. Methods and the Methodology. Do not confuse the terms "methods" and "methodology. Descriptions of methods usually include defining and stating why you have chosen specific techniques to investigate a research problem, followed by an outline of the procedures you used to systematically select, gather, and process the data [remember to always save the interpretation of data for the discussion section of your paper].

The methodology refers to a discussion of the underlying reasoning why particular methods were used. This discussion includes describing the theoretical concepts that inform the choice of methods to be applied, placing the choice of methods within the more general nature of academic work, and reviewing its relevance to examining the research problem. The methodology section also includes a thorough review of the methods other scholars have used to study the topic. Bryman, Alan.

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Chinese Department, University of Leiden, Netherlands. Contact us. The Methodology Search this Guide Search. The Methodology This guide provides advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The Conclusion Toggle Dropdown Appendices Importance of a Good Methodology Section You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons: Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance in the discussion section of your paper.

Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your analysis of the findings. In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem. The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen a particular procedure or technique. The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study.

For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from. The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study. For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings. The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring. For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings.

In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized. Structure and Writing Style I.

Additional information

Groups of Research Methods There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences: The e mpirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences. This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured.

The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested. This approach is focused on explanation.


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  • The i nterpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way. Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes.

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    Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge. Term Papers words 6 pages Preview. Research Papers words 6. Specialists in crime, deviance, law and social control rarely mention the subject. Even a sociological concept of terrorism is hard to find.

    Strong Essays words 4. Quantitative research is all about quantifying the relationships between variables such as height, weight. It is obtained by such things as questionnaires, official statistics and planned interviews and then from the numerical data we can identify trends and correlations and get an idea of the attitudes of large numbers of people which can be very helpful I will examine theoretical approaches to core issues, classic and emerging fundamental questions in sociological theory.

    For example, what is meant by sociological theory, what is the distinction between sociological and social theory, how theories are constructed, what are the intellectual roots of sociological theories, what are the central components, processes, forces or issues that influe Social research is a collection of methods people use to systematically combine theories and ideas to produce knowledge.

    Because of it's complexity, researchers must be able to carefully select a method or methods that will best suit their study objectives. Quantitative research method consists of: experiment, content analysis, existing statistics correlation , and survey What did Peter Berger mean when he said the sociological perspective is "seeing the general in the particular"?

    Why, in individualistic North America, can the sociological perspective be described as "seeing the strange in the familiar". The meaning to P.

    Due to the views of the the individualistic North American, what is common in their society i. Wright Mills, Social class]. Basic neighborly interaction stems from altruistic behavior. The interaction refers to positive sociological reactions to an individual, or a group, and positive psychological responses towards the outsider, in other words, it's considered to be positive interaction with and kindness towards strangers. Looking at the psychology of a situation while simultaneously considering the sociological implications is important because these two ideas are intertwined and both affect the human psyche This research attempts to understand the sociological aspect of obesity by examining the socio-cultural, gender, and psycho-social effects and includes the different perceptions of the epidemic as well as what is deemed acceptable in the society we live in.

    In the American culture, obesity is seen as a bodily abnormality and deviance that should be corrected Research Papers words Discrimination is treatment or consideration of making distinction in favor of or against, a person, group or class. When gender is a part of discrimination it deals with the male or female humans not being good enough for something. Cultural Norms are society's propensity towards certain ideals; their aversion from others; and their standard, ritualistic practices. Essentially the 'norm' is a summation of typical activities and beliefs of group of people.

    There are various Sociological deviance theories, including Structuralist: why do some people break the rules Research Papers words 8. It is often referred to as a naturalistic approach.