Relationship between social research strategies and methods

relationship between social research strategies and methods

In exploring issues of qualitative and quantitative research, this material builds as a research technique might be seen as a quantitative strategy, whereas The second sort tends to use correlation, regression, and factor-analytic techniques. Social research is a research conducted by social scientists following a systematic plan. Social research methodologies can be classified as quantitative and Thus, there is often a more complex relationship between "qualitative" and or triangulate, quantitative and qualitative methods as part of a multi-strategy design. The true relationship between the two variables will reappear when the For example, 5 2 METHODS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH Alternate Strategies for.

It should be possible to predict these things. After all, no human intervention, interpretation, or subjectivity is involved, only measurable physical qualities like temperature, wind direction and velocity, moisture, and so on. But the hard science of meteorology cannot offer this precision; it simply cannot predict specific events.

Nor can meteorology predict which day, or even which year, a hurricane will again sweep across Mexico. Even when there is a hurricane in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, it's very difficult to tell which, if any, city it will hurt.

In a similar manner, no social scientists could predict, say inthat communism would fall in Eastern Europe in For many years, some social scientists claimed that communism was likely to fall in the near future. Social science is not impotent, but appears so because of the specificity of the predictions we desire.

It would certainly be impressive to be able to predict the timing of events but it is outside the scope of any science to offer this degree of specificity. At best, social researchers can make broad projections of possibilities using their knowledge of general patterns.

Interpreting Culturally or Historically Significant Phenomena Knowledge of general patterns is not the only kind of valuable knowledge, however, especially when it comes to understanding social life. In the social sciences, knowledge of specific situations and events, even if they are atypical is also highly valued.

Social research - Wikipedia

The significance of most historical phenomena derives from their atypically, the fact that he are dramatically non-routine, and form their impact on who we are today. For example, many social researchers address important historical events like the French Revolution. We care about these events and their interpretation because of the relevance of these events for understanding our current situation - how we got to where we are.

We are fascinated by the Israeli State-formation not because we expect it to be repeated, but because of its powerful impact on current political structures and behavior. Other phenomena are studied because of their cultural relevance. The bits and pieces of African cultures that slaves brought with them, for example, have had a powerful impact on the course and development of American culture.

Likewise, the culture of Russian immigrants is expected to influence Israeli political culture. We study these significant phenomena not because they represent data for generalization but for their atypically on the one hand and their significant impact on the other.

Exploring Diversity Another major goal of social research is to explore and comprehend the social diversity that surrounds us. While this goal may seem similar to the goal of identifying general patterns, and does complement it in some respects, it is quite different. For example, one general pattern is that education and economic development tend to go together; countries with better schools and higher literacy rates tend to be richer.

However, the fact that a general pattern exists doesn't mean that there aren't important and interesting exceptions. Some poor countries have well-developed educational systems and very high literacy rates and some rich countries have poorly developed schools and surprisingly low levels of literacy.

Exploring diversity often means that the researchers ignores dominant patterns and focuses on the variety of circumstances that exist. How is living in a poor country with a high level of literacy different from living in other poor country.

relationship between social research strategies and methods

What happened when a low level of educational development or literacy is combined with wealth?. In short, the study of diversity avoids an exclusive focus on what is most common or on dominant patterns.

More generally, exploring diversity furthers an understanding and appreciation of socio-diversity, a concept that parallels the ecological notion of biodiversity.

People are less concerned about sociodiversity then about biodiversity protecting endangered species. Often, much diversity is simply unacknowledged or ignored. Sometimes assumptions are made about sameness for example, that people living in inner-city ghettoes think or act in certain ways that turn out to be false when the diversity within a social category is examined closely. Sometimes social researchers start out not knowing if studying a new case or situation will offer useful knowledge of diversity.

They study it in order to make this assessment. For example, some immigrant groups are very successful. It is important to find out how and why they are successful in order to determine if this knowledge is relevant to other groups. It may be that their success is due to circumstances that cannot be duplicated elsewhere. But there is no way to know this without studying he specific causes of their success.

Giving Voice Sometimes the goal of exploring diversity is taken one step further, and the researcher studies a group not simply to learn more about it, but also to contribute to its having an expressed voice in society. In research of this type, the objective is not only to increase the stock of knowledge about different types, forms, and processes of social life, but to tell the story of a specific groups, usually in a way that enhances its visibility in society.

Very often the groups studies in this way are marginal groups, outside the social mainstream. This approach to social research asserts that every group in society has a "story to tell". In this case social theories may help the researcher to identify groups without choice and may help explain why these groups lack voice, but theory is not considered a source of hypotheses to be tested.

When the goal of a project is to give voice to research subjects it is important for the researcher to try to see their world through their eyes to understand their social worlds as they do.

To achieve this understanding, researchers must gain access to the everyday world of the group. It might be necessary, for example, to live with the members of a marginalized group for extended periods of time and gradually win their confidence. Some social researchers consider research that seeks to give voice advocacy research and therefore doubt its objectivity.

How can research that seeks to enhance the visibility of a marginal group be conduced in a neutral way?. Isn't it inevitable that researchers will favor the positive aspects of marginal group?. One answer is that the researchers must be vigilant in their efforts to represent their groups appropriately.

Another answer is that even the study of general social conditions that favor stable democracy across many countries enhances the importance and visibility of stable democracy as desirable condition. The problem of objectivity is not the problem of 'giving voice' approach only but is general problem of the social sciences.

Advancing New Theories Many different kinds of social research advance theory, even research that seeks to interpret historical or cultural significance.

The testing of theories goal 2 also advances theory in the limited sense that these tests indicate which theoretical ideas have more support as explanations of social life. The goal of advancing theory as it used here, however, involves more than assessing and refining existing ideas. When theory is advanced, ideas are elaborated in some new way. To advance theory it is not necessary to come up with a complete model of society or even some part of it.

The development of new ideas and new concepts is the most that research seeking to advance theory usually accomplishes. Theory testing goal 2 is primarily deductive. Hypotheses about social life are derived from theories and then tested with relevant data. The researcher then draws the implications of the results of these tests for theory. By contrast, research that advances theory, is usually described as having an inductive quality.

On the basis of new evidence, the researcher develops a new theoretical concept or new relationship or advances understanding of existing ones. While the deduction-versus-induction distinction is a simple and appealing way to differentiate kinds of social research, most research includes elements of both.

For this reason some philosophers of science argue that all research involves retroduction - the interplay of induction and deduction. It is impossible to do research without some initial ideas, even if the goal is to give voice to research subjects. Thus, almost all research has at least an element of deduction.

The Goals of Social Research

Similarly, almost all research can be used to advance theory in some way. After all, social theories are vague and imprecise. Every test of a theory refines it, whether or not the test is supportive. Research involves retroduction because there is typically a dialogue of ideas and evidence in social research.

3.4 How To Choose A Research Strategy

The Link Between Goals and Strategies It is clear that no researcher can tackle all seven goals at once, at least not in the same study. A classic view of science says that it is a violation of the scientific method to try to advance theory goal 7 and test theory goal 2 in the same study.

Data used to generate a new theory should not also be used to test it. The process of collecting information from a sample is referred to as sampling. Sampling is quicker and cheaper than a complete census of a population. Methodological assumptions[ edit ] Social research is based on logic and empirical observations.

Ragin writes in his Constructing Social Research book that "Social research involved the interaction between ideas and evidence. Ideas help social researchers make sense of evidence, and researchers use evidence to extend, revise and test ideas. It should never lead or be mistaken with philosophy or belief.

Social research aims to find social patterns of regularity in social life and usually deals with social groups aggregates of individualsnot individuals themselves although science of psychology is an exception here. Research can also be divided into pure research and applied research. Pure research has no application on real life, whereas applied research attempts to influence the real world.

Social research

There are no laws in social science that parallel the laws in natural science. A law in social science is a universal generalization about a class of facts.

relationship between social research strategies and methods

A fact is an observed phenomenonand observation means it has been seen, heard or otherwise experienced by researcher. A theory is a systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of social life. Concepts are the basic building blocks of theory and are abstract elements representing classes of phenomena.

Axioms or postulates are basic assertions assumed to be true. Propositions are conclusions drawn about the relationships among concepts, based on analysis of axioms.

Hypotheses are specified expectations about empirical reality derived from propositions. Social research involves testing these hypotheses to see if they are true. Social research involves creating a theory, operationalization measurement of variables and observation actual collection of data to test hypothesized relationship.

Social theories are written in the language of variables, in other words, theories describe logical relationships between variables.

Variables are logical sets of attributes, with people being the "carriers" of those variables for example, gender can be a variable with two attributes: Variables are also divided into independent variables data that influences the dependent variables which scientists are trying to explain.