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What is Social Science Research

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The final step that researchers must follow is to evaluate their conclusions. In other words, how do these findings increase our understanding of human behavior? Sometimes, the final step of evaluation leads to future research. For example, if our texting and driving research indicated a gender difference in texting behavior, we might want to conduct additional research to determine why one sex is more likely to text and drive than the other.

Social science research allows us to understand the whys and hows of human behavior. The research must follow the five steps of the scientific method which include asking a question, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, drawing a conclusion, and evaluating those conclusions. The fields of psychology, sociology, political science and anthropology rely upon social science research to understand and make predictions about human behavior.

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What Is Social Science Research? This lesson defines social science research, explains the methods used and the topics studied within the field. Try it risk-free for 30 days. An error occurred trying to load this video. Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support. You must create an account to continue watching. Register to view this lesson Are you a student or a teacher? I am a student I am a teacher.

What teachers are saying about Study. Conducting Research on People: Are you still watching? Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds. Add to Add to Add to. Want to watch this again later? Social Science is Born: History, Anthropology, Sociology and Archaeology. What is Sociological Research? Definition, Process and Theory. Selecting a Problem to Research. What is Social Welfare? What is Historical Research? The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: What is a Hypothesis?

What is a Tribe? What is the Scientific Method? What is Quantitative Research in Sociology? Positive Psychology Study Guide. History and Systems of Psychology. Research Methods in Psychology: UExcel Research Methods in Psychology: Dana Dance-Schissel Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level.

Social science research investigates human behavior. What is Social Science Research Have you ever wondered why people behave in certain ways?

Methods Social science researchers follow the five steps of the scientific method to conduct their research. Step 1 The scientific method begins with a question or curiosity. Step 2 After a research question is determined, social science researchers must form a hypothesis. Step 3 The third step that social science researchers take is to test the hypothesis through empirical research.

Step 4 The fourth step followed by social science researchers is to draw conclusions based on their data. Try it risk-free No obligation, cancel anytime. Want to learn more? Select a subject to preview related courses: Topics Social science research is utilized in many fields. Some of these include the following: 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.

For example, in a study of how different dosages of a drug are related to the severity of symptoms of a disease, a measure of the severity of the symptoms of the disease is a dependent variable and the administration of the drug in specified doses is the independent variable. Researchers will compare the different values of the dependent variable severity of the symptoms and attempt to draw conclusions. When social scientists speak of "good research" the guidelines refer to how the science is mentioned and understood.

It does not refer to how what the results are but how they are figured. Glenn Firebaugh summarizes the principles for good research in his book Seven Rules for Social Research. The first rule is that "There should be the possibility of surprise in social research. In addition, good research will "look for differences that make a difference" Rule 2 and "build in reality checks" Rule 3.

Rule 4 advises researchers to replicate, that is, "to see if identical analyses yield similar results for different samples of people" p. The next two rules urge researchers to "compare like with like" Rule 5 and to "study change" Rule 6 ; these two rules are especially important when researchers want to estimate the effect of one variable on another e. The final rule, "Let method be the servant, not the master," reminds researchers that methods are the means, not the end, of social research; it is critical from the outset to fit the research design to the research issue, rather than the other way around.

Explanations in social theories can be idiographic or nomothetic. An idiographic approach to an explanation is one where the scientists seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or event, i. Nomothetic explanations tend to be more general with scientists trying to identify a few causal factors that impact a wide class of conditions or events. For example, when dealing with the problem of how people choose a job, idiographic explanation would be to list all possible reasons why a given person or group chooses a given job, while nomothetic explanation would try to find factors that determine why job applicants in general choose a given job.

Research in science and in social science is a long, slow and difficult process that sometimes produces false results because of methodological weaknesses and in rare cases because of fraud, so that reliance on any one study is inadvisable. The ethics of social research are shared with those of medical research.

In the United States, these are formalized by the Belmont report as:. The principle of respect for persons holds that a individuals should be respected as autonomous agents capable of making their own decisions, and that b subjects with diminished autonomy deserve special considerations.

The principle of beneficence holds that a the subjects of research should be protected from harm, and, b the research should bring tangible benefits to society. By this definition, research with no scientific merit is automatically considered unethical.

The principle of justice states the benefits of research should be distributed fairly. The definition of fairness used is case-dependent, varying between " 1 to each person an equal share, 2 to each person according to individual need, 3 to each person according to individual effort, 4 to each person according to societal contribution, and 5 to each person according to merit.

The origin of the survey can be traced back at least early as the Domesday Book in , [6] [7] while some scholars pinpoint the origin of demography to with the publication of John Graunt 's Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality. While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality.

What has been called our positivism is but a consequence of this rationalism. Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide , a case study of suicide rates among Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy.

The researcher has to install safeguards against factors which might operate to make the judgment of the coders unreliable. With coding, the data are ready for tabulation. Tabulation is a part of the technical procedure involved in the statistical analysis of data. The essential operation involved in tabulation is counting to determine the frequencies or numerical strength of different categories of data. As was just indicated tabulation is just one part of the statistical analysis of data. Further statistical computations are needed in a study of any complexity.

The researcher may need to work out central tendencies, deviations, correlations etc. He may also be required to utilize methods of sampling statistics to safeguard against drawing unjustified inferences. With this, the stage is now set for restating the initially-stated hypotheses if any were stated explicitly against the generalizations or conclusions drawn on the basis of data with a view to testing their accord with these.

Here retention or discarding of the hypotheses in if any, are formulated is bound to take place. In case an hypothesis fits the findings, the theory or perspective which suggested the hypothesis would be proved. If the hypothesis is disproved, the blow of disproof will pass on to theory which originated the hypothesis. In some cases, sometimes the blow may not be so severe and the theory may still survive with modification prompted by the research findings.

If the researcher had no hypothesis to start with, the generalizations established on the basis of data may be stated as hypotheses to be tested by subsequent researches.

If the researcher had not proposed any hypothesis to start with, he might seek to explain his findings on the basis of some theory. This whole operation is geared to the search for broader meanings of given research findings through seeing linkages between the findings and some existing theory or established knowledge.

This is termed as interpretation. The process of interpretation quite often triggers off new questions, prompting in turn further researches. Although research is a continuous process, as limited to specific problem or issue the researcher has by now nearly reached the end of his journey. But he has an important scientific obligation to fulfill, i.

The research exercise is not really complete till such time as the researcher has faithfully reported it. Science is public institution and in the interest of its growth on the right lines, every scientist is duty-bound except in certain situations to make his findings as also the method by which he arrived at these, known to the public.

Reporting the research, to be sure, requires an order of skills somewhat different from those needed in the earlier phases of research. The chief purpose of a report is communication with an audience. It is expected that the research report will enlighten the readers on the following aspects: The social research often necessitates the services of any persons or categories of person; each person or category of persons is specially trained and skilled in a particular aspect of the research process.

For example, a large- scale research programme involves various categories of persons such as investigators, samplers, coders, etc. He is, so to say, the brain behind the project and articulates the specialized operations to get to the solution of the problem.

We have, in describing the major steps, opted for a model of inquiry in which the researcher scientist alone has to perform all those operations but the research process detailed above is equally applicable to inquiries in which many specialized categories of persons are involved as collaborators.

Quite a few fruitful analyses of the process of inquiry have been made and as a result, our understanding of inquiry is now expanded. Those analysing an inquiry from the point of view of science have generally conceived as problem solving process. Social scientists looking at the process of inquiry as a complex of interactions between individuals and environment have come to view it as a communicative process.

Ackoff has offered a model representing the process of inquiry which illustrates both its problem solving and communicative phases. We will do well to remember that these four communicants need not be four distinct individuals, rather they refer to four communicative roles. All four roles may be performed by a single person.

Regardless of the number of people involved, one or hundreds, these roles are present in every inquiry. The communicative operations involving these four roles may be depicted in a diagrammatic form as under: This formulation of the communication aspects of inquiry also serves a very useful purpose in pointing out the potential sources of research error.

It is clear that each of these roles may be a possible source of error. The diagrammatic representation makes it quite clear that the problem solving phases of inquiry are: It is not difficult to see that the communication and the problem solving aspects of research exhibit the very same pattern that was presented in the preceding pages.

This means that new knowledge like the new-born baby, holds great potential of worth and maturity. Also like the new-born child, it gives us pleasure. It gives us satisfaction of knowing the unknown.

This points to a value that the scientist is committed to, i. The obvious function of research is to add new knowledge to its existing store, but its power of cleansing our minds of cliches and removing the rubbish of inapplicable theory are equally notable.

Scientific research is a cumulative process. It is also a rejective process, especially in social sciences … understanding can be advanced not only by gains in knowledge but also by discarding outworn assumptions.

A social researcher is interested in the discovery and interpretation of social processes, patterns of behaviour, similarities and dissimilarities that apply to typical social phenomena and social systems, generally. That is the social researcher is concerned with types and classes of social situation, persons or groups of which the unit he is studying at the time, is a specimen or an instance.

His facts are selected and related according to their intrinsic nature and the susceptibility to organization into a logical system. The social scientist assumes that all knowledge is potentially useful in the end. It must be remembered, however that science and society have a two way relationship. There is a give and take between science and social conditions.

Science helps to create social conditions; social conditions recharge the accumulators of science. In concrete developmental parlance the major possibilities of utilizing social science research may be identified as under: The observed and hidden dimensions of the problem thrown up by such studying may be expected to proffer certain measure of foresight to planners to deal with the problem effectively.

These researches conceivably, may help the planner to anticipate the consequences and cost of alternative strategies which may be pressed into operation for achieving the settled goals. Hence the policy planners may stand forewarned about these.

This would prepare people for accepting a particular policy and for exerting popular pressure for reformulation of amending current policies, or rejecting of modifying them.

Let us now consider the utility of social research, especially, for a developing country like ours. In a general way, some of the direct practical benefits and theoretic implications of social research may be listed as follows: Adequate social planning depends for its success on a systematic knowledge above the social resources and liabilities, of the people and their culture; of their similarities and differences, of organizations and operative controls, of their needs, hopes, aspirations and problems.

Any effort at social planning is bound to fail of it is based on fictitious assumptions of planners in relation to what the consumers of planning need, what their problems are, what they want remedied, and what kind of system they want as an emergent product of planning.

Social planning, or for that matter any planning, requires a store of reliable, factual knowledge on the basis of which a blue-print may be designed and the difficulties in its implementation anticipated and guarded against.

Nor is it all; such a foundation of scientifically gathered knowledge affords a basis for evaluation the net gains of planning for the social system in question. Social research is of immense help in securing such knowledge. It happens so often, that the overly zealous practical men with a programmatic orientation consider social research an unnecessary expense only to realize subsequently that the factual data would have helped them avoid the vast wasteful expenditure of money; time and energy occasioned by the failure of their designs on the place of practice.

Social research is generally worth much more than the costs incurred over it. Thus, social research may be visualized as having practical implications for formal and informal types of leadership, patterns on influence and reform in different spheres of society.

It dispels the thrust of outworn assumptions, superstitions and stereotypes. Social research thus, may be expected at-least to afford a more solid basis for people to hold whatever opinions they do.

Some authors have claimed that social researches may have the effect of promoting better understanding and social cohesion, since it brings to light the underlying oneness in the midst of a bewildering variety or diversity of human societies. But this is claiming too much for one side and ignoring the other possibility; social research may also unravel diversity in the midst of apparent unity.

Social researchers analyse the problem basis for effective remedial measure. They hit where they must. It is no accident that a large portion of legislation and reformative measures own its origin to reports of social surveys. Thus research affords a considerably sound basis for prediction. These have the effect of setting our efforts at social planning and control on a sounder footing. The success of planning for social development depends to a great extent on our intimate knowledge of our own society as also of other societies.

Thus, social research has the effect of initiating and guiding social growth on proper lines and towards the cherished goals. The social researcher, in so far as he has to work in reference to different spatial-temporal contexts, each challenging his attack, is constantly faced with the need to improve upon his tools or if need be, to fashion new tools to match his skills with the task prompted by the exigencies of the situation.

Samuel Stouffer and his associates working on the adjustment problem in the context of racial prejudice to cite only one instance out of the many had to effect modifications in the prevailing techniques of research and when occasion demanded, to invent new ones to take the best out of the situation.


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Meaning of Social Research Social Research is a composite of two words “re means again” and search which means to find or to dig or to discover. So the whole word means a process of finding or digging again & again.

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Social research Meaning and definition Society is an organized group of persons associated together with shared objective, norms and values pertain to the society. People have social life and social process. to efficiently carry out research on any social .

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Social science research allows us to understand the whys and hows of human behavior. The research must follow the five steps of the scientific method which include asking a question, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, drawing a conclusion, and evaluating those conclusions. Definition of Social Research: The term ‘social research’ has been defined by different scholars differently. The few definitions are as follows: Prof. C.A. Moser defined it as “systematized investigation to give new knowledge about social phenomena and surveys, we call social research”.

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‘Social Research’ would refer to a large class of researches while sociological research may be considered a sub-class within it. In practice, i.e., during the conduct of a study, it hardly makes much difference how one labels the study. Social research Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases to create valid and reliable general claims. Related to quantity.