Research Methods (Ds 120) Notes

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DS120 11/13

Readings:
Social Research by Sotirios Sarantakos
“Research Methods: Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods” by Babbi, Earl

Intro to Social Research

Social Research
-Systematic study of social phenomena using social sci methods, theories, and concepts *Social phenomena = People and society
-Goal is to go beyond common sense understandings of social processes and social problems

Why conduct social research?
-To understand par. phenomena
-To provide solutions grounded on research & empirical data, not common sense

Types of social research

Basic
-Knowledge of the social world and human social behavior

Applied/ Politicy-Oriented
-Address social issues/ problems
-Provide basis or information for policies and programs

Exploratory
-For gen ideas & development theories & hypotheses
-For formulating questions & categories and refining issues -Used when there is little research done on an issue or when there is a need to further study a particular area -Usually qualitative research

Descriptive
-Profile of generalizations
-Description of location, processes, and relationships
-Used to provide background info or context
-A lot are statistical
-Can be exploratory or quantitative

Analytical
-Establish relationships bet variables
-Why things occur & why relationships are so
-Empirically explain social phenomenon/problems and factors that influence it -Used in theory-testing and theory-building
(Thesis & academic research, NGOs, multi-lateral organizations)

Evaluation
-Data collected is used to determine the effects of policies and programs on recipients and other individuals, or examine proposed changes in processes NGOs and gov offices
-Used in applied research to evaluate or monitor policies, initiatives, programs -To suggest/ provide recommendations -- not in thesis

Theory in social research
Set of statements that seek to explain problems, actions, or behavior

Related Literature
-most important in academic research
-from a specific topic -- abstract it to a higer/ broader level

How to build theory in research:
Reasoning can be:
Inductive: Concept apply it to nuances: builds specific observations into general theory Deductive: transforms general into specific hypotheses suitable for scientific testing

Methdological Approaches

Positivist (Structural-Functional paradigm)

What is reality?
-Society is an orderly system; reality is ''out there''

How do we conduct research?
-Gather empirical data-ideally; quantitavtive researcher tries to be objective

Interpretative (Symbolic Interactionist paradigm)

What is reality?
-Society is ongoing interaction; reality is socially constructed meanings

How do we conduct research?
-Develop a qualitavtive account of the subjective sense people make of their world; researcher is a participant

Critical (Social Conflict paradigm)

What is reality?
-society is patterned inequality; reality is that some dominate others

How do we conduct research?
-Research is a strategy to bring about desired change; researcher is an activist

Positions:
Ontological
Epistemological

Methodology
Research Design:
Ontological & Epistemological Considerations
Qualitative - understand meanings & Quantitative
Methodology - no 1 definition; not methods;
''I’m going to do a quantitative/qualitative methodology using the ff method/s.''

Units of Analysis
Who are u going to study?
Individuals
Social Artifacts - media, ads, tv shows, mags, books; Ex. content analysis approach Organizations - ex. ISO as an organization; ex. Case-study approach Groups
Behavior - ex. Wedding

Objectivity
Weber's ''value-free sociology''
Researcher as instrument - leading questions
Characteristics of research - e.g. Gender, ethno-religious biases Complexity of human behavior
Change - how can you ensure you dont change the community or minimize change?

Ethics
Confidentiality...
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