Epistemological, Methodological and Socio-Cultural Constraints to Social Science Research

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The basis of studying of any science or discipline is its methods. Sciences in general and natural science in particular follow the scientific method. The scientific method has added much to their credibility and objectivity. It consists of certain steps or procedures which are to be followed precisely. A glance of these steps or procedures is given below. * Formulation of a problem-something not understood. It may be simple or complex, but this problem is to be defined properly otherwise we may miss the direction and efforts may be wasted, a causal observation and an idea regarding the existing amount of knowledge on that particular issue may help in the definition of the problem. * Formulation of hypothesis. These are primary ideas which may guide us in our study, and are termed hypothesis it is a tentative explanation of a phenomenon. It is not yet proven. * Observation and collection of data: in order to test the formulated hypothesis, we require observation and collection of facts. This data collection is done by interview schedules, questionnaires, field observations etc. the method of collecting data depend upon the nature of research and resources at our disposal-time, money, assistance, etc. * Analysis and synthesis: data must be processed and analyzed in order to draw proper inferences. This requires data classification into different groups; according to similarities or dissimilarities. * Generalization: after data has been collected, processed, and analyzed, we have to draw broad inferences or conclusion. * Formulation of theory and law: a theory is formulated when a scientist has succeeded in describing and explaining the relation between various facts. It becomes a law, when the facts have rigourous test and acceptability as a true theory. Over the years however, social science research, especially in Africa have suffered some constraining factors, which are epistemological, methological, as well as socio-cultural in nature....
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