What Is the Value of Research Produced in the Social Sciences?

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What is the value of research produced in the social science? Knowledge, produced through research investigation, is generally valued more highly than common sense or an opinion based understanding of the world. Humans are naturally inquisitive, with an instinctive urge to obtain new information and motivated by a need to discover more about society and the world they live in. However without a systematic methodology, these ideas and ways of thinking, tend to be based on a persons own experiences and views of

society furthermore these views are likely to be narrow and based on prejudice. An example of this could be racial prejudice, where some people, hold misconstrued and negative opinions of ethnic minorities. Even if there had not been a personal interaction between these two groups. These beliefs would be based on anecdotal evidence. (Langley,1988) One approach, sees research as a way of thinking. In this approach, research is about asking critical questions, thinking about and examining evidence and using this to understand social phenomena, issues or problems more clearly. (Kumar,1996, cited in Walsh,2002, p 2) Another approach see society and their environment as being so complexed that it would be difficult to comprehend and predict behaviour. (Max weber,1864-1920) Therefore all of these approaches above, indicate that a solid and more systematic research method, to construct an objective and unbiased research paradigm, would be important when attempting to study human behaviour and social life. As Patrick Mcneill (1990) once said “if a method of collecting evidence is reliable, it means that anybody else using this method, or same person using it at another time, would come up with the same findings.” as a result using research methods places more confidence in findings if methods were shown to reliable. (Mcneill,1990, cited in Walsh,2002, p 15) In the early years of social research the common sense and intuition, Logic, faith, speculation and...
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