Social Science Research- Principles Methods and Practices

Topics: Scientific method, Science, Research Pages: 108 (39827 words) Published: August 28, 2012
University of South Florida (USF)

Scholar Commons
Open Access Textbooks


Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices
Anol Bhattacherjee
University of South Florida,

Recommended Citation
Bhattacherjee, Anol, "Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices" (2012). Open Access Textbooks. Book 3.

This Book is brought to you for free and open access by Scholar Commons. It has been accepted for inclusion in Open Access Textbooks by an authorized administrator of Scholar Commons. For more information, please contact




Anol Bhattacherjee, Ph.D.
University of South Florida Tampa, Florida, USA

Second Edition Copyright © 2012 by Anol Bhattacherjee

Published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices, 2nd edition By Anol Bhattacherjee First published 2012 ISBN-13: 978-1475146127 ISBN-10: 1475146124

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License: Users are free to use, copy, share, distribute, display, and reference this book under the following conditions:  ATTRIBUTION: Whole or partial use of this book should be attributed (referenced or cited) according to standard academic practices.  NON-COMMERCIAL: This book may not be used for commercial purposes.  SHARE ALIKE: Users may alter, transform, or build upon this book, but must distribute the resulting work under the same or similar license as this one. For any reuse or distribution, the license terms of this work must be clearly specified. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above. Copyright © 2012 by Anol Bhattacherjee

This book is designed to introduce doctoral and graduate students to the process of scientific research in the social sciences, business, education, public health, and related disciplines. This book is based on my lecture materials developed over a decade of teaching the doctoral-level class on Research Methods at the University of South Florida. The target audience for this book includes Ph.D. and graduate students, junior researchers, and professors teaching courses on research methods, although senior researchers can also use this book as a handy and compact reference. The first and most important question potential readers should have about this book is how is it different from other text books on the market? Well, there are four key differences. First, unlike other text books, this book is not just about “research methods” (empirical data collection and analysis) but about the entire “research process” from start to end. Research method is only one phase in that research process, and possibly the easiest and most structured one. Most text books cover research methods in depth, but leave out the more challenging, less structured, and probably more important issues such as theorizing and thinking like a researcher, which are often prerequisites of empirical research. In my experience, most doctoral students become fairly competent at research methods during their Ph.D. years, but struggle to generate interesting or useful research questions or build scientific theories. To address this deficit, I have devoted entire chapters to topics such as “Thinking Like a Researcher” and “Theories in Scientific Research”, which are essential skills for a junior researcher. Second, the book is succinct and compact by design. While writing the book, I decided to focus only on essential concepts, and not fill pages with clutter that can divert the students’ attention to less relevant or tangential issues. Most doctoral seminars include a fair complement of readings drawn from the respective...
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