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Notes

Thursday, September 27, 2018 6:58 AM

Social science research methods not only help to further the cause but also affect society eg election
polls
Social science does not always produce the clear cut results that physical science research does so it is
not often as well funded eg space programs spending vs social programs spending in the US. However
even physical science research can suffer from serious failures e.g explosion of the challenger spaceship.
That incident showed that societal problems are never purely a scientific endeavour. They are
interdependent.

Experimental methods lean more towards establishing causality while survey researchers look more for
correlations. Some research methods depend on documentary analysis of text sources.
Ethnomethodologists focus on specific cases rather than try to make generalizations.

Stages

Choose the research problem


State the hypothesis
Gather the data
Code and analyse data
Interpret the results

We accept each result tentatively knowing that further research can disprove our findings

Research design always to control for extraneous factors that could affect the results

Finding a research question


1. What is the problem or the unsatisfactory situation one wishes to rectify
2. What specific question about the problem situation do we wish to know more about
3. What is the explicit purpose of the investigation
4. What tentative thoughts do you have about the nature of the situation that you can either
confirm or deny through your work

5.

6. Find a question that matches your interest as well as the resources and constraints of the situation
7. LOGIC, ACCIDENT and PRACTICALITY are the sources of research questions

Social Science Research Page 1


In reviewing literature

Knowing what you need to know is important but how much you need to know is something that only
an experienced advisor can help you with as a novice.

Not every literature search needs to be exhaustive. This can have detrimental results.

Retrieval rules
1. Talk first with your advisor before you begin information retrieval. Make a list of recommended
reading per their advise.
2. Don’t do retrieval first on your own. Talk first to the reference specialists to point you in the right
direction. It is more about knowing where to look than in actually looking
3. Identify, confirm, skim, retrieve and then review
4. Keep a log of names or words that tell you what you should be looking for
5. Take advantage of research reviews that already exist
6. Record all citations
7. IN the literature review, explain the following

A lot of stuff will not be relevant. Let them go. It is part of the learning process and not wasted time.

Things that arent theory


Data
Hypotheses

Social Science Research Page 2


Hypotheses
Diagrams
Lists of variables

Social Science Research Page 3