What is social science research and how it is useful?

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH

Any kind of research into issues catered by social scientists can be referred to as social research. With increasing human footprint, larger needs for resources and more complex demographics pattern arising, it is important to recognize patterns for governments and people and this is where such social research comes into play. This is an essay listing its significance, methodology and impacts. Social Research can broadly be classified into two categories:

  • Qualitative: Such research emphasizes on direct verbal communication, analysis of texts and contextual semantics over generalizations and predictions.
  • Quantitative: Such research uses analysis tools from mathematics and statistics to analyze data sets and arrive at conclusions with required generalizations, predictions and correlation.

The breadth of information covered and scope is gargantuan for social research. From ancient historical texts to modern human communication patterns and from large-scale demographics to small scale personal experiences, all are studied under such research. It also helps in other studies such as politics, media research and market research.

Foundations

Social research as a dedicated field had its underpinnings associated with the positivist philosophy in the 19th century and an increase in demographic study. The common goal was to extend and rationalize the ideas of scientific domain to that of human conduct and that the same assumptions and theoretical framework with predict the causality. With more system-theoretical approach in late 1940s and later especially in the U.S., such research became more quantitative. Paul Lazarsfeld is often considered the father of modern sociology for his immense contributions in the field of statistical survey analysis, latent structure and contextual analysis and panel methods. He also brought on an increased emphasis in qualitative treatment over proper domains.

Methodology

Most the various methodologies arise from the various historical approaches and ideas regarding the subject. Thus, they can vary greatly depending on what approach is selected and what is the ultimate goal. Hence, for a dissertation writer trying to find quantitative results may go for sampling with set questions and goals and then analyze the data and extrapolate for any correlation whereas someone going for a more qualitative approach will seek full contextual semantics will go for individual behavior analysis and open-ended interviews. Often such approaches are combined together for better results with more contexts. The methods can be qualitative with methods like analytic induction, case study, ethnography, morphological analysis and most significant change technique. Quantitative methods include methods using Statistics, Mathematics and Probability theories like Correlation-Regression, Multivariate statistics, social analysis via networks and structural equation modeling.

Explanations in social research are primarily of two types i.e.

  • Idiographic, which tries to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of any event and thus provides all possible explanation for any event.
  • Nomothetic, which tries to generalize by identifying key concepts and casual factors and how they can affect the causality.

Sampling Techniques

Most quantitative methods require a sample from a given population to work with and associated data for further analysis. This has an advantage over census, which is the complete information of the whole population and is more expensive to gather and computationally intensive to work with. Thus sample acts as a “manageable subset” that can be used for further extrapolation to the complete set of population. Sampling Methods can be categorized as:

  • Random Sampling: Sampling techniques include random sampling, stratified sampling,systematic sampling and cluster sampling. In this method, each member of the sample is chosen randomly without any correlation and is an unbiased survey technique. Systematic sampling however uses an equal probability method.
  • Non-probabilistic sampling: It includes methods like convenience sampling, snow-ball sampling and purposive sampling.

Sampling is thus a cheaper and more manageable method than a complete census.

The Assumptions

As with any research and theoretical work, the pillars/foundations are the axioms and the assumptions that go with them. Social research is entirely based on empirical approach along with logical reasoning. As this line of research mainly involves theory, measurement and observation; mathematics become an integral part of it and hence mathematical axioms and postulates creep in. Most social assumptions are generalization without any parallels with laws of sciences in general. Most measurement is done on variables, which signify real world data/entities, and then via their measurement and observations, conclusions are drawn. To enable this, tools like statistical analysis and logical deduction are used. Most comparisons are done with respect to dependent variables and conclusions accordingly drawn.

Guidelines

Guidelines are important in every field.

  • The idea of a research is to come up with something innovative and new. Old is not always gold.
  • Never ever let your bias or preconceived notions colour your research work. Having a fixed track is good but do not overlook the obvious just because you have a particular view point. It can do much harm to your research work and its results.
  • Use your nouvelle approach to come up with something ground-breaking, something that will make some difference otherwise the research remains futile.
  • Try the same experiment for different groups in different circumstances for a better and a more comprehensive result. Because different groups and different circumstances yield different results which will give you a deeper understanding of the situation.
  • Compare and contrast in every step. This will help your work grow bigger and better.
  • Don’t let the methods of research rule you, always remember you are the master. Stick your path and don’t make everything dependent on methodology.

Ethics

Ethics is important because it is more than just right and wrong. It is a code that must be followed by ever-academic essay writer.

  • People must be respected, i.e., people should be considered capable of choosing what is right for them. Do not force your opinions on them because it might affect the research results. At the same time, people who are incapable of doing so should be given adequate support.
  • The research should be beneficial, i.e., the research should not under any circumstance harm anybody and it should be useful for the society. This is important because otherwise the research work becomes useless.
  • The research should be for everyone, that is, the benefit of research work should be given to everyone either equally, according to individual need or effort or according to merit.