Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists, which follows a systematic plan. Social research methods can generally vary along a quantitative/qualitative dimension.
- Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to create valid and reliable general claims.
- Qualitative designs emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation, communication with participants, or analysis of texts, and may stress contextual and subjective accuracy over generality.
While various methods may sometimes be classified as quantitative or qualitative, most methods contain elements of both. For example, qualitative data analysis often involves a fairly structured approach to coding the raw data into systematic information, and quantifying intercoder reliability. Thus, a strong distinction between "qualitative" and "quantitative" should really be seen as a somewhat more complex relationship, such that many methods may be both qualitative and quantitative.
Social scientists employ a range of methods in order to analyse a vast breadth of social phenomena; from census survey data derived from millions of individuals, to the in-depth analysis of a single agents' social experiences; from monitoring what is happening on contemporary streets, to the investigation of ancient historical documents. The methods rooted in classical sociology and statistics have formed the basis for research in other disciplines, such as political science, media studies, program evaluation and market research.
Read more about Social Research: Methodology, Ethics, Types of Method
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Famous quotes containing the words research and/or social:
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