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Social research is the study about people and societies. Researchers and scientists infuse this practice to get to know the working, attitude and nature of human beings think as a crowd. These results then help them to mould their products and services as per the needs and requirements of people.
Well, for apparent reasons, the outcomes of this study are going to alter depending on the region it is done. People are going to have different views and opinions in different parts of the country. Social research helps learn about these variations of socio-economic groups, by highlighting their differences in thoughts about the social world.
Social research primarily focuses on finding the patterns of norms in social life. This research mostly deals with huge social-economic groups instead of a person.
- According to C.A. Moser: “Social research is a systematised investigation to gain new knowledge about social phenomena and problems.”
- According to P.V. Young: “Social research is a scientific undertaking which, by means of logical methods, aims to discover new facts or old facts and to analyse their sequences, interrelationships, causal explanations and natural laws which govern them.”
Objectives of Social Science Research
- The aim of social science research is to find new facts or confirm and evaluate old ones.
- It aims to comprehend human behaviour as well as its interactions with the world and social institutions.
- It seeks to establish a causal link between human activities and the natural laws that regulate them.
- To create new research instruments, principles, and hypotheses that will make the study of human behaviour and social life are more accurate and legitimate.
Scientific social research methods?
The reason being, field visits, surveys or experiments can have different masses giving different opinions and views. While speaking of science, it is more about testing right and wrong instead of getting into the ocean of social behaviour and regulations. Hence, using a scientific model to understand human action sounds more logical.
Scientific experiment methods make it a limitation to the factors influencing the study. BUT, they sure make the result straight and highly reliable. It consists of testing theories and hypotheses based on the already available evidence and follows series of steps to conduct systematic observations of the world.
Asking befitting questions with regards to the matter. The topic of interest must be within the bounds of time and geographic frames – a universal stand. For example: If you want to study “how a domestic environment affects a child’s social behaviour” and that perfectly fits the bounds.
2. Research the topic area
Research the topic area with the help of any present study material. It can be previously held research or documentaries, movies, etc. For example if you watch documentaries showing the effect of how children are treated in their households and how they copy the same gestures and language while being with their friends at school. This way you don’t have to go to actual subjects to study their patterns. And guess what? You have got the data in your hands already.
In this step, frame a hypothesis. Find out how the variables in your study are related. Learn about the independent and dependent variables in your study. Like in our example “domestic treatment of the kids” is an independent variable while “how they behave in their social circle” is a dependent one.
4. Test the hypothesis with experiments.
Using the test research method, conduct the experiments by creating two groups of kids, one in the treatment group and the other in the control group. Run the pre-tests and post-tests parallel with your experiment and note the changes in their behaviours.
5. Analyse the results
The treatment group of kids went through kind and caring gestures in their household and that resulted in their similar behaviour in the social circle. Whereas the kids in the control group were not subject to any such change and hence continued throwing tantrums and arrogance in their social circle.
6. Reporting the conclusions
Involves drawing firm results from your research and using them in the relevant cases. It can be reported to any of your superiors or sociologists or even can be used for future references.
Scientific methods help researchers to keep the focus on the objective and consistency of the study. And that is possible due to the configured steps that carry out a consistent flow of the study. The data that we get from these types of experiments are considered to be valid, reliable and accurate too.
Methods of social research
The following are some common social research methods:
1. Primary research
Primary research consists of gathering new data through the creation of an experiment or study. When administrating social research, professionals may collect data through a variety of resources, including surveys, interviews and observations. After they collect data, researchers examine it in order to generate conclusions that relate to their research question. For example, social scientists may perform a primary social research study in which they observe how people interact under stressful conditions.
2. Secondary research
Secondary research consists of analyzing and generating conclusions from data that already exists. Researchers combine, organize and examine information in order to bring forth new conclusions from pre-existing data. For example, researchers may conduct a secondary social research study that analyzes interviews from several studies of women before and after finding out they are with child.
3. Qualitative research
Qualitative social research attempts to collect information through non-numerical means, such as observation and interviews. Researchers often hold studies in a participant’s environment to increase trust and accuracy. Then, they examine qualitative data by formulating themes from the observations and descriptions made during the research. For example, a social qualitative research study may consist of observations and analysis of a single long-form interview of a death row inmate.
4. Quantitative research
Quantitative social research makes use of numerical data to arrive at conclusions. Researchers can accumulate this data with methods such as polls, surveys and questionnaires. Using these methods, they can measure specific variables and analyze the data in order to find statistical results. For example, a social quantitative research study may consist of measuring the amount of adrenaline produced by humans during stressful social conditions.
Social research methods are broadly classified into three groups as tabulated below:
|Quantitative Method||Qualitative Method||Mixed|
| Cluster analysis
Correlation and association
Social network analysis
Social sequence analysis
Surveys and questionnaire
Structural equation modeling
Quantitative marketing research
Most significant change technique
Triangulation (social science)
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