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Approaches to Social Research

by

Approaches to Social Research Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Revised and updated in its fifth edition, Approaches to Social Research is a rigorous yet clear and engaging introduction to research methods. Covering all of the fundamentals in a straightforward, student-friendly manner, it is ideal for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses across the social sciences and also serves as an indispensable guide for researchers. Striking a balance between specific techniques and the underlying logic of scientific inquiry, this book provides a lucid treatment of the four major approaches to research: experimentation, survey research, field research, and the use of available data. Richly developed examples of empirical research and an emphasis on the research process enable students to better understand the real-world application of research methods. The authors also offer a unique chapter (13) advocating a multiple-methods strategy.

New to this Edition:

* Many updated examples that are current and relevant to students' daily lives

* New examples from an array of disciplines, including the use of experimental design in political science and economics

* A revised chapter on ethics, which now appears earlier in the book (Chapter 3)

* Extensively revised and updated chapters on survey research (9-10) and writing research reports (17) that incorporate new developments in methodology and technology

* A new series of more than 100 key points, set off throughout the text

* A more visually appealing interior design featuring tables, large text boxes, figures, and charts

* New exercises in every chapter

* Updated Instructor's Resource CD including ideas for lecture, discussion, and exercises; review questions; and test items. Contact your Oxford sales representative for a copy. * Companion Website (maintained by the authors) offering a glossary and the following material for each chapter: answers to selected text exercises, true/false and matching quizzes, suggested readings, and web resources

Synopsis:

Thoroughly revised and updated, the fourth edition of this successful text offers a wealth of new research examples and references, accessible diagrams of essential concepts and processes, and extended coverage of core methods and recent developments. Striking a balance between specific techniques and the underlying logic of scientific inquiry, Approaches to Social Research, Fourth Edition, provides a lucid treatment of the four major approaches to research--experimentation, survey research, field research, and the use of available data. While advocating a multiple-methods strategy that treats these approaches as complementary rather than mutually exclusive, the book contains a detailed account of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Opening chapters draw students into the subject by illustrating the practicality of the study of research methods and outlining the scientific foundations of social research. The text then follows a typical research project, beginning with research design, measurement, and sampling. It proceeds with data collection and concludes with data processing and analysis. This fourth edition includes new and revised chapters that address the role of emerging technologies and the Internet in social research. Extensively updated research examples and a clear exposition make complex issues accessible to students with no background in social research. Approaches to Social Research, Fourth Edition, is an ideal textbook for graduates and advanced undergraduates in the social sciences, and it also provides important guidance for researchers in sociology and related disciplines.

Table of Contents

Chapters 2-17 end with a Summary.

Preface

Chapter 1. Introduction

Why Study Research Methods?

Consuming Research Evidence

Producing Research Evidence

Methodological Approaches to the Social World

Some Preliminary Research Questions

An Experimental Answer

An Answer from Survey Research

An Answer from Field Research

An Answer from Available Data

Conclusions

An Overview of the Book

I. THE SCIENTIFIC AND ETHICAL CONTEXTS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH

Chapter 2. The Nature of Science

The Aim of Science

Science as Product

Scientific versus Nonscientific Questions

Knowledge as Description

Knowledge as Explanation and Prediction

Knowledge as Understanding

Tentative Knowledge

Science as Process

Durkheim's Study of Suicide

Logical Reasoning

Empiricism

Objectivity

Control

Science: Ideal versus Reality

Chapter 3. Research Ethics

Data Collection and Analysis

Treatment of Human Subjects

Harm

Informed Consent

Deception

Privacy

Making Ethical Decisions

The Uses of Research: Science and Society

The Issue of Value Neutrality

The Application of Research Findings

II. RESEARCH DESIGN

Chapter 4. Elements of Research Design

Origins of Research Topics

Units of Analysis

Aggregate Data

Ecological Fallacy

Variables

Types of Variables

Relationships

Relationships among Qualitative Variables

Relationships among Quantitative Variables

Relationships between a Qualitative and a Quantitative Variable

Statistically Significant Relationships

The Nature of Causal Relationships

Formulating Questions and Hypotheses

Research Purposes and Research Design

Stages of Social Research

Stage 1: Formulation of the Research Question

Stage 2: Preparation of the Research Design

Stage 3: Measurement

Stage 4: Sampling

Stage 5: Data Collection

Stage 6: Data Processing

Stage 7: Data Analysis and Interpretation

Chapter 5. Measurement

The Measurement Process

Conceptualization

Operationalization

Operational Definitions in Social Research

Verbal Reports

Observation

Archival Records

Selection of Operational Definitions

Operational Definitions in Social Research

Verbal Reports

Observation

Archival Records

Selection of Operational Definitions

Levels of Measurement

Nominal Measurement

Ordinal Measurement

Interval Measurement

Ratio Measurement

Discussion

Reliability and Validity

Sources of Error

Reliability Assessment

Test-Retest Reliability

Split-Half and Internal Consistency Reliability

Intercoder Reliability

Improving Reliability

Validity Assessment

Subjective Validation

Criterion-Related Validation

Construct Validation

A Final Note on Reliability and Validity

Chapter 6. Sampling

Why Sample?

Population Definition

Sampling Designs

Probability Sampling

Random Selection

Simple Random Sampling

Stratified Random Sampling

Cluster Sampling

Systematic Sampling

Nonprobability Sampling

Convenience Sampling

Purposive Sampling

Quota Sampling

Other Sampling Designs

Combined Probability and Nonprobability Sampling

Referral Sampling

Factors Affecting Choice of Sampling Design

Stage of Research and Data Use

Available Resources

Method of Data Collection

Factors Determining Sample Size

Population Heterogeneity

Desired Precision

Sampling Design

Available Resources

Number of Breakdowns Planned

Final Notes on Sampling Errors and Generalizability

III. METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION

Chapter 7. Experimentation

The Logic of Experimentation

Testing Causal Relationships

Matching and Random Assignment

Internal and External Validity

Sampling in Experiments

Staging Experiments

An Example: Who Will Intervene?

Subject Recruitment and Acquisition of Informed Consent

Introduction to the Experiment

The Experimental Manipulation

Manipulation Checks

Measurement of the Dependent Variable

Debriefing

Pretesting

Experimental and Mundane Realism

The Experiment as a Social Occasion

Demand Characteristics

Evaluation Apprehension

Other Motives of Experimental Subjects

Experimenter Effects

Minimizing Bias Due to the Social Nature of Experimentation

Experimentation Outside the Laboratory

Field Experiments

Experimental Designs in Survey Research

Units of Analysis Other than Individuals

Chapter 8. Experimental Designs

Threats to Internal Validity

Pre-experimental Designs

Design 1: The One-Shot Case Study

Design 2: The One-Group Pretest-Posttest Design

Design 3: The Static-Group Comparison

True Experimental Designs

Design 4: The Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design

Design 5: The Posttest-Only Control Group Design

Design 6: The Solomon Four-Group Design

Within-Subjects Designs

Overview of True Experimental Designs

Factorial Experimental Designs

Interaction Effects

Quasi-experimental Designs

Example 1: Interracial Attitudes and Behavior at a Summer Camp

Example 2: The Connecticut Crackdown on Speeding

Chapter 9. Survey Research

General Features of Survey Research

Large-Scale Probability Sampling

Systematic Procedures: Interviews and Questionnaires

Quantitative Data Analysis

Secondary Analysis of Surveys

The Uses and Limitations of Surveys

Survey Research Designs

Cross-Sectional Designs

Longitudinal Designs

Steps in Survey Research: Planning

Face-to-Face and Telephone Interviewing

Face-to-Face Interviewing

Telephone Interviewing

Paper-and-Pencil Questionnaires

Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews

Mixed-Mode Surveys

Field Administration

Interviewer Selection

Interviewer Training

Pretesting

Gaining Access

Interviewing

Supervision and Quality Control

Follow-Up Efforts

Chapter 10. Survey Instrumentation

The Survey as a Social Occasion

Materials Available to the Survey Designer

Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions

Direct and Indirect Questions

Response Formats

Visual and Media Aids

Existing Questions

"Sketches" or Preliminaries

The Opening

The Placement of Sensitive and Routine Questions

Order, Flow, and Transition

Filling in the Sketch: Writing the Items

Using Language Effectively

The "Frame of Reference" Problem

Reason Analysis

Memory Problems

Response Bias Problems

Format Considerations

Mixed-Mode Instrument Designs

Pretesting

Cognitive Laboratory Interviews

Field Pretesting

Chapter 11. Field Research

The Potentials and Limitations of Field Research

Research Design and Sampling

Sampling in Field Research

Field Observation

Nonparticipant Observation

Participant Observation

Field Interviewing

Stages of Field Research

A Field Study of the Homeless

Selecting a Research Setting

Gaining Access

Presenting Oneself

Gathering Information

Analyzing the Data

Chapter 12. Research Using Available Data

Sources of Available Data

Public Documents and Official Records

Private Documents

Mass Media

Physical, Nonverbal Evidence

Social Science Data Archives

Advantages of Research Using Available Data

Nonreactive Measurement

Analyzing Social Structure

Studying and Understanding the Past

Understanding Social Change

Studying Problems Cross-Culturally

Improving Knowledge through Replication and Increased Sample Size

Savings on Research Costs

General Methodological Issues in Available-Data Research

Searching for and Procuring Available Data

Measurement of Key Concepts

Evaluation and Adjustment of Data

Assessment of Data Completeness

Historical Analysis

Descriptive and Analytical History

Handling Documentary Evidence

Historical Interpretation

Content Analysis

Selecting and Defining Content Categories

Defining the Unit of Analysis

Deciding on a System of Enumeration

Carrying Out the Analysis

Chapter 13. Multiple Methods

Triangulation

Multiple Measures of Concepts within the Same Study

Composite Measures: Indexes and Scales

Structural Equation Modeling

Multiple Tests of Hypotheses across Different Studies

Replications Using the Same Research Strategy: Social Exclusion and Helping

Replications Using Different Research Strategies

A Comparison of the Four Basic Approaches to Social Research

Meta-Analysis

Problem Formulation

Data Collection

Data Evaluation

Analysis and Interpretation

Public Presentation

Chapter 14. Evaluation Research

Framework and Sample Studies

Example 1: Feeding the Homeless

Example 2: Aid to Released Prisoners

Example 3: Curbing Drunk Driving

Types of Evaluation Research

Problem Identification: Conceptualization and Diagnosis

Policy Planning: Needs and Social Impact Assessments

Program Development: Formative Evaluation

Program Implementation: Program Monitoring

Program Evaluation: Effect and Efficiency Assessment

Methodological Issues in Evaluation Research

Theory as a Guide to Research

Research Design and Internal Validity

Measurement Validity

External Validity

The Social and Political Context of Evaluation Research

IV. DATA PROCESSING, ANALYSIS, AND INTERPRETATION

Chapter 15. Data Processing and Elementary Data Analysis

Preview of Analysis Steps

Data Processing

Editing

Coding

Entering the Data

Cleaning

Data Matrices and Documentation

The Functions of Statistics in Social Research

Inspecting and Modifying the Data

Nominal- and Ordinal-Scale Variables

Interval- and Ratio-Scale Variables

Preliminary Hypothesis Testing

Nominal- and Ordinal-Scale Variables

Interval- and Ratio-Scale Variables

Chapter 16. Multivariate Analysis

Modeling Relationships

Arrow Diagrams

Stochastic and Systematic Components

The Process of Modeling

Elaboration: Tables and Beyond

Multiple-Regression Analysis

Example 1: The Moral Integration of American Cities

Example 2: Interscholastic Sports and Academic Achievement

Example 3: Textile Workers and Union Sentiment

Other Modeling Techniques

Chapter 17. Writing Research Reports

Searching the Literature

Using the Internet

Using the Library

Outlining and Preparing to Write

Major Headings

The Abstract

Introduction

Literature Review

Methods

Findings

Discussion

References

Other Considerations

The Writing-Reading Interface

Avoiding Plagiarism

Revisions

Length

Glossary

References

Name Index

Subject Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195372984
Author:
Singleton, Royce A., Jr.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
Singleton, Royce A., JR.
Author:
null, Bruce C.
Author:
Straits, Bruce C.
Author:
Singleton, Jr., Royce A.
Author:
Royce A. Singleton, Jr.
Author:
Cram101 Textbook Reviews
Author:
null, Royce A.
Subject:
Social sciences -- Methodology.
Subject:
Social sciences -- Research.
Subject:
Research
Subject:
Methodology
Subject:
Sociology | Theory
Subject:
Methods
Subject:
Sociology | Theory & Methods
Subject:
Sociology-Reference and Methodology
Subject:
Education-General
Publication Date:
20090831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
672
Dimensions:
6.2 x 9.3 x 1.6 in 2.275 lb

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Product details 672 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195372984 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Thoroughly revised and updated, the fourth edition of this successful text offers a wealth of new research examples and references, accessible diagrams of essential concepts and processes, and extended coverage of core methods and recent developments. Striking a balance between specific techniques and the underlying logic of scientific inquiry, Approaches to Social Research, Fourth Edition, provides a lucid treatment of the four major approaches to research--experimentation, survey research, field research, and the use of available data. While advocating a multiple-methods strategy that treats these approaches as complementary rather than mutually exclusive, the book contains a detailed account of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Opening chapters draw students into the subject by illustrating the practicality of the study of research methods and outlining the scientific foundations of social research. The text then follows a typical research project, beginning with research design, measurement, and sampling. It proceeds with data collection and concludes with data processing and analysis. This fourth edition includes new and revised chapters that address the role of emerging technologies and the Internet in social research. Extensively updated research examples and a clear exposition make complex issues accessible to students with no background in social research. Approaches to Social Research, Fourth Edition, is an ideal textbook for graduates and advanced undergraduates in the social sciences, and it also provides important guidance for researchers in sociology and related disciplines.

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