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The Inquiry Method for Social Science Research

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1 The Inquiry Method for Social Science Research

2 Social science research looks for patterns in human behaviour as well as connections among those behaviours. In social sciences you will learn about patterns of behaviour – not rules or laws Most frequently asked questions are ‘What happens?’ and ‘Why?’ You will lean the answers to these questions by using the research methods of social scientists.

3 You will be able to conduct your own research on individuals, groups and families.
Once you understand social science research methods, you will be able to read and analyze the results of research done by others.

4 How the Inquiry Method Works

5 1) Identify the Problem Begin with the topic or issue you want to study. Determine what you already know or THINK you know. The problem states what you need to find out.

6 2) Research Question This forms the basis for your investigation.
A good research question states exactly what you want to learn and will suggest how you will conduct the research. State this as a question – will be answered as your hypothesis

7 3) Developing a Hypothesis
A statement of a possible answer to the question which the researcher will attempt to prove or disprove using research. This can be based on an educated opinion as to what you think the conclusions of your research may be an why you think this occurs.

8 4) Gather Data – Do an Experiment or Research
Gather the data/information to answer your question. Secondary research = using existing data (Durkheim) Primary research = gathering your own research Use surveys, questionnaires, interviews, experiments and/or observations.

9 It is important to distinguish between fact and opinion.
Facts are supported with evidence that everyone can observe. Opinions are based on individual observations or experiences.

10 5) Analyze the Data Organize the data so you can compare, analyze and summarize the information. Look for relationships and trends between the data – these relationships between evidence will help you answer your research question. 

11 6) Formulate and Communicate Conclusions
Form the conclusions that state how your data answers your question or hypothesis and also how they answer the question ‘Why?’. Sometimes your hypothesis will not be answered – WHY? Explain your results either written, orally or in a research report. Use an existing theory to help explain reasons for your conclusions Develop your own theory which explain the trends you have found in your research

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