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Introduction to Social Science Research

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1 Introduction to Social Science Research
András István Kun assistant professor

2 Introduction

3 The scientific method In its broadest sense science is any systematic knowledge that is capable of resulting in a correct prediction or reliable outcome. A scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way, and to use these findings to make useful predictions. Scientific thinking is one of the ways to find answeres (besides practical thinking, professional thinking, religious thinking, ideological thinking…).

4 Possible definitions of research
A way of thinking: a habit of questioning what you do a systematic examination to find answeres search for knowledge via systematic investigation investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

5 Why doing research? A quest for knowledge and understanding
An interesting and useful experience A course for qualification A career A style of life A way to improve quality of life An ego boost

6 Different fields of research
The everyday research Professional research: Economic Management Development, R&D (applied research) Academic research („blue sky” research)

7 Everybody is a researcher
Looking for job Looking for housing Searching a real bargain

8 Typical research questions in marketing
How much is the researvation price of the costumers? Which features of the product is not needed and which features should be improved? How much should I spend on advertising?

9 Development Apply scientific, engineering or technological knowledge in a systematic manner to improve performance Exploits knowledge created elsewhere Has a final product, service or process Usually strict time constraints Budget constraints Targeting profit increase

10 Research & Development
Term used in the industrial/business sector Research is a process creating new knowledge Development is a process that applies knowledge

11 Academic research vs. R&D
Academic research seeks truth vs. R&D seeks utility Industry can’t afford luxury of research vs. Academics don’t want to be bothered with financial problems Scientific vs. effective methodology

12 The scientific research
The aim of scientific research is to establish facts. The classical model of scientific inquiry that forms of approximate and exact reasoning in a threefold scheme (Aristotle) : Abductive reasoning Deductive reasoning Induction (inductive reasoning)

13 Abductive reasoning It is a process of choosing the hypothesis, which would best explain the available evidence. Usually a natural and instinctive process. Its role in the scientific research: it offers appropiate hypotheses built on observations and/or previous studies. Abduction is not necessarily correct, but enhancing or exploring different hypotheses will allow a systematic approach to scientific research. Occam’s Razor: the rule of thumb known as ‘Occam’s Razor’, where the simplest explanation is likely to be the correct one.

14 Deductive reasoning …is reasoning which constructs or evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises. An example of a deductive argument: All men are mortal Socrates is a man Therefore, Socrates is mortal

15 Induction (inductive reasoning)
‘the real science is inductive’ – positivist paradigm reasoning from a specific case or cases and deriving a general rule. It draws inferences from observations in order to make generalizations. Stages: Observation: collect facts, without bias. Analysis: classify the facts, identifying patterns o of regularity. Inference: From the patterns, infer generalizations about the relations between the facts. Confirmation: Testing the inference through further observation.

16 Definition of scientific research
A research process is scientific, if it is undertaken within the framework of a set of philosophies (according to the specific field of science), using procedures, methods and techniques that have been tested for their validity and reliability, designed to be unbiased and objective. It is empirical.

17 Some notions form the definition
Set of philosophies: paradigm Reliability: the quality of measurement Validity: ‘Do we measure the right thing?’ Unbiased: a built in error in sampling or in the method of analising Objective: independent from the personal characteristics and attitudes of the researcher

18 Some specifications of the social sciences
Hardness of controlling variables: the role of experiences is very limited. Subjectivity is harder to be eliminated.

19 Characteristics of research
Controlled: to link the effect to the cause (and vice versa) one should minimize the effect of factors other than want to measure. Or in social sciences, you have to measure as many factors as you can. Rigorous Systematic: one should follow a certain logocal sequence. Valid and verifiable Empirical Critical: process, procedures and conclusions have to be able to whitstand critical scrutiny.

20 Types of research Application: Objectives: Inquiry mode
Pure (‘blue sky’) research Applied research Objectives: Descriptive: descibes the research object systematically Correlational: discovers relationship/association/interdependence between research objects or factors Explanatory: explaines the relationship between variables Exploratory: explores a research field that is undiscovered. If it succeeds, other types of research could follow. Inquiry mode Qualitative: unstructured, flexible process, more able to explore or explain Quantitative: structured, strict process, more able to measure, quantify, compare and describe

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