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The Social Science Inquiry Method

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Presentation on theme: "The Social Science Inquiry Method"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Social Science Inquiry Method
Learning Goal: Demonstrate an understanding of general research process Understand APA conventions for acknowledging sources

2 Inquiry Natural human activity
Knowledge by “agreement” rather than by “experience” Intuition and common-sense Scientific Inquiry -an investigation that follows a formal procedure. This process can lead to answers for questions about people and the world around us.

3 Stages of the Scientific Inquiry
Ask a question or identify a problem Draw Conclusions Develop a hypothesis Decide on methodology Analyze Data Gather data

4 THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD Identifying the Problem and Developing a Question What do you want to learn about? Begin with the topic or issue you want to study. This is a starting point of your research Education system Health care system Immigration policy Demographics etc. Pose research question This forms the basis for your investigation. A good research question states exactly what you want to learn. It is clear, focused and appropriately complex?

5 Form Hypothesis Developing a hypothesis – a statement of a possible answer to the question which the researcher will attempt to prove or disprove using research. It gives you direction and helps you to determine what needs to be tested and which research methods you are going to use. Based on the information you have gathered, predict the answer to your question and specific outcome to the test you've planned.

6 THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD Methodology/ Test Your Hypothesis
What type of research method will be the most effective? (survey, observation, interview, focus group) Identify specific measurable behaviours to record Create a step by step testing plan on your approach.

7 Research Methodology in SS
Critical ethnography - - Critical ethnography is an approach to ethnography that attempts to link the detailed analysis of ethnography to wider social structures and systems of power relationships. (Source: Field Observation - observing people in their regular/normal settings, where they live, work, study etc.

8 Experiment - A test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, ordetermine the efficacy of something previously untried. Source: Focus Group - A focus group could be defined as a group of interacting individuals having some common interest or characteristics, brought together by a moderator, who uses the group and its interaction as a way to gain information about a specific or focused issue. Source (

9 Participant Observation
sociological research methodology in which the researcher takes on a role in the social situation under observation. The social researcher immerses herself in the social setting under study, getting to know key actors in that location in a role which is either covert or overt, although in practice, the researcher will often move between these two roles. Survey - to ask (many people) a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something (Source: Interview Structured and non-structured

10 Qualitative Methods focus groups, in-depth interviews, and reviews of documents for types of themes Primarily inductive process used to formulate theory or hypotheses More subjective: describes a problem or condition from the point of view of those experiencing it Text-based More in-depth information on a few cases Unstructured or semi-structured response options No statistical tests Can be valid and reliable: largely depends on skill and rigor of the researcher Time expenditure lighter on the planning end and heavier during the analysis phase Less generalizable

11 Quantitative Methods Surveys, structured interviews & observations, and reviews of records or documents for numeric information Primarily deductive process used to test pre-specified concepts, constructs, and hypotheses that make up a theory More objective: provides observed effects (interpreted by researchers) of a program on a problem or condition Number-based Less in-depth but more breadth of information across a large number of cases Fixed response options Statistical tests are used for analysis Can be valid and reliable: largely depends on the measurement device or instrument used Time expenditure heavier on the planning phase and lighter on the analysis phase More generalizable

12 Data Collection Gather the data/information to answer your question by using: Secondary Research Journal articles, university studies, government statistics, credible research from an organization Primary Research surveys, questionnaires, interviews, experiments and/or observations. Create recording sheet Communicate your results in an observable chart form. Conduct observations Observation chart and interpretation and analysis of chart should be completed (charts, graphs etc) Informed consent?

13 Data Collection – Cont. 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 (not credible without facts)

14 Analyze the Data Data analysis - organize the data so you can compare, analyze and summarize the information. Look for relationships between the data – these relationships between evidence will help you answer your research question.

15 Formulate and Communicate Conclusions
Form the conclusions that state how your data answers your question or hypothesis. Is your hypothesis supported by data or not? Should the hypothesis be accepted or rejected. Should there be further research? All you can say is whether the test supports or fails to support your original hypothesis.  Based on one test, you will almost never be able to say you have proven or disproved the hypothesis.

16 Creation of a Theory Testing a Theory

17 INDUCTIVE REASONING – Creating a New Theory
The process in which research begins with observations and uses inductive reasoning to derive a theory from these observations. These theories attempt to make sense of observations. The theory is produced after observations are made.

18 DEDUCTIVE REASONING – Testing an Existing Theory
A theory testing approach begins with a theory and uses specific points and themes from that theory to guide which observations to make.

19 Aims for Social Science Research
Social science research looks for patterns in human behaviour as well as connections among those behaviours Social researchers ask two fundamental types of research questions: What is going on? (descriptive) Why is it going on? (explanatory)

20 Descriptive Research – WHAT???
Good description is fundamental to the research Includes: Definition of terms Explanatory/expository information Background information General knowledge about a topic or issue

21 Explanatory Research – WHY???
Focuses on why questions. For example: it is one thing to describe the crime rate in a country, to examine trends over time or to compare the rates in different countries (descriptive) It is quite a different thing to develop explanations about why the crime rate is as high as it is, why some types of crime are increasing or why the rate is higher in some countries than in others (explanatory)

22 http://www. ctvnews. ca/does-spongebob-ruin-kids-concentration-1

23 Please complete the following tasks when watching the video:
Identify the potential observation the researcher made to create this study. Why did the author conduct this study? What might have been his research question. What was the researcher's plausible hypothesis? Explain the methodology/ data collection Conclusions- Assess the hypothesis, arrive at a conclusion Evaluate research – are there any weaknesses?

24 Simple Social Science Research
Assignment: Create a possible social science experiment. You are attempting to examine a specific human behavior. Keep it simple!

25 APA Style: General Guidelines
Your report/essay should be: typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11") with 1" margins on all sides. You should use 12 pt. Times New Roman font or a similar font. Include a page header at the top of every page. To create a page header, insert page numbers flush right. Then type "TITLE OF YOUR PAPER" in the header flush left page number in the upper right-hand side of every page Purdue University Writing Lab

26 APA

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