Presentation on theme: "The Social Science Inquiry Method"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Social Science Inquiry Method Learning Goal:Demonstrate an understanding of general research processUnderstand APA conventions for acknowledging sources
2 Inquiry Natural human activity Knowledge by “agreement” rather than by “experience”Intuition and common-senseScientific 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 problemDraw ConclusionsDevelop a hypothesisDecide on methodologyAnalyze DataGather data
4 THE SCIENTIFIC METHODIdentifying the Problem and Developing a QuestionWhat do you want to learn about? Begin with the topic or issue you want to study. This is a starting point of your researchEducation systemHealth care systemImmigration policyDemographics etc.Pose research questionThis 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 HypothesisDeveloping 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 recordCreate 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:InterviewStructured and non-structured
10 Qualitative Methodsfocus groups, in-depth interviews, and reviews of documents for types of themesPrimarily inductive process used to formulate theory or hypothesesMore subjective: describes a problem or condition from the point of view of those experiencing itText-basedMore in-depth information on a few casesUnstructured or semi-structured response optionsNo statistical testsCan be valid and reliable: largely depends on skill and rigor of the researcherTime expenditure lighter on the planning end and heavier during the analysis phaseLess generalizable
11 Quantitative MethodsSurveys, structured interviews & observations, and reviews of records or documents for numeric informationPrimarily deductive process used to test pre-specified concepts, constructs, and hypotheses that make up a theoryMore objective: provides observed effects (interpreted by researchers) of a program on a problem or conditionNumber-basedLess in-depth but more breadth of information across a large number of casesFixed response optionsStatistical tests are used for analysisCan be valid and reliable: largely depends on the measurement device or instrument usedTime expenditure heavier on the planning phase and lighter on the analysis phaseMore generalizable
12 Data CollectionGather the data/information to answer your question by using:Secondary ResearchJournal articles, university studies, government statistics, credible research from an organizationPrimary Researchsurveys, questionnaires, interviews, experiments and/or observations.Create recording sheetCommunicate your results in an observable chart form.Conduct observationsObservation 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 opinionFacts are supported with evidence that everyone can observe.Opinions are based on individual observations or experiences (not credible without facts)
14 Analyze the DataData 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.
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 behavioursSocial 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 researchIncludes:Definition of termsExplanatory/expository informationBackground informationGeneral 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)
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 collectionConclusions- Assess the hypothesis, arrive at a conclusionEvaluate 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 leftpage number in the upper right-hand side of every pagePurdue University Writing Lab