Thinking Methodologically : Basic Principles of Social Research Design and Evaluation

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-01
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc

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Thinking Methodologically: Basic Principles of Social Research Design focuses on the underlying logic of social research and encourages students to understand research methods as a way of thinking. In this book author Donileeen Loseke provides an overview of the basic principles of social research, including the foundations of research (data, concepts, theory), the characteristics of research questions, the importance of literature reviews, measurement (conceptualization and operationalization), data generation techniques (experiments, surveys, interviews, observation, document analysis) and sampling. Relationships among these components of research are stressed, and the repeated, explicit lesson throughout these pages is that it is not possible to argue that one or another form of research is better than any other and that good researchers understand the differences among-and appreciate the capabilities of-different tools.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Exploring the World of Social Research Designp. 1
Defining Social Researchp. 3
Social Research and Other Ways of Knowingp. 4
Evaluating Social Researchp. 5
The Study of Social Research Designp. 6
Basic Principles of Methodological Thinkingp. 7
Think Criticallyp. 7
Treat All Knowledge as Tentativep. 8
Understand the Importance of Each Element of Research Designp. 9
Think Both as a Scientist and as an Artistp. 9
Know the Appropriate Uses of Social Research Toolsp. 10
Understand the Characteristics and Consequences of Methodological Diversityp. 11
Planning the Study of Research Designp. 11
Methods in Theory and in Practicep. 13
Foundationsp. 15
The Components of Social Research: Data,
Concepts, and Theoriesp. 15
Datap. 15
Variations in Data Content: Thinking/Feeling and Behaviorp. 15
Variations in Data Origins: Researcher
Produced and Naturally Occiuringp. 16
Variations in Data Form: Words and Numbersp. 16
Conceptsp. 17
Theoriesp. 18
Direction of Reasoning Between Data and Concepts/Theoriesp. 18
Deductive Reasoningp. 19
Inductive Reasoningp. 19
Logic and Research Design Decisionsp. 20
Models of Social Life and Models of Social Researchp. 21
Positivist Perspectivesp. 21
Positivist Perspective Assumptions About Social Lifep. 91
Positivist Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchp. 93
Positivist Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchersp. 23
Interpretive Perspectivesp. 23
Interpretive Perspective Assumptions About Social Lifep. 94
Interpretive Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchp. 24
Interpretive Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchersp. 24
Critical Perspectivesp. 25
Critical Perspective Assumptions About Social Lifep. 25
Critical Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchp. 25
Critical Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchersp. 25
Research Design Decisions and Models of Social Lifep. 26
Continuing Debates in Social Research Designp. 28
Natural Science Versus Humanitiesp. 28
Qualitative Versus Quantitative Designp. 29
Foundations and Research Designp. 30
Suggestions for Further Reading on Foundations of Social Research Designp. 30
Research Questionsp. 32
Identifying Research Questions in Published Researchp. 33
Constructing Research Questionsp. 34
Assessing the Appropriateness of Research Questionsp. 38
Thinking About Researchersp. 38
Research and Personally Meaningful Topicsp. 38
Research and Personal Perspectiveson Social Lifep. 39
Research and Working Stylesp. 40
Thinking About Research Participantsp. 40
Thinking About Practicalitiesp. 41
Reconstructing Research Questionsp. 42
Modifying Questions to Reflect Particular Views of Social Lifep. 42
Modifying Questions to Reflect Practicalitiesp. 46
Evaluating Research Questionsp. 46
Research Questions and Research Designp. 47
Literature Reviewsp. 48
Defining the Literaturep. 48
Existing Knowledge as a Tool for Research Designp. 50
Previous Studies Define the Foundation for New Studiesp. 50
Previous Studies Define What New Research Is Neededp. 51
Previous Studies Offer Guidelines for Research Designp. 51
Defining the Relevant Literaturep. 54
Defining Boundaries for the Inclusion of Topicsp. 55
Defining Boundaries of Abstractionp. 57
Thinking About the Review Taskp. 58
Where to Lookp. 59
How to Readp. 60
What to Read forp. 61
The Contents and Form of Literature Reviewsp. 61
Literature Reviews and Research Designp. 62
Examples of Social Research Article Databasesp. 63
Measurementp. 65
Conceptualization and Conceptual Definitionsp. 66
Identifying and Writing Conceptual Definitionsp. 67
Operationalization and Operational Definitionsp. 69
Types of Operationalizations in Social Researchp. 69
Operationalizations as Criteria for Classifying Tilings People Sayp. 69
Operationalizations as Criteria for Classifying Behaviorp. 70
Operationalizations as Criteria for Classifying the Content of Documents or Other hysical bjectsp. 71
Operational Definitions and Research Logicp. 75
Operationalizations in Deductive Researchp. 75
Operationalizations in Inductive Researchp. 75
Measurement Problems in Social Researchp. 76
The Problem of Meaningp. 77
The Problem of Multidimensionalityp. 77
The Problem of Interconnectivityp. 77
The Problem of Measurement Imprecisionp. 78
Evaluating Measurementp. 78
Evaluating Measurement Validity in Positivist Researchp. 78
Evaluating Measurement Trastworthiness in Interpretive Researchp. 79
Problems in Evaluating Measurementp. 80
Conceptualization and Operationalization and Research Designp. 80
Data Generation Techniquesp. 82
Research Questions and Datap. 82
Research Questions and Data Contentp. 82
Research Questions and Data Formp. 84
Data Generation Techniquesp. 85
Experimentsp. 86
Fixed-Question Surveysp. 86
In-Depth Interviewsp. 87
Observationp. 88
Document Analysisp. 88
Variations in Data Generation Techniquesp. 89
Variations to Match Research Questionsp. 89
Variations to Match the Current State of Knowledgep. 92
Variations to Match Models of Researchp. 92
Variations to Match Practicalitiesp. 93
Assessing the Appropriateness of Data Generation Techniquesp. 93
Danger to Research Participantsp. 93
Danger to Researchersp. 95
Problems From Practicalitiesp. 95
Data Generation Techniques and Research Designp. 97
Samplesp. 98
Populations and Samples in Social Researchp. 98
The Concept of Population in Social Researchp. 98
Conceptualizing Populations in Research Designp. 99
The Concept of Sample in Social Researchp. 101
The Importance of Samples in Social Researchp. 102
Types of Samplesp. 103
Probability Samplesp. 103
Nonprobability Samplesp. 104
Sampling and Sample Problems in Social Researchp. 105
Problems in Probability Samplingp. 105
Problems in Non probability Samplesp. 107
Practical Problems in All Samplingp. 111
Samples and Research Designp. 112
Summary: Writing and Evaluating Social Research Designp. 114
Foundations of Research Design and Evaluation: Methodological Thinkingp. 115
Barriers to Critical Thinkingp. 116
Variations in Criteria for Evaluating Reports of Research Designp. 118
Variations From Types of Researchp. 118
Variations From Foundational Characteristicsp. 118
Variations From Data Generation Techniquesp. 119
Variations From Report Purposes and Audiencesp. 120
Quality Within Variationsp. 121
Writing Research Design: Characteristics of High-Quality Reportsp. 122
Containing Appropriate Contentsp. 123
Containing Adequate Information on Design Characteristicsp. 123
Demonstrating the Logical Coherence of Design Componentsp. 124
Endings and Beginningsp. 125
Suggestions for Further Reading on Writing and
Evaluating Social Research Designp. 125
Appendix: Articles Used as Examplesp. 126
Exploring the Bases of Partisanship in the American Electorate: Social Identity vs. Ideologyp. 127
Ethnography of Racial Identities in Paris: Public Indicators of Social Hierarchy. A Researchp. 134
The Digital Identity Divide: How Technology Knowledge Impacts College Studentsp. 142
Fitting In but Getting Fat: Identity Threat and Dietary Choices Among U.S. Immigrant Groupsp. 150
Addicts' Narratives of Recovery From Drug Use: Constructing a Non-Addict Identityp. 157
Unassailable Motherhood, Ambivalent Domesticity: The Construction of Maternal Identity in Ladies' Home Journal in 1946p. 164
Smoking Identities and Behavior: Evidence of Discrepancies, Issues for Measurement and Interventionp. 174
Gang-Related Gun Violence: Socialization, Identity, and Selfp. 179
Indexp. 188
About the Authorp. 194ÿþ
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