Approaches to Social Research / Edition 5

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Revised and updated in its fifth edition, Approaches to Social Research is a rigorous yet clear and engaging introduction to research methods. Covering all of the fundamentals in a straightforward, student-friendly manner, it is ideal for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses across the social sciences and also serves as an indispensable guide for researchers. Striking a balance between specific techniques and the underlying logic of scientific inquiry, this book provides a lucid treatment of the four major approaches to research: experimentation, survey research, field research, and the use of available data. Richly developed examples of empirical research and an emphasis on the research process enable students to better understand the real-world application of research methods. The authors also offer a unique chapter (13) advocating a multiple-methods strategy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195372984
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/6/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 208,082
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Holy Cross College

both of the University of California, Santa Barbara

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Table of Contents

Chapters 2-17 end with a Summary.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Why Study Research Methods?
Consuming Research Evidence
Producing Research Evidence
Methodological Approaches to the Social World
Some Preliminary Research Questions
An Experimental Answer
An Answer from Survey Research
An Answer from Field Research
An Answer from Available Data
An Overview of the Book
Chapter 2. The Nature of Science
The Aim of Science
Science as Product
Scientific versus Nonscientific Questions
Knowledge as Description
Knowledge as Explanation and Prediction
Knowledge as Understanding
Tentative Knowledge
Science as Process
Durkheim's Study of Suicide
Logical Reasoning
Science: Ideal versus Reality
Chapter 3. Research Ethics
Data Collection and Analysis
Treatment of Human Subjects
Informed Consent
Making Ethical Decisions
The Uses of Research: Science and Society
The Issue of Value Neutrality
The Application of Research Findings
Chapter 4. Elements of Research Design
Origins of Research Topics
Units of Analysis
Aggregate Data
Ecological Fallacy
Types of Variables
Relationships among Qualitative Variables
Relationships among Quantitative Variables
Relationships between a Qualitative and a Quantitative Variable
Statistically Significant Relationships
The Nature of Causal Relationships
Formulating Questions and Hypotheses
Research Purposes and Research Design
Stages of Social Research
Stage 1: Formulation of the Research Question
Stage 2: Preparation of the Research Design
Stage 3: Measurement
Stage 4: Sampling
Stage 5: Data Collection
Stage 6: Data Processing
Stage 7: Data Analysis and Interpretation
Chapter 5. Measurement
The Measurement Process
Operational Definitions in Social Research
Verbal Reports
Archival Records
Selection of Operational Definitions
Operational Definitions in Social Research
Verbal Reports
Archival Records
Selection of Operational Definitions
Levels of Measurement
Nominal Measurement
Ordinal Measurement
Interval Measurement
Ratio Measurement
Reliability and Validity
Sources of Error
Reliability Assessment
Test-Retest Reliability
Split-Half and Internal Consistency Reliability
Intercoder Reliability
Improving Reliability
Validity Assessment
Subjective Validation
Criterion-Related Validation
Construct Validation
A Final Note on Reliability and Validity
Chapter 6. Sampling
Why Sample?
Population Definition
Sampling Designs
Probability Sampling
Random Selection
Simple Random Sampling
Stratified Random Sampling
Cluster Sampling
Systematic Sampling
Nonprobability Sampling
Convenience Sampling
Purposive Sampling
Quota Sampling
Other Sampling Designs
Combined Probability and Nonprobability Sampling
Referral Sampling
Factors Affecting Choice of Sampling Design
Stage of Research and Data Use
Available Resources
Method of Data Collection
Factors Determining Sample Size
Population Heterogeneity
Desired Precision
Sampling Design
Available Resources
Number of Breakdowns Planned
Final Notes on Sampling Errors and Generalizability
Chapter 7. Experimentation
The Logic of Experimentation
Testing Causal Relationships
Matching and Random Assignment
Internal and External Validity
Sampling in Experiments
Staging Experiments
An Example: Who Will Intervene?
Subject Recruitment and Acquisition of Informed Consent
Introduction to the Experiment
The Experimental Manipulation
Manipulation Checks
Measurement of the Dependent Variable
Experimental and Mundane Realism
The Experiment as a Social Occasion
Demand Characteristics
Evaluation Apprehension
Other Motives of Experimental Subjects
Experimenter Effects
Minimizing Bias Due to the Social Nature of Experimentation
Experimentation Outside the Laboratory
Field Experiments
Experimental Designs in Survey Research
Units of Analysis Other than Individuals
Chapter 8. Experimental Designs
Threats to Internal Validity
Pre-experimental Designs
Design 1: The One-Shot Case Study
Design 2: The One-Group Pretest-Posttest Design
Design 3: The Static-Group Comparison
True Experimental Designs
Design 4: The Pretest-Posttest Control Group Design
Design 5: The Posttest-Only Control Group Design
Design 6: The Solomon Four-Group Design
Within-Subjects Designs
Overview of True Experimental Designs
Factorial Experimental Designs
Interaction Effects
Quasi-experimental Designs
Example 1: Interracial Attitudes and Behavior at a Summer Camp
Example 2: The Connecticut Crackdown on Speeding
Chapter 9. Survey Research
General Features of Survey Research
Large-Scale Probability Sampling
Systematic Procedures: Interviews and Questionnaires
Quantitative Data Analysis
Secondary Analysis of Surveys
The Uses and Limitations of Surveys
Survey Research Designs
Cross-Sectional Designs
Longitudinal Designs
Steps in Survey Research: Planning
Face-to-Face and Telephone Interviewing
Face-to-Face Interviewing
Telephone Interviewing
Paper-and-Pencil Questionnaires
Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews
Mixed-Mode Surveys
Field Administration
Interviewer Selection
Interviewer Training
Gaining Access
Supervision and Quality Control
Follow-Up Efforts
Chapter 10. Survey Instrumentation
The Survey as a Social Occasion
Materials Available to the Survey Designer
Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions
Direct and Indirect Questions
Response Formats
Visual and Media Aids
Existing Questions
"Sketches" or Preliminaries
The Opening
The Placement of Sensitive and Routine Questions
Order, Flow, and Transition
Filling in the Sketch: Writing the Items
Using Language Effectively
The "Frame of Reference" Problem
Reason Analysis
Memory Problems
Response Bias Problems
Format Considerations
Mixed-Mode Instrument Designs
Cognitive Laboratory Interviews
Field Pretesting
Chapter 11. Field Research
The Potentials and Limitations of Field Research
Research Design and Sampling
Sampling in Field Research
Field Observation
Nonparticipant Observation
Participant Observation
Field Interviewing
Stages of Field Research
A Field Study of the Homeless
Selecting a Research Setting
Gaining Access
Presenting Oneself
Gathering Information
Analyzing the Data
Chapter 12. Research Using Available Data
Sources of Available Data
Public Documents and Official Records
Private Documents
Mass Media
Physical, Nonverbal Evidence
Social Science Data Archives
Advantages of Research Using Available Data
Nonreactive Measurement
Analyzing Social Structure
Studying and Understanding the Past
Understanding Social Change
Studying Problems Cross-Culturally
Improving Knowledge through Replication and Increased Sample Size
Savings on Research Costs
General Methodological Issues in Available-Data Research
Searching for and Procuring Available Data
Measurement of Key Concepts
Evaluation and Adjustment of Data
Assessment of Data Completeness
Historical Analysis
Descriptive and Analytical History
Handling Documentary Evidence
Historical Interpretation
Content Analysis
Selecting and Defining Content Categories
Defining the Unit of Analysis
Deciding on a System of Enumeration
Carrying Out the Analysis
Chapter 13. Multiple Methods
Multiple Measures of Concepts within the Same Study
Composite Measures: Indexes and Scales
Structural Equation Modeling
Multiple Tests of Hypotheses across Different Studies
Replications Using the Same Research Strategy: Social Exclusion and Helping
Replications Using Different Research Strategies
A Comparison of the Four Basic Approaches to Social Research
Problem Formulation
Data Collection
Data Evaluation
Analysis and Interpretation
Public Presentation
Chapter 14. Evaluation Research
Framework and Sample Studies
Example 1: Feeding the Homeless
Example 2: Aid to Released Prisoners
Example 3: Curbing Drunk Driving
Types of Evaluation Research
Problem Identification: Conceptualization and Diagnosis
Policy Planning: Needs and Social Impact Assessments
Program Development: Formative Evaluation
Program Implementation: Program Monitoring
Program Evaluation: Effect and Efficiency Assessment
Methodological Issues in Evaluation Research
Theory as a Guide to Research
Research Design and Internal Validity
Measurement Validity
External Validity
The Social and Political Context of Evaluation Research
Chapter 15. Data Processing and Elementary Data Analysis
Preview of Analysis Steps
Data Processing
Entering the Data
Data Matrices and Documentation
The Functions of Statistics in Social Research
Inspecting and Modifying the Data
Nominal- and Ordinal-Scale Variables
Interval- and Ratio-Scale Variables
Preliminary Hypothesis Testing
Nominal- and Ordinal-Scale Variables
Interval- and Ratio-Scale Variables
Chapter 16. Multivariate Analysis
Modeling Relationships
Arrow Diagrams
Stochastic and Systematic Components
The Process of Modeling
Elaboration: Tables and Beyond
Multiple-Regression Analysis
Example 1: The Moral Integration of American Cities
Example 2: Interscholastic Sports and Academic Achievement
Example 3: Textile Workers and Union Sentiment
Other Modeling Techniques
Chapter 17. Writing Research Reports
Searching the Literature
Using the Internet
Using the Library
Outlining and Preparing to Write
Major Headings
The Abstract
Literature Review
Other Considerations
The Writing-Reading Interface
Avoiding Plagiarism
Name Index
Subject Index

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