Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method / Edition 2

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Constructing Social Research, Second Edition, is a concise, innovative text designed for research methods courses in the social sciences. This book shows the underlying unity within the diversity of activities called social research. The authors point out important continuities within three major strategies of social research: the qualitative study of commonalities, the comparative study of diversity, and the quantitative study of relationships among variables.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412960182
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 7/13/2010
  • Series: Sociology for a New Century Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 235
  • Sales rank: 473,368
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

The primary goal of Charles Ragin, social scientist and innovative methodologist, is to develop methods that help students and researchers unravel causal complexity in their research. This has led to his developing and championing the use of set-theoretic methods in the social sciences, most notably, his Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and fuzzy set analysis. In a recent review article in Contemporary Sociology entitled "The Ragin Revolution" (Vaisey review), sociologist Stephen Vaisey describes Ragin's work as a "principled alternative" to quantitative analysis (which assumes away casual complexity) and qualitative case-based methods (which lack tools for generalizing across cases.) Many who have adopted Ragin's methods believe that these techniques combine the strength of both quantitative and qualitative methods, while transcending their limits.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

Part I Elements of Social Research 1

1 What Is (and Is Not) Social Research? 5

Introduction 5

Some Conventional Views of Social Research 9

Social Research and Other Ways of Representing Social Life 19

How Social Research Differs 24

Conclusion 31

2 The Goals of Social Research 33

Introduction 33

Seven Main Goals 36

The Link Between Goals and Strategies 50

The Social Nature of Social Research 55

3 The Process of Social Research: Ideas and Evidence 57

Introduction 57

The Interpretive Model of Social Research 59

Processes and Strategies of Social Research 76

The Challenge of Social Research 78

4 The Ethics of Social Research 79

Introduction 79

Ethical Dilemmas and Failures 81

The Troubled History of Human Subjects Research 81

The Current Ethical Standards and Institutional Oversight 86

Ethical and Professional Dilemmas Facing Social Researchers 91

The Problem of Representation 104

Conclusion 105

Part II Strategies of Social Research 109

5 Using Qualitative Methods to Study Commonalities 111

Introduction 111

The Goals of Qualitative Research 113

The Process of Qualitative Research 116

Using Qualitative Methods 122

The Study of a Single Case 133

Conclusion 134

6 Using Comparative Methods to Study Diversity 135

Introduction 135

Contrasts With Other Research Strategies 137

The Goals of Comparative Research 138

The Process of Comparative Research 143

Using Comparative Methods 146

Conclusion 160

7 Using Quantitative Methods to Study Covariation 163

Introduction 163

The Goals of Quantitative Research 165

Contrasts With Other Research Strategies 169

The Process of Quantitative Research 171

Using Quantitative Methods 179

Conclusion 187

Afterword: The Promise of Social Research Mary Driscoll 189

Appendix: Computing Correlation Coefficients 201

References 211

Glossary/Index 219

About the Authors 235

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