Investigative Research: Theory and Practice

Investigative Research: Theory and Practice

by Derek Layder


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With its unique modelling and mapping of social processes, Investigative Research offers an alternative approach to social research. This book guides you through the theoretical grounding and rules you need to effectively combine the evidence-based explanations of social behaviour and distinctive strategies of data collection associated with investigative research.

It helps you answer key investigative questions like:

  • How are models and maps of social reality crucial to the formulation of research problems and questions?
  • What are the main phases, challenges, and theories of investigative research?
  • How does investigative research compare with other research approaches, like surveys, case studies, grounded theory, and mixed methods?
  • How can you control the quality and validity of your investigative research?

With its clear focus on investigative research exploration, description, and explanation, this book gives you the solid building blocks needed to manage and integrate the theoretical and practical issues in your work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781446287538
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Publication date: 03/29/2018
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.69(w) x 9.53(h) x (d)

About the Author

Derek Layder is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leicester and Honorary Professor of Health and Life Sciences and De Montfort University. He was awarded a doctorate by the London School of Economics in 1976. Appointed Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Leicester in 1974 and promoted to Reader in 1995, he became Professor in 1997 and Emeritus Professor from 2002. He has held several visiting academic positions and has also held honorary visiting appointments at The Australian National University (as a Humanities Research Fellow) and the University of Western Sydney (as Eminent Research Visitor). He taught in areas of social theory, social psychology, social research methods and the philosophy of social sciences. He has published numerous academic articles and 12 books. Among his books, in the area of the philosophy of social science, he is the author of The Realist Image in Social Science (1990); in social theory, he has written Understanding Social Theory (second edition, 2006), as well as Modern Social Theory (1997). On research strategies and methods, he has authored New Strategies in Social Research (1993), Sociological Practice (1998), and Doing Excellent Small-Scale Research (2013). He has also written on intimacy, emotion and self-identity, including Emotion in Social Life (2004), Social & Personal Identity (2004) and Intimacy & Power (2009).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Research Models, Problems and Questions
The Importance of Models and Maps
Closing Gaps in Knowledge
Influential Models of Social Reality
Should Models be Eliminative or Integrative?
Entangled Domains and Research
Restoring Lost Domains: Investigative Research Problems & Questions
Research Problems, Topics & Questions
Adaptive Method &Theory
Having a Solid Back-Story: Top Soil or Taproots?
Summary of Key Features of Investigative Research
Chapter 2: Dimensions, Quantity & Quality
Some Basic Dimensions of Research
Survey Research as Mono-Method
Theory-Testing Research
Qualitative Approaches
Action (or Transformative) Research
Using IR: Some Practical Suggestions
Chapter 3: Case Studies & Mixed Methods
Case Study Research
Mixed Methods
Using Investigative Research: Some Practical Suggestions
Chapter 4: The Limitations of Grounded Theory
Essential Differences between Investigative Research & Grounded Theory
Different Unfolding Strategies
Data, Concepts & Theoretical Discovery
Conceptual Generation & Theoretical Discovery
The Cul-de-sac of Not-Knowing
Discovery or Innovation?
Ground Theory Mark 2: One Step Forward & Three Back?
Constructionist Grounded Theory: An Even More Limited Version?
Practical Limitations of Constructionist Grounded Theory
Coding, Concept-Formation & Sampling in Investigative Research
Chapter 5: The Arc of Investigative Research
The Research Arc: Phases & Cycles
Models of the Research Process
An Overview of the Investigative Research Model
Cycle-Phase Dynamics
Flexibly Structured Adaptation
Problem Formulation & Orienting Scaffold
A Multi-Strategy, Multi-Method Approach
Phases of Research: An Integrative Framework
Complementary Aspects of Reality
Blending Life-world & System Phenomena
Research Design & Data Types
Data Analysis as Nascent Explanation
Constant Reformulation: A Concluding Comment
Chapter 6: Theory in Investigative Research
Variable Theory & Theory-Testing
Applied General Theory
Empirical Theory: Substantive & Formal
Orienting Concepts (Single or Multiple)
Emergent Concepts
The Deployment of Theory in Overall Research Strategy
Developing Theory in Investigative Research: An Overview
Modifying and Creating Theory and Concepts
Generic Research Outcomes
Cumulative Knowledge & Theory-Development
An Appropriate Model of Social Reality
Chapter 7: Networks & Domains: A Research Guide
Activities and Settings: A Central Pairing
Social Behaviour & Social Reality
Distinguishing Settings from Locations/Locales
Primary & Secondary Settings: Transition Zones
Networks & Social Domains
Organized Settings & Networks
Informal Settings & Networks
Research Questions for Networks and Domains
Matching Concepts with Empirical Indicators
Selecting Data Threads within Domains
Identifying Settings from Data
Variations in Organized Settings
Work Organizations as Social settings
Smaller ‘Organizations’ & Informal Settings
Selective Focusing
Examples of Selective Focusing
Causal Influence & Causal Explanation
One-Dimensional Causality: The Case of Gender & Intimacy
Intimacy & Situated Activity
Social Settings, Gender & Intimacy
Researching Causality
Research, Causality & Theory Building
Chapter 8: Continuous Quality Control
Quality Control: The Central Importance of Validity
The Research Process: A Two-Tiered Model
The Research Matrix (or Grid)
The Preparatory Phase
The Data Gathering Phase
The Analytic /Explanatory Phase

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