Methodological Thinking: Basic Principles of Social Research Design / Edition 1

Methodological Thinking: Basic Principles of Social Research Design / Edition 1

by Donileen R. Loseke
ISBN-10:
1412997208
ISBN-13:
9781412997201
Pub. Date:
02/28/2012
Publisher:
SAGE Publications

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Overview

Methodological Thinking: Basic Principles of Social Research Design / Edition 1

Methodological Thinking: 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. The book 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.

The text is organized to help students become good consumers and producers of research by developing skills to design small-scale research projects and evaluate research done by others. The author highlights the relationships among various components of research; she also explains that it is not possible to argue that one form of research is better than any other and that good researchers understand the difference among-and appreciate the capabilities of-different tools.

Takes an interdisciplinary approach, with examples in criminology/criminal justice, sociology, political science/international relations, and social work

Offers a balanced account of theoretical perspectives, providing students with an unbiased presentation Minimizes technical details of social research design to emphasize logic and general principles

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781412997201
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Publication date: 02/28/2012
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Donileen R. Loseke received her bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in behavioral science from California State University Dominguez Hills, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She currently is a professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida. Her books include The Battered Woman and Shelters (1992, New York Press), which won the 1994Charles Horton Cooley Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, and Thinking About Social Problems: An Introduction to Constructionist Perspectives, 2e (2003, Aldine deGruyter), and Current Controversies on Family Violence, 2nd edition, edited with Richard Gelles and Mary Cavanaugh (2005, SAGE). Numerous journal articles and book chapters report the findings of her empirical research projects that have been on a variety of topics (including evaluation research, social problems, criminal justice, social service provision, occupations, emotion, identity, and narrative), and have used a variety of data collection techniques (including field experiment, written survey, in-depth interview, ethnography, and document analysis). She has been the editor of the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography and an Advisory Editor for Social Problems. Currently she is an editorial board member of Social Psychology Quarterly, an Advisory Editor for The Sociological Quarterly, and an Associate Editor of Symbolic Interaction and Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1 Exploring the World of Social Research Design 1

Defining Social Research 3

Social Research and Other Ways of Knowing 4

Evaluating Social Research 5

The Study of Social Research Design 6

Basic Principles of Methodological Thinking 7

Think Critically 7

Treat All Knowledge as Tentative 8

Understand the Importance of Each Element of Research Design 9

Think Both as a Scientist and as an Artist 9

Know the Appropriate Uses of Social Research Tools 10

Understand the Characteristics and Consequences of Methodological Diversity 11

Planning the Study of Research Design 11

Methods in Theory and in Practice 13

Chapter 2 Foundations 15

The Components of Social Research: Data,

Concepts, and Theories 15

Data 15

Variations in Data Content: Thinking/Feeling and Behavior 15

Variations in Data Origins: Researcher

Produced and Naturally Occiuring 16

Variations in Data Form: Words and Numbers 16

Concepts 17

Theories 18

Direction of Reasoning Between Data and Concepts/Theories 18

Deductive Reasoning 19

Inductive Reasoning 19

Logic and Research Design Decisions 20

Models of Social Life and Models of Social Research 21

Positivist Perspectives 21

Positivist Perspective Assumptions About Social Life 91

Positivist Perspective Assumptions About Social Research 93

Positivist Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchers 23

Interpretive Perspectives 23

Interpretive Perspective Assumptions About Social Life 94

Interpretive Perspective Assumptions About Social Research 24

Interpretive Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchers 24

Critical Perspectives 25

Critical Perspective Assumptions About Social Life 25

Critical Perspective Assumptions About Social Research 25

Critical Perspective Assumptions About Social Researchers 25

Research Design Decisions and Models of Social Life 26

Continuing Debates in Social Research Design 28

Natural Science Versus Humanities 28

Qualitative Versus Quantitative Design 29

Foundations and Research Design 30

Suggestions for Further Reading on Foundations of Social Research Design 30

Chapter 3 Research Questions 32

Identifying Research Questions in Published Research 33

Constructing Research Questions 34

Assessing the Appropriateness of Research Questions 38

Thinking About Researchers 38

Research and Personally Meaningful Topics 38

Research and Personal Perspectiveson Social Life 39

Research and Working Styles 40

Thinking About Research Participants 40

Thinking About Practicalities 41

Reconstructing Research Questions 42

Modifying Questions to Reflect Particular Views of Social Life 42

Modifying Questions to Reflect Practicalities 46

Evaluating Research Questions 46

Research Questions and Research Design 47

Chapter 4 Literature Reviews 48

Defining the Literature 48

Existing Knowledge as a Tool for Research Design 50

Previous Studies Define the Foundation for New Studies 50

Previous Studies Define What New Research Is Needed 51

Previous Studies Offer Guidelines for Research Design 51

Defining the Relevant Literature 54

Defining Boundaries for the Inclusion of Topics 55

Defining Boundaries of Abstraction 57

Thinking About the Review Task 58

Where to Look 59

How to Read 60

What to Read for 61

The Contents and Form of Literature Reviews 61

Literature Reviews and Research Design 62

Examples of Social Research Article Databases 63

Chapter 5 Measurement 65

Conceptualization and Conceptual Definitions 66

Identifying and Writing Conceptual Definitions 67

Operationalization and Operational Definitions 69

Types of Operationalizations in Social Research 69

Operationalizations as Criteria for Classifying Tilings People Say 69

Operationalizations as Criteria for Classifying Behavior 70

Operationalizations as Criteria for Classifying the Content of Documents or Other hysical bjects 71

Operational Definitions and Research Logic 75

Operationalizations in Deductive Research 75

Operationalizations in Inductive Research 75

Measurement Problems in Social Research 76

The Problem of Meaning 77

The Problem of Multidimensionality 77

The Problem of Interconnectivity 77

The Problem of Measurement Imprecision 78

Evaluating Measurement 78

Evaluating Measurement Validity in Positivist Research 78

Evaluating Measurement Trastworthiness in Interpretive Research 79

Problems in Evaluating Measurement 80

Conceptualization and Operationalization and Research Design 80

Chapter 6 Data Generation Techniques 82

Research Questions and Data 82

Research Questions and Data Content 82

Research Questions and Data Form 84

Data Generation Techniques 85

Experiments 86

Fixed-Question Surveys 86

In-Depth Interviews 87

Observation 88

Document Analysis 88

Variations in Data Generation Techniques 89

Variations to Match Research Questions 89

Variations to Match the Current State of Knowledge 92

Variations to Match Models of Research 92

Variations to Match Practicalities 93

Assessing the Appropriateness of Data Generation Techniques 93

Danger to Research Participants 93

Danger to Researchers 95

Problems From Practicalities 95

Data Generation Techniques and Research Design 97

Chapter 7 Samples 98

Populations and Samples in Social Research 98

The Concept of Population in Social Research 98

Conceptualizing Populations in Research Design 99

The Concept of Sample in Social Research 101

The Importance of Samples in Social Research 102

Types of Samples 103

Probability Samples 103

Nonprobability Samples 104

Sampling and Sample Problems in Social Research 105

Problems in Probability Sampling 105

Problems in Non probability Samples 107

Practical Problems in All Sampling 111

Samples and Research Design 112

Chapter 8 Summary: Writing and Evaluating Social Research Design 114

Foundations of Research Design and Evaluation: Methodological Thinking 115

Barriers to Critical Thinking 116

Variations in Criteria for Evaluating Reports of Research Design 118

Variations From Types of Research 118

Variations From Foundational Characteristics 118

Variations From Data Generation Techniques 119

Variations From Report Purposes and Audiences 120

Quality Within Variations 121

Writing Research Design: Characteristics of High-Quality Reports 122

Displaying Care in Communication 122

Containing Appropriate Contents 123

Containing Adequate Information on Design Characteristics 123

Demonstrating the Logical Coherence of Design Components 124

Endings and Beginnings 125

Suggestions for Further Reading on Writing and

Evaluating Social Research Design 125

Appendix: Articles Used as Examples 126

Exploring the Bases of Partisanship in the American Electorate: Social Identity vs. Ideology Alan I. Abramowitz Kyle L. Saunders 127

Ethnography of Racial Identities in Paris: Public Indicators of Social Hierarchy. A Research NoteAlan I. Abramowitz Kyle L. Saunders Benjamin P. Bowser 134

The Digital Identity Divide: How Technology Knowledge Impacts College Students Joanna Goode 142

Fitting In but Getting Fat: Identity Threat and Dietary Choices Among U.S. Immigrant Groups Maya D. Guendelman Sapna Cheryan Benoit Monin 150

Addicts' Narratives of Recovery From Drug Use: Constructing a Non-Addict Identity James Mcintosh Neil McKeganey 157

Unassailable Motherhood, Ambivalent Domesticity: The Construction of Maternal Identity in Ladies' Home Journal in 1946 Sarah Burke Odland 164

Smoking Identities and Behavior: Evidence of Discrepancies, Issues for Measurement and Intervention S. Lee Ridner Kandi L. Walker Joy L. Hart John A. Myers 174

Gang-Related Gun Violence: Socialization, Identity, and Self Paul B. Stretesky Mark R. Pogrebin 179

Index 188

About the Author 194ÿfl

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