Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process
Open University Press
The aim of this book is to bridge the gap between theory and methods in social research. It is written in a clear, accessible style and will equip students with an in-depth understanding of the subject. The book has been carefully designed with the reader in mind and is divided into two parts. Part 1 examines the issues and Part 2, the methods used in social research. The topics covered in Part 1 include: perspectives which help students understand the aims and practice of social research; the relationship between theorry and data; the place of values and ethics in the research process. These important issues are then directly linked to Part 2 of the book which includes chapters on: official statistics; the use and design of questionnaires; the method of participant observation; successful documentary research; methods and process of interviewing; comparative research. Each of the chapters on interviewing, questionnaires, observation and documentary research follows a common structure to promote an understanding of the place, process and analysis of social research methods. This allows the reader to compare their strengths and weaknesses in the context of discussions in Part 1 noting that perspectives do not simdply dictate the practice of research. In addition, Part 2 includes detailed chapters on the use and collection of official statistics, with examples, and the potential and problems involved in comparative research which is such an important part of the development of social science disciplines. Complete with questions at the end of each chapter and a guide to further reading, this book will meet all the needs of social science students seeking a thorough grounding in social research. It will enable the reader not just to engage in empirical work, but to have the confidence and ability to reflect upon research practice and be aware of the various methods available for data analysis. Whilst it is specifically designed as a complete course of study for sociology and social policy students, it will also be of value to those who wish to reconsider or clarify the relationship between current social, poolitical and theoretical issues in general and the practice of research in particular.