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Research in the Social Sciences: Sociology and Anthropology : 

Research in the Social Sciences: Sociology and Anthropology Luis Carmelo L. Buenaventura, PhD Associate Professor, Behavioral Sciences Department

RESEARCH = Re + cherchier (French) = To investigate thoroughly : 

RESEARCH = Re + cherchier (French) = To investigate thoroughly

So you really want to research? Alright but what about? : 

So you really want to research? Alright but what about?

Fine, but let’s check the following first: : 

Fine, but let’s check the following first: What specific topic are you really investigating? What are the parameters (scope and limitations) of your study? Is this a new study or a study which has been previously investigated? Are there references available? Are there respondents immediately available?

Assuming you just passed that checklist, what next? : 

Assuming you just passed that checklist, what next? Quantitative Statistical (Descriptive) Mean Median Mode Statistical (Inferential) Analysis of Variance Qualitative Participant Observation (Active) Participant Observation (Passive) Unstructured Interviews Narrative accounts

Qualitative Research Methods in Focus : 

Qualitative Research Methods in Focus Qualitative research methods were initially developed in the social sciences to enable researchers to study social and cultural phenomena. Examples of qualitative methods are action research, case study research and ethnography. Qualitative data sources include observation and participant observation (fieldwork), interviews and questionnaires, documents and texts, and the researcher’s impressions and reactions.

Rationale for selecting Qualitative against Quantitative Methods : 

Rationale for selecting Qualitative against Quantitative Methods The motivation for doing qualitative research, as opposed to quantitative research, comes from the observation that, if there is one thing which distinguishes humans from the rest of the animal world, is our unique ability to think and talk! Qualitative research methods are designed to help researchers understand people and the social and cultural contexts within which they live. Although most researchers do either quantitative or qualitative research work, some researchers have suggested combining one or more research methods in gathering data for their studies known as triangulation.

Philosophical Foundations of Research : 

Philosophical Foundations of Research All research (whether quantitative or qualitative) is based on some underlying assumptions about what constitutes 'valid' research and which research methods are appropriate. In order to conduct and/or evaluate qualitative research, it is therefore important to know what these (sometimes hidden) assumptions are.

Research methods have variously been classified as objective versus subjective; as being concerned with the discovery of general laws (nomothetic) versus being concerned with the uniqueness of each particular situation (idiographic), as aimed at prediction and control versus aimed at explanation and understanding, as taking an outsider (etic) versus taking an insider (emic) perspective. : 

Research methods have variously been classified as objective versus subjective; as being concerned with the discovery of general laws (nomothetic) versus being concerned with the uniqueness of each particular situation (idiographic), as aimed at prediction and control versus aimed at explanation and understanding, as taking an outsider (etic) versus taking an insider (emic) perspective.

Philosophical Foundations : 

Philosophical Foundations The most pertinent philosophical assumptions are those which relate to the underlying epistemology which guides the research. Epistemology refers to the assumptions about knowledge and how it can be obtained. Episteme (Knowledge/science) and logos (theory of) – Analysis of knowledge – Truth, Belief, and Justification What is knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? What do people know? How do we know what we know? Why do we know what we know?

Philosophical Foundations : 

Philosophical Foundations Four underlying "paradigms" for qualitative research: Positivism Post-positivism Constructivism Critical Theory or Interpretive Approach

Positivistic Approach in Research : 

Positivistic Approach in Research Positivists generally assume that reality is objectively given and can be described by measurable properties which are independent of the observer (researcher) and his or her instruments. Positivist studies generally attempt to test theory, in an attempt to increase the predictive understanding of phenomena.

Constructivist/Interpretive Approach to Research : 

Constructivist/Interpretive Approach to Research Interpretive researchers start out with the assumption that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as language, consciousness, and shared meanings. The philosophical base of interpretive research is hermeneutics and phenomenology. Symbolic Interactionism (SI) serves as its theoretical base. Interpretive studies generally attempt to understand phenomena through the meanings that people assign to them.

Constructivist/Interpretive Approach to Research (Cont) : 

Constructivist/Interpretive Approach to Research (Cont) Interpretive research does not predefine dependent and independent variables, but focuses on the full complexity of human sense making as the situation emerges. Requires a lot of research time and interview including immersion with the respondents since a one sitting barely scratches the surface of data gathering.

Critical Research : 

Critical Research Critical researchers assume that social reality is historically constituted and is produced and reproduced by people. Although people can consciously act to change their social and economic circumstances, critical researchers recognize that their ability to do so is constrained by various forms of social, cultural and political domination. The main task of critical research is seen as being one of social critique, whereby the restrictive and alienating conditions of the status quo are brought to light.

Critical research focuses on the oppositions, conflicts and contradictions in contemporary society, and seeks to be emancipatory i.e. it should help to eliminate the causes of alienation and domination. : 

Critical research focuses on the oppositions, conflicts and contradictions in contemporary society, and seeks to be emancipatory i.e. it should help to eliminate the causes of alienation and domination.

Qualitative Research Methods in retrospect : 

Qualitative Research Methods in retrospect Action Research Case Study Ethnography Grounded Theory – Critical Research

And so, what’s the best method to use? : 

And so, what’s the best method to use? It will all depend mainly on: The culture of the community or the people you wish to study. The very nature of your research: Immediate vs. Long-time results Real or true purpose of your research – Academic fulfillment or in-aid-of-legislation-type of research

Questions, Issues, and Concerns – End of Part 1 : 

Questions, Issues, and Concerns – End of Part 1