KEY FEATURES: Introduces students to developing research questions and shows their importance in driving research design. Rarely taught topics, such as how to enter and clean data, offer students information missed in both research methods and statistics courses. Shows how to write up survey results for academic, business and nonprofit reports to alleviate the confusion students feel about how to write up findings. Rigorous treatment of sampling focuses on many sampling issues from probability theory to weighting. Offers the process of actually conducting a survey with advice on administering surveys, incentives, and improving response rates.

How Are Good Empirical Research Questions Developed?

Erin Ruel

Since the research design is driven by the research question, it follows that we want to have the best possible research question. A research question is one that can be answered by collecting empirical observations, such as answers to a survey, which can be analyzed. The results of the analysis will answer the research question. A question that focuses on beliefs or ideologies often cannot be answered using social science methods because we cannot collect observations about things that are not empirical, meaning observations about the real world. While we can ask if people agree with a particular ideology like neoliberalism, for example, or if they believe in God, we cannot prove that God exists using ...

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