What are the essentials for undergraduates and postgraduates engaged in quantitative and qualitative research? How can the gap between formulating a research question and carrying out research be bridged? This accessible, well-judged text provides students with a matchless introduction to generic research skills. It is uncluttered, direct and unpatronizing. Key features of the book are: - Accessibility - Clarification of key issues and problem solving guidance - Demonstration of the importance of interplay between theory and research - Realism in defining essential research issues and the problems that researchers encounter. `It is not the case that anyone can do social research", most research requires training. Here Malcolm Williams provides such training.. Helpful and often humorous' - Roger Sapsford, University of Teesside"

Science and Commitment in Social Research

In this chapter:

  • The difference between the natural and social world
  • Science and art in social research
  • Positivism and anti-positivism
  • Methodological pluralism in research
  • Normative and objective approaches
  • Values and bias in social research

Social research, unlike natural science disciplines, investigates the activities, beliefs, values and situations of other human beings. Though natural science is also a human activity and its agenda and social relations are shaped by human concerns, its subject matter is not. Gravity discriminates against no one and its effects are not subject to human redefinition or opinion. Many of the things social researchers investigate are. They are socially constructed and subject to redefinition. What counts as poverty now is not the same as in the past and definitions of it will vary ...

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