NEW TO THIS EDITION: Discussion of the philosophy of science as the underlying foundation of methodological thinking includes naturalism and constructionism. Expanded focus on research ethics and the importance of samples in social research helps researchers produce higher quality research that adheres to common standards. Explicit attention is given to both designing research and evaluating the research of others. KEY FEATURES: An interdisciplinary approach with examples in criminology/criminal justice, sociology, political science/international relations, and social work gives readers a range of ways to comprehend the material. A balanced account of theoretical perspectives provides students with an unbiased and informed presentation of the material. An emphasis on conveying the logic and general principles of social research design is reflected in minimal technical details for maximum clarity.

Data Generation Techniques

Social research of all varieties requires data: What our senses tell us about the world. This chapter is about ways to go about obtaining data. Think of these as tools in the methods tool kit: Different ways of generating data are similar to carpenters’ tools in that just as hammers, saws, and screwdrivers each are designed for some purposes and not others, each data generation technique produces specific kinds of data that can answer some research questions and not others.

I will begin with a note about terminology. It is most common to talk about ways of collecting data, yet that encourages thinking that data are like rocks waiting for researchers to pick them up. This ignores the methodological thinking required to ...

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