Research Basics: Design to Data Analysis in Six Steps offers a fresh and creative approach to the research process based on author James V. Spickard’s decades of teaching experience. Using an intuitive six–step model, readers learn how to craft a research question and then identify a logical process for answering it. Conversational writing and multi–disciplinary examples illuminate the model’s simplicity and power, effectively connecting the “hows” and “whys” behind social science research. Students using this book will learn how to turn their research questions into results.

Surveying: Shallow Opinions, Identities, and Reports of Acts

Type of Data


Reports of acts, behavior, or events


Opinions and attitudes (shallow)

Cultural knowledge

Data Collection Method






Many research projects ask people questions. Most of these projects fall into one of two categories. If we want to question a lot of people and don’t need much depth from any of them, we use a survey. If, however, we want depth and are willing to settle for talking to fewer folks, we use interviews. Interviews let us pay attention to the details of each person’s ideas. Surveys skim the surface. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages.

This chapter and the next will focus on these different ways to ask people questions. Chapter 8 covers surveys and Chapter 9 covers interviews. I’ve separated ...

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