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.

Finding Hidden Social Patterns: In Life, Texts, and Popular Culture

Type of Data

Finding Hidden Patterns

Hidden social patterns

Data Collection Method

Detached observation


Ethnography (participant observation)


Content analysis


Discourse (or narrative) analysis


Grounded theory


Chapter 11 discussed how to learn things by observing people, animals, and the natural world. With people, observation lets us discover personal and social patterns. With animals, we observe behavior, some of it social. Natural phenomena are not social but are ripe for observation just the same.

The present chapter focuses on humans. We’ll look at various ways to collect data about hidden social patterns. Detached observation is one such method, because it can reveal patterns of human behavior of which the participants are unaware. We covered it in Chapter 11, so we won’t cover it here. We’ll address ...

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