Approaches to Social Research

Hardcover | August 20, 2009

byRoyce A. Singleton, Bruce C. Straits

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Revised and updated in its fifth edition, Approaches to Social Research is a rigorous yet clear and engaging introduction to research methods. Covering all of the fundamentals in a straightforward, student-friendly manner, it is ideal for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses across thesocial sciences and also serves as an indispensable guide for researchers. Striking a balance between specific techniques and the underlying logic of scientific inquiry, this book provides a lucid treatment of the four major approaches to research: experimentation, survey research, field research,and the use of available data. Richly developed examples of empirical research and an emphasis on the research process enable students to better understand the real-world application of research methods. The authors also offer a unique chapter (13) advocating a multiple-methods strategy.

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From the Publisher

Revised and updated in its fifth edition, Approaches to Social Research is a rigorous yet clear and engaging introduction to research methods. Covering all of the fundamentals in a straightforward, student-friendly manner, it is ideal for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses across thesocial sciences and also serves as an indispen...

Royce A. Singleton, Jr. is Professor of Sociology at the College of the Holy Cross. Bruce C. Straits is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

other books by Royce A. Singleton

The Process of Social Research
The Process of Social Research

Paperback|Jul 13 2015


Format:HardcoverDimensions:672 pages, 9.3 × 6.2 × 1.6 inPublished:August 20, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195372980

ISBN - 13:9780195372984

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Chapters 2-17 end with a Summary.Preface1. IntroductionWhy Study Research Methods?Consuming Research EvidenceProducing Research EvidenceMethodological Approaches to the Social WorldSome Preliminary Research QuestionsAn Experimental AnswerAn Answer from Survey ResearchAn Answer from Field ResearchAn Answer from Available DataConclusionsAn Overview of the BookPart I. The Scientific and Ethical Contexts of Social Research2. The Nature of ScienceThe Aim of ScienceScience as ProductScientific versus Nonscientific QuestionsKnowledge as DescriptionKnowledge as Explanation and PredictionKnowledge as UnderstandingTentative KnowledgeScience as ProcessDurkheim's Study of SuicideLogical ReasoningEmpiricismObjectivityControlScience: Ideal versus Reality3. Research EthicsData Collection and AnalysisTreatment of Human SubjectsHarmInformed ConsentDeceptionPrivacyMaking Ethical DecisionsThe Uses of Research: Science and SocietyThe Issue of Value NeutralityThe Application of Research FindingsPart II. Research Design4. Elements of Research DesignOrigins of Research TopicsUnits of AnalysisAggregate DataEcological FallacyVariablesTypes of VariablesRelationshipsRelationships among Qualitative VariablesRelationships among Quantitative VariablesRelationships between a Qualitative and a Quantitative VariableStatistically Significant RelationshipsThe Nature of Causal RelationshipsFormulating Questions and HypothesesResearch Purposes and Research DesignStages of Social ResearchStage 1: Formulation of the Research QuestionStage 2: Preparation of the Research DesignStage 3: MeasurementStage 4: SamplingStage 5: Data CollectionStage 6: Data ProcessingStage 7: Data Analysis and Interpretation5. MeasurementThe Measurement ProcessConceptualizationOperationalizationOperational Definitions in Social ResearchVerbal ReportsObservationArchival RecordsSelection of Operational DefinitionsLevels of MeasurementNominal MeasurementOrdinal MeasurementInterval MeasurementRatio MeasurementDiscussionReliability and ValiditySources of ErrorReliability AssessmentTest-Retest ReliablittySplit-half and Internal Consistency ReliabilityIntercoder ReliabilityImproving ReliabilityValidity AssessmentSubjective ValidationCriterion-Related ValidationConstruct ValidationA Final Note on Reliability and Validity6. SamplingWhy Sample?Population DefinitionSampling DesignsProbability SamplingRandom SelectionSimple Random SamplingStratified Randon SamplingCluster SamplingSystematic SamplingNonprobability SamplingConvenience SamplingPurposive SamplingQuota SamplingOther Sampling DesignsCombined Probability and Nonprobability SamplingReferral SamplingFactors Affecting Choice of Sampling DesignStage of Research and Data UseAvailable ResourcesMethod of Data CollectionFactors Determining Sample SizePopulation HeterogeneityDesired PrecisionSampling DesignAvailable ResourcesNumber of Breakdowns PlannedFinal Notes on Sampling Errors and GeneralizabilityPart III. Methods of Data Collection7. ExperimentationThe Logic of ExperimentationTesting Causal RelationshipsMatching and Random AssignmentInternal and External ValiditySampling in ExperimentsStaging ExperimentsAn Example: Who Will Intervene?Subject Recruitment and Acquistiion of Informed ConsentIntroduction to the ExperimentThe Experimental ManipulationManipulation ChecksMeasurement of the Dependent VariableDebriefingPretestingExperimental and Mundane RealismThe Experiment as a Social OccasionDemand CharacteristicsEvaluation ApprehensionOther Motives of Experimental SubjectsExperimenter EffectsMinimizing Bias Due to the Social Nature of ExperimentationExperimentation Outside the LaboratoryField ExperimentsExperimental Designs in Survey ResearchUnits of Analysis Other than Individuals8. Experimental DesignsThreats to Internal ValidityPre-experimental DesignsDesign 1: The One-Shot Case StudyDesign 2: The One-Group Pretest-Posttest DesignDesign 3: The Static-Group ComparisonTrue Experimental DesignsDesign 4: The Pretest-Posttest Control Group StudyDesign 5: The Posttest-Only Control Group DesignDesign 6: The Solomon Four-Group DesignWithin-Subjects DesignOverview of True Experimental DesignsFactorial Experimental DesignsInteraction EffectsQuasi-experimental DesignsExample 1: Interracial Attitudes and Behavior at a Summer CampExample 2: The Connecticut Crackdown on Speeding9. Survey ResearchGeneral Features of Survey ResearchLarge-Scale Probability SamplingSystematic Procedures: Interviews and QuestionnairesQuantitative Data AnalysisSecondary Analysis of SurveysThe Uses and Limitations of SurveysSurvey Research DesignsCross-Sectional DesignsLongitudinal DesignsSteps in Survey Research: PlanningFace-to-Face and Telephone InterviewingFace-to-Face InterviewingTelephone InterviewingPaper-and-Pencil Mailed QuestionnairesComputer-Assisted InterviewsMixed-Mode SurveysField AdministrationInterviewer SelectionInterviewer TrainingPretestingGaining AccessInterviewingSupervision and Quality ControlFollow-Up Efforts10. Survey InstrumentationThe Survey as a Social OccasionMaterials Available to the Survey DesignerOpen-Ended and Closed-Ended QuestionsDirect and Indirect QuestionsResponse FormatsVisual and Media AidsExisting Questions"Sketches" or PreliminariesThe OpeningThe Placement of Sensitive and Routine QuestionsOrder, Flow, and TransitionFilling in the Sketch: Writing the ItemsUsing Language EffectivelyThe "Frame of Reference" ProblemReason AnalysisMemory ProblemsResponse Bias ProblemsFormat ConsiderationsMixed-Mode Instrument DesignsPretestingCognitive Laboratory InterviewsField Pretesting Summary11. Field ResearchThe Potentials and Limitations of Field ResearchResearch Design and SamplingSampling in Field ResearchField ObservationNonparticipant ObservationParticipant ObservationField InterviewingStages of Field ResearchA Field Study of the HomelessSelecting a Research SettingGaining AccessPresenting OneselfGathering InformationAnalyzing the Data12. Research Using Available DataSources of Available DataPublic Documents and Official RecordsPrivate DocumentsMass MediaPhysical, Nonverbal EvidenceSocial Science Data ArchivesAdvantages of Research Using Available DataNonreactive MeasurementAnalyzing Social StructureStudying and Understanding the PastUnderstanding Social ChangeStudying Problems Cross-CulturallyImproving Knowledge Through Replication and Increased Sample SizeSavings on Research CostsGeneral Methodological Issues in Available-Data ResearchSearching for and Procuring Available DataMeasurement of Key ConceptsEvaluation and Adjustment of DataAssessment of Data CompletenessHistorical AnalysisDescriptive and Analytical HistoryHandling Documentary EvidenceHistorical InterpretationContent AnalysisSelecting and Defining Content CategoriesDefining the Unit of AnalysisDeciding on a System of EnumerationCarrying Out the Analysis13. Multiple MethodsTriangulationMultiple Measures of Concepts within the Same StudyComposite Measures: Indexes and ScalesStructural Equation ModelingMultiple Tests of Hypotheses across Different StudiesReplications Using the Same Research Strategy: Social Exclusion and HelpingReplications Using Different Effects of ArrestReplications Using Different Research Strategies II: Effect of Abuse on Marriage and CohabitationA Comparison of the Four Basic Approaches to Social ResearchMeta-AnalysisProblem FormulationData CollectionData EvaluationAnalysis and InterpretationPublic Presentation14. Evaluation ResearchFramework and Sample StudiesExample: 1: Feeding the HomelessExample 2: Aid to Released PrisonersExample 3: Curbing Drunk DrivingTypes of Evaluation ResearchProblem Identification: Conceptualization and DiagnosisPolicy Planning: Needs and Social Impact AssessmentsProgram Development: Formative EvaluationProgram Implementaion: Program MonitoringProgram Evaluation: Effect and Efficiency AssessmentMethodological Issues in Evaluation ResearchTheory as a Guide to ResearchResearch Design and Internal ValidityMeasurement ValidityExternal ValidityThe Social and Political Context of Evaluation ResearchPart IV. Data Processing, Analysis and Interpretation15. Data Processing and Elementary Data AnalysisPreview of Analysis StepsData ProcessingEditingCodingEntering the DataCleaningData Matrices and DocumentationThe Functions of Statistics in Social ResearchInspecting and Modifying the DataNominal- and Ordinal-Scale VariablesInterval- and Ratio-Scale VariablesPreliminary Hypothesis TestingNominal- and Ordinal-Scale VariablesInterval- and Ratio-Scale Variables16. Multivariate AnalysisModeling RelationshipsArrow DiagramsStochastic and Systematic ComponentsThe Process of ModelingElaboration: Tables and BeyondMultiple-Regression AnalysisExample 1: The Moral Integration of American CitiesExample 2: Interscholastic Sports and Academic AchievementExample 3: Textile Workers and Union SentimentOther Modeling Techniques17. Writing Research ReportsSearching the LiteratureUsing the InternetUsing the LibraryOutlining and Preparing to WriteMajor HeadingsThe AbstractIntroductionLiterature ReviewMethodsFindingsDiscussionReferencesOther ConsiderationsThe Writing-Reading InterfaceAvoiding PlagiarismRevisionsLengthGlossaryReferencesName IndexSubject Index