A Guide to Commonly Used Methods in Social Science Research

Social Science Research

Social science research often includes both qualitative, as well as quantitative approaches. Within the social science schools, several social science subjects are being taught these days. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Economics
  2. Sociology
  3. Psychology
  4. Law
  5. Linguistics
  6. Politics
  7. Anthropology
  8. Archaeology
  9. History, and many more.

But irrespective of the discipline, commonly used methods in social sciences are of two types. The first is that of the qualitative method, whereas the second is one quantitative method. Apart from these, some researchers use a third type, namely the mixed research method. They make use of this type for increasing the authenticity of their research. According to experts of dissertation writing services, analysis techniques in these social science researches also vary based on the type of data.

 Qualitative Methods Of Social Science Research

When conducting a qualitative research method, there is an important aspect to note. This relates to the raw data being in a textual form. Qualitative researchers never sort data in the form of numbers or figures. So depending upon the social science research method, researchers must adopt an appropriate data collection method. Hence primary, as well as secondary data collection both are useful for gathering qualitative data.

Still, open-ended questionnaires are the most common primary technique used for collecting qualitative data. But secondary data collection often occurs through web-based sources. Table 1 guides you on all the necessary techniques for conducting qualitative research successfully. In this context of raw data processing, NVivo, as well as AMOS, are the most important aspects.

Step By Step Guide To Qualitative Social Sciences Researches

The following research methods will be most appropriate for your qualitative research.

 Table 1:Step for qualitative methods of social science research
Research philosophy Interpretivism
Research approaches Inductive
Methods of data collection Primary, as well as secondary
Sample size Must be small
Data analysis techniques For primary data, discourse analysis, as well as thematic, or narrative analysis, are common.

For secondary data, you can select any of the following:

  • Systematic literature review
  • Meta-analysis
  • Grounded theory
  • Comparative analysis
  • Case study
Tool for analysing qualitative data For primary data

  • NVivo as well as AMOS

For secondary data

  • NVivo

 Quantitative Methods Of Social Science Research

Like qualitative researches, quantitative researches have their own method as well. Before starting quantitative Social Science Research, the availability of data in the form of digits is a necessary aspect. You cannot use the responses, or textual form of data here either. The collection of quantitative data can also be done by using primary, as well as secondary sources. Still, many statistical tools are common for processing raw quantitative data. Among them, the most common one is that of SPSS. For further details, please visit Table 2. This table will act as a quantitative research method roadmap.

Step By Step Guide To Qualitative Social Sciences Researches

The following research methods will be most appropriate for your qualitative research;

 Table 2: Step for quantitative methods of social science research
Research philosophy Positivism
Research approaches Deductive
Methods of data collection Primary, as well as Secondary. Can be based on any of the following;

  • Questionnaires
  • Survey
  • Observations
  • Experiment
  • Industrial reports
  • Finance reports
Sample size Often large
Data analysis techniques
  • Regression
  • Correlation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Statistical analysis
Tool for analysing quantitative data
  • SPSS
  • STATA
  • EXCEL
  • NVivo
  • AMOS
  • EViews

 

 Mixed Methods Of Social Science Research

There’s no doubt that qualitative, as well as quantitative methods, are the most common ones. But still, we cannot neglect the importance of a mixed methodology, especially in the literature review. The mixed method of social science researches is of little importance. This may be because it takes too much time to complete the research. In contrast, the student often has to complete the whole research in an academic year. So the mixed method often goes out of schedule due to this aspect.

In mixed methods, researchers conduct both types of data. They design open-ended, as well fixed-choice questionnaires for collecting data. The open-ended questionnaires provide researchers with qualitative data. For this, they have to use qualitative analysis techniques like thematic analysis. On the other hand, fixed-choice questions gather numerical data. The processing of this data needs tools such as that of SPSS. Few essentials of the mixed method social science research are given in Table 3. You can follow it for navigating your research path.

Table 3: Step for mixed methods of social science research
Research philosophy Pragmatism
Research approaches Deductive, and inductive both
Methods of data collection Primary, as well as secondary
Sample size Large
Data analysis techniques Both qualitative, as well as quantitative: Mixed
Tool for analysing mixed data Both qualitative, as well as quantitative: Mixed