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What is Social Research?

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definition - SOCIAL RESEARCH

Basic research frequently provides the foundation for subsequent applied research, and applied research often influences the direction of basic research. For purposes of this definition, the term "behavioral" refers to overt actions; to underlying psychological processes such as cognition, emotion, temperament, and motivation; and to biobehavioral interactions.

The term "social" encompasses sociocultural, socioeconomic, and sociodemographic status; to biosocial interactions; and to the various levels of social context from small groups to complex cultural systems and societal influences. The core areas of behavioral and social sciences research are those that have a major and explicit focus on the understanding of behavioral or social processes, or on the use of these processes to predict or influence health outcomes or health risk factors.

These core areas of research are divided into basic or fundamental research and applied research. As is the case with basic biomedical research, basic behavioral and social sciences research does not address disease outcomes per se. Rather, it is designed to elucidate knowledge about underlying mechanisms and processes, knowledge that is fundamental to improving the understanding, explanation, observation, prediction, prevention, and management of illnesses, as well as the promotion of optimal health and well being.

Basic behavioral and social research is divided into three categories: A research on behavioral and social processes; B biopsychosocial research; and C research on methodology and measurement in the behavioral and social sciences. Research on behavioral and social processes involves the study of human or animal functioning at the level of the individual, small group, institution, organization, community, or population. At the individual level, this research may involve the study of behavioral factors such as cognition, memory, language, perception, personality, emotion, motivation, and others.

At higher levels of aggregation, it includes the study of social variables such as the structure and dynamics of small groups e. Research on behavioral and social processes also includes the study of the interactions within and between these two levels of aggregation, such as the influence of sociocultural factors on cognitive processes or emotional responses.

Finally, this research also includes the study of environmental factors both natural and human created such as climate, noise, environmental hazards, residential and other built environments and their effects on behavioral and social functioning. Examples of research topics and their implications that are or could be funded by NIH Institutes and Centers include:. Sensation and perception Implications: Emotion and motivation Implications: Vulnerability and resilience Implications: Attention, learning and memory Implications: Social influences and social cognition Implications: Family processes and social networks Implications: Sociocultural and environmental processes, population dynamics Implications: Biopsychosocial research also known as biobehavioral or biosocial research involves the study of the interactions of biological factors with behavioral or social variables and how they affect each other i.

Examples of research topics and their implications that are or could be funded by the institutes include:. Gene by environment interactions, including epigenetic effects, over time and lifespan developmental phases Implications: Behavioral, cognitive, social and economic neurosciences Implications: Social Networks and the spread of vectors of disease Implications: This process recurs endlessly. According to Pauline V. Stating it still differently, social research seeks to find explanations to unexplained social phenomena to clarify the doubtful and correct the misconceived fact of social life.

Research is carried on in the social field not just with academic interests. It has both academic and non-academic purposes and importance. Importance of research can be briefly stated here. Research provides practical clues, to undertake measures that lead to social improvement, social change and social progress. Research helps us to know the nature and the magnitude of the problems.

Research can also be divided into pure research and applied research. Pure research has no application on real life, whereas applied research attempts to influence the real world. There are no laws in social science that parallel the laws in the natural science. A fact is an observed phenomenon , and observation means it has been seen, heard or otherwise experienced by researcher.

A theory is a systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of social life. Concepts are the basic building blocks of theory and are abstract elements representing classes of phenomena. Axioms or postulates are basic assertions assumed to be true. Propositions are conclusions drawn about the relationships among concepts, based on analysis of axioms.

Hypotheses are specified expectations about empirical reality which are derived from propositions. Social research involves testing these hypotheses to see if they are true. Social research involves creating a theory, operationalization measurement of variables and observation actual collection of data to test hypothesized relationship.

Social theories are written in the language of variables, in other words, theories describe logical relationships between variables. Variables are logical sets of attributes, with people being the 'carriers' of those variables for example, gender can be a variable with two attributes: Variables are also divided into independent variables data that influences the dependent variables which scientists are trying to explain.

For example, in a study of how different dosages of a drug are related to the severity of symptoms of a disease, a measure of the severity of the symptoms of the disease is a dependent variable and the administration of the drug in specified doses is the independent variable. Researchers will compare the different values of the dependent variable severity of the symptoms and attempt to draw conclusions. When social scientists speak of "good research" the focus is on how the research is done — whether the research is methodologically sound — rather than on whether the results of the research are consistent with personal biases or preconceptions.

Glenn Firebaugh summarizes the principles for good research in his book Seven Rules for Social Research. The first rule is that "There should be the possibility of surprise in social research.

In addition, good research will "look for differences that make a difference" Rule 2 and "build in reality checks" Rule 3. Rule 4 advises researchers to replicate, that is, "to see if identical analyses yield similar results for different samples of people" p.

The next two rules urge researchers to "compare like with like" Rule 5 and to "study change" Rule 6 ; these two rules are especially important when researchers want to estimate the effect of one variable on another e. The final rule, "Let method be the servant, not the master," reminds researchers that methods are the means, not the end, of social research; it is critical from the outset to fit the research design to the research issue, rather than the other way around.

Explanations in social theories can be idiographic or nomothetic. An idiographic approach to an explanation is one where the scientists seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or event, i.

Nomothetic explanations tend to be more general with scientists trying to identify a few causal factors that impact a wide class of conditions or events.

For example, when dealing with the problem of how people choose a job, idiographic explanation would be to list all possible reasons why a given person or group chooses a given job, while nomothetic explanation would try to find factors that determine why job applicants in general choose a given job.

The ethics of social research are shared with those of medical research. In the United States, these are formalized by the Belmont report as:. The principle of respect for persons holds that a individuals should be respected as autonomous agents capable of making their own decisions, and that b subjects with diminished autonomy deserve special considerations.

The principle of beneficence holds that a the subjects of research should be protected from harm, and b the research should bring tangible benefits to society.

By this definition, research with no scientific merit is automatically considered unethical. The principle of justice states the benefits of research should be distributed fairly.

The definition of fairness used is case-dependent, varying between " 1 to each person an equal share, 2 to each person according to individual need, 3 to each person according to individual effort, 4 to each person according to societal contribution, and 5 to each person according to merit. Statistical — quantitative methods. The origin of the survey can be traced back at least early as the Domesday Book in , [ 5 ] [ 6 ] whilst some scholars pinpoint the origin of demography to with the publication of John Graunt 's Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality.

While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality.


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Meaning of Social Research. Social Research is a composite of two words “re means again” and search which means to find or to dig or to discover. So the whole word means a process of finding or digging again & again. Literally, research means investigation undertaken in order to discover new facts or additional information.

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Social Research is a scientific approach of adding to the knowledge about society and social phenomena. Knowledge to be meaningful should have a definite purpose and direction. The growth of knowledge is closely linked to the methods and approaches used in research investigation.

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Social science research allows us to understand the whys and hows of human behavior. The research must follow the five steps of the scientific method which include asking a question, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, drawing a conclusion, and evaluating those conclusions. Social research aims to find social patterns of regularity in social life and usually deals with social groups (aggregates of individuals), not individuals themselves (although science of psychology is an exception here).

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Definition of Social Research: 1. According to Pauline, “ social research is a systematic method of exploring, analysing and conceptualising social life in order to “extend, correct, or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in the construction of a theory or in the practice of an art.”. Social research now can be defined as the systematic and objective analysis and recording of controlled observations that may lead .