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Social research

Research conducted by social scientists / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Social research is research conducted by social scientists following a systematic plan. Social research methodologies can be classified as quantitative and qualitative.[1]

  • Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analyses of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to create valid and reliable general claims. Related to quantity.
  • Qualitative designs emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation, communication with participants, or analyses of texts, and may stress contextual subjective accuracy over generality. Related to quality.

Most methods contain elements of both. For example, qualitative data analysis often involves a fairly structured approach to coding raw data into systematic information and quantifying intercoder reliability.[2] There is often a more complex relationship between "qualitative" and "quantitative" approaches than would be suggested by drawing a simple distinction between them.

Social scientists employ a range of methods in order to analyze a vast breadth of social phenomena: from analyzing census survey data derived from millions of individuals, to conducting in-depth analysis of a single agent's social experiences; from monitoring what is happening on contemporary streets, to investigating historical documents. Methods rooted in classical sociology and statistics have formed the basis for research in disciplines such as political science and media studies. They are also often used in program evaluation and market research.

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