The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects

By Martyn Denscombe | Go to book overview

Introduction

A book for 'project researchers'
Social research is no longer the concern of the small elite of professionals and full-time researchers. It has become the concern of a far greater number of people who are faced with the prospect of undertaking small-scale research projects as part of an academic course or as part of their professional development. It is these people who provide the main audience for this book.The aim of the book is to present these 'project researchers' with practical guidance and a vision of the key issues involved in social research. It attempts to provide project researchers with vital information that is easily accessible and which gets to the heart of the matter quickly and concisely. In doing this, the book is based on three premises:
1. Most of what needs to be known and done in relation to the production of competent social research can be stated in straightforward language.
2. The foundations of good social research depend on paying attention to certain elementary factors. If such factors are ignored or overlooked, the research will be open to criticism and serious questions may be raised about the quality of the findings. Good research depends on addressing these key points. The answers may vary from topic to topic, researcher to researcher. There may be no one 'right' answer, but the biggest possible guarantee of poor research is to ignore the issues.
3. Project researchers can safeguard against making elementary errors in the design and execution of their research by using a checklist approach, in which they assure themselves that they have attended to the 'minimum' requirements and have not overlooked crucial factors associated with the production of good research.

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The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vi
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Strategies for Social Research 3
  • 1: Surveys 6
  • 2: Case Studies 30
  • 3: Internet Research 41
  • 4: Experiments 61
  • 5: Action Research 73
  • 6: Ethnography 84
  • 7: Phenomenology 96
  • 8: Grounded Theory 109
  • Part II - Methods of Social Research 131
  • 9: Questionnaires 144
  • 10: Interviews 163
  • 11: Observation 192
  • 12: Documents 212
  • Part III - Analysis 231
  • 13: Quantitative Data 236
  • 14: Qualitative Data 267
  • 15: Writing Up the Research 284
  • Frequently Asked Questions 299
  • References 302
  • Index 307
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