The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects

By Martyn Denscombe | Go to book overview

Part I

Strategies for social
research

The process of putting together a piece of good research is not something that can be done by slavishly following a set of edicts about what is right and wrong. In practice, the social researcher is faced with a variety of options aridalternatives and has to make strategic decisions about which to choose. Each choice brings with it a set of assumptions about the social world it investigates. Each choice brings with it a set of advantages and disadvantages. Gains in one direction will bring with them losses in another, and the social researcher has to live with this.

There is no 'one right' direction to take. There are, though, some strategies which are better suited than others for tackling specific issues. In practice, good social research is a matter of 'horses for courses', where approaches are selected because they are appropriate for specific aspects of investigation and specific kinds of problems. They are chosen as 'fit for purpose'. The crucial thing for good research is that the choices are reasonable and that they are made explicit as part of any research report.

Key decisions about the strategy and methods to be used are usually taken before the research begins. When you have embarked on a particular approach

Horses for courses
Approaches are selected because they are appropriate for specific aspects of investigation and specific kinds of problems.
'Strategic' decisions aim at putting the social researcher in the best possible position to gain the best outcome from the research
In good research the choices are (a)reasonable and (b) made explicit as part of any research report

-3-

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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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