Instruments of Social Research

By Alok, Kumar | Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, October 2011 | Go to article overview

Instruments of Social Research


Alok, Kumar, Indian Journal of Industrial Relations


INSTRUMENTS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH by Jaspal Singh, Rawat Publications, 2011, pp 312

Investigation into unknown can be daunting for young researchers. From topic selection to writing for publication, from conceptualizing the nature of unknown to unraveling an aspect of it through methods of science--there are enough pitfalls in the way to trap the inexperienced. The intellectual craft of stepping into unknown is best learnt through conducting research under expert supervision. Unfortunately experienced researchers are few and far between in India due to longstanding systemic apathy towards research. This book can be of timely help for young researchers. It is an attempt to initiate them into the life and craft of research in general and social research in particular.

It begins by discussing creativity as a key element of research. A researcher has to creatively conceptualize the research project, select methodology, apply methods, interpret findings and discuss their theoretical and practical implications. Concentration and patience are critical for maturation of creative ideas. The role of interpretation in social research is elucidated through reinterpretation of the 1857 'first war of freedom'. This serves as an apt background to discuss Max Weber's interpretative sociology.

The chapters on the meaning and characteristics of social research and scientific methods are a bit simplistic in their treatment. Readers are not adequately exposed to the paradigmatic and philosophical issues in social research. This doesn't allow an appropriate understanding of science to emerge. It is assumed that science arrives at truth and its methods produce 'sure-shot' results (:73). While it may be consistent with positivist approaches to science, it is not consistent with several alternative approaches such as interpretivism (Burrell & Morgan 1979). Popper (2002), the famous philosopher of science, insisted that scientific theories must be falsifiable. Methods of science produce tentative results that forever remain open to be proven false. Social construction of knowledge is a dominant discourse in modern social science.

Researchers encounter considerable problems in articulating their philosophical stand. A researcher's philosophical stand regarding reality and knowledge informs theoretical and methodological choices. Some discussions on these aspects could have greatly enhanced the value of this book. It takes a stand that "sociology is possible only as the practice of empirical social research" (:76); however, it often confuses empirical research with empiricism. Empiricism refers to a doctrine that knowledge derives from experience. It can only support inductive research where facts are generalized to build theory. On the other hand, empirical research can be deductive as well where a theory is tested against experience.

Chapters on inductive research are a delight to read. They are very well elaborated and insightfully discussed. Practical suggestions on using participant observation, interviews and questionnaires may benefit young and experienced researchers alike. Initial discussion on creativity is usefully leveraged. Students may read them carefully and then continue to refer during the course of their research. Inclusion of modern methods such as grounded theory research would have added considerable value.

Other useful chapters are on sampling and to an extent measurement and scaling. Processes of probability and nonprobability sampling are discussed in a lucid manner. Simplicity and witty nature of language makes comprehension much easier. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Instruments of Social Research
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.