- Chapter 2 The Process and Problems of Social Research 14:52 Process of Social Research Specifying a research question Developing an appropriate

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Chapter 2 : The Process and Problems of Social Research 14:52 Process of Social Research Specifying a research question Developing an appropriate research strategy Choosing appropriate units of analysis Conforming to scientific and ethical guidelines What is the question? In social research, we are interested in understanding relationships among  different social phenomena A social research question is a question about the social world that you seek  to answer through the collection and analysis of verifiable, empirical data o Example : Does high school performance predict college performance? Where do social research questions come from? A researcher’s own experience  o Do you think class rank, SAT scores and high school grades are a fair way  to assess someone’s preparation for college? Other research: o What do other studies show about test scores (or other aspects of high  school performance) as predictors of how people will do in college? o Are those studies generalizable to people we are interested in? Might be out of date Might pertain only to some groups of students or locations Other sources of research questions?
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Social theory: o Why might we expect high school and college performance to be  correlated? o Do test scores and high school grades measure relevant skills used in  college? Request from an agency: o Should the SATs be redesigned to measure different skills and concepts,  or to measure them differently?  What makes a research question “good”? When planning your own research question, consider these three factors for  whether it is a question worth pursuing Feasibility Can you start and finish an investigation with available resources and in the  time allotted? o If you are investigating a new topic, it takes time to become familiar with  the existing literature. o If you are collecting new data, that Takes longer than using existing data. Can be quite expensive Must submit for IRB review, which can take months! o If you are using new methods, it takes time to learn them well. o If you are writing a full-year thesis. You can accomplish more than in a 1- semester paper.  o Social importance Will the answer make a difference in the social world?
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o Will it informal social policy or social programs? o Will it matter to people, even if it only helps them understand the problem? o
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This note was uploaded on 07/03/2011 for the course PUBLIC HEA 305 taught by Professor Sherry during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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- Chapter 2 The Process and Problems of Social Research 14:52 Process of Social Research Specifying a research question Developing an appropriate

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