Research Methods for the Social Sciences: Introduction (02:10)
Sociologist John Houghton, social worker Ruth McRoy, and education researcher Jack Austin describe research areas in their respective fields.
Scientific Method (03:37)
Psychological research uses the scientific method, maximizing control and excluding random variables. The scientific method involves seven basic steps. Experts provide examples of the first two: problem definition and review.
Hypothesis Formulation (03:30)
View definitions for hypothesis, dependent, and independent variables. Open ended research may require formulating a hypothesis after data collection. Anthropologist Laura Lein determined variables by interacting with people in an elementary school setting. Sarah Sitton describes investigating the impact of a role model on choosing desserts in a cafeteria.
Research Method Selection (01:39)
Choosing an appropriate research design is crucial for validating cause and effect conclusions. View definitions of population and sample. Methods include experiment, observational study, surveys, interviews, and participant observation. Conclusions also depend on data quality.
Experiment and Observational Study (03:07)
Experiments study relationships under controlled conditions; researchers divide subjects into experimental and control groups. An observational study examines a group, event, or social process analyzed for cause and effect relationships. Learn advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.
Surveys yield information about a large population through a small portion of that population; hear advantages and disadvantages. Experts discuss random sampling and how surveys are used in the court system.
Interviews are usually conducted on a one-to-one basis and can follow a list or be open ended. They provide in-depth information, but are time consuming and expensive. Interviews for historical research are different from other social science fields.
Participant Observation (02:03)
In participant observation, researchers become directly involved in the social behavior under study. Katie Stewart describes working in a coal mining community. Researchers can study people in their natural environment, but must balance participant and observer roles.
Analyzing Results and Conclusion (03:33)
In experiments and surveys, researchers can use common statistical concepts. Research reports summarize the scientific method steps and relate findings to previously published research. Hear examples of conclusions.
Research Ethics (04:39)
Researchers should avoid harm to participants, protect personal privacy, obtain signed informed consent, apply research ethically, avoid deception, and avoid plagiarism. The social sciences attempt to contribute to human progress.
Credits: Research Methods for the Social Sciences (00:51)
Credits: Research Methods for the Social Sciences
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