Reviews

Designing Social Research — A Guide for the Bewildered

HOW TO design social research may be challenging for students but in this publication the author highlights the strengths and limitations of different approaches and advises on process and procedure.

The author’s experience of teaching research methods guides the reader through the vocabulary and philosophy of social research. The text is divided into 12 chapters which present research methods in a multidisciplinary, multiperspective way.

Chapters cover topics such as reviewing existing research, quantitative and qualitative research challenges, principles of quantitative research design, the meaning of ethnography and design of studies. Two of the chapters cover advanced topics, causality and the role of time and control in social research. The final chapter summarises the book’s overall argument.

Within each chapter there are subheadings for the reader to see the information covered at a glance. The author ends each chapter with a discussion or debate about a piece of research and five important points to remember, and the glossary lists concise definitions of unfamiliar terms.

I agree with the author’s avoidance of excessive citation as this makes the text clearer for students.

...

The author’s experience of teaching research methods guides the reader through the vocabulary and philosophy of social research. The text is divided into 12 chapters which present research methods in a multidisciplinary, multiperspective way.

Chapters cover topics such as reviewing existing research, quantitative and qualitative research challenges, principles of quantitative research design, the meaning of ethnography and design of studies. Two of the chapters cover advanced topics, causality and the role of time and control in social research. The final chapter summarises the book’s overall argument.

Within each chapter there are subheadings for the reader to see the information covered at a glance. The author ends each chapter with a discussion or debate about a piece of research and five important points to remember, and the glossary lists concise definitions of unfamiliar terms.

I agree with the author’s avoidance of excessive citation as this makes the text clearer for students. He encourages the reader to work through issues systematically and to select methods most suited to their design.

This publication is easy to navigate and avoids excessive jargon but has sufficient depth to make it valuable to social researchers and students. It is suitable for undergraduates planning research projects, doctoral students and anyone involved in putting together research grant submissions.

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