Research Methods in Social Sciences
Research methods are the cornerstones of social science research. The role of research methods is to provide a complete journey that the researcher travelled. Just like any laboratory experiment has specific steps followed when doing experiments, social science research has a set of steps and procedures necessary to follow when executing a research.
The Research Methodology Chapter
In most institutions and journal article publishing firms, research methods section is usually placed in chapter three. This chapter provides the researcher with an opportunity to identify and justify various methodological choices to be used in carrying out the study. The chapter identifies the methods, approaches and techniques that will be used to collect, analyze and interpret data about a given phenomenon. The following are the main sections of a research methodology chapter.
This is a short paragraph that tells the reader what the chapter is all about. It introduces the research methods chapter and highlights key areas or aspects that will be discussed in the chapter. Use your introduction to inform the reader your methodological choices before they open more pages.
Scientific research are guided by various research philosophies (beliefs and assumptions about how a given research should be carried out). A research philosophy that a researcher selects determines the entire research design including the sources and instruments of data collection.
In research methods, research design includes all methods and procedures that will be used to collect and analyze measures of the variables specified in the research problem. Although most books and researchers organize the research design into several subsections, other institutions allow all other aspects to be discussed under the research design section. The research design helps in identifying the approaches (deductive or inductive), strategies (experiment, case study, action research, grounded theory, etc), choices (mono, mixed and multi) and time horizons (cross-sectional and longitudinal).
Data Collection, Analysis and Presentation
This is now the epicenter of the research methods chapter. The researcher uses this section to identify the population, sample and sampling procedures/techniques. Moreover, the instruments of data collection are identified and justified. The procedures that the researcher will follow when accessing the target population become evident in this section of the research methods. After the researcher has collected data, there are procedures followed to analyze it ranging from data screening, data entry and analysis of outputs. Additionally, data analyzed will require to be presented in the final deliverable. The researcher uses the research methods chapter to give clarity relating to the actual processes.
All research methods must identify the ethical concerns that will arise during the course of research and how the researcher will address them. Research involves living organisms such as animals and human beings; hence, these must be protected to ensure their rights are not infringed. One way of ensuring that no one is hurt during the course of a research is by strictly adhering to the ethical requirements of research. The most common areas of ethical considerations of social science research include confidentiality, anonymity, informed consent and data safety.