Social Research – Definition, Types and 9 Steps of Social Research (Detailed)

What is research in social studies?

Research in social studies refers to the systematic and organized investigation conducted to get new knowledge about social problems. 

It involves the collection and analysis of data to understand. And explain various aspects of human behavior, social interactions, and societal issues. 

The goal of social research is to discover cause-and-effect relationships, develop theories, and provide insights. It can be used to predict and potentially control events in society. 

Social research aims to solve social problems and contributes to the overall body of knowledge in the field of social sciences.

5 Definitions of Social Research 

J.W. Creswell said that “Social research is the systematic gathering of social events to understand and explain the social world in which we live.” 

Uwe Flick says that “Social research is any systematic investigation that aims to generate knowledge about social life and the social world. This includes the study of individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, and societies.”

Alan Bryman says that “Social research refers to systematic gathering that is used to understand social life. It involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data in order to create knowledge about a wide range of social events.” 

William M. Lepkoff says that “Social research is the systematic gathering, analysis, and interpretation of data about human activities, relationships, and institutions, scientific approach in order to produce and verify new knowledge, solve problems, and make right decisions.” 

Focus of Social Research

The focus of social research is to understand people and societies in order to design products and services that cater to their various needs. 

Social researchers aim to gain insights into human behavior, thoughts, and feedback about the social world. 

They investigate different socio-economic groups and their perspectives, beliefs, and values. Social research can be used by various topics such as new features, market trends, or technological advancements

The main goal is to gather information that can inform decision-making and improve the well-being of individuals and communities.

4 Main Types of Social Research 

There are four main types of social research: qualitative research, quantitative research, primary research, and secondary research.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a method of collecting data through open-ended and conversational discussions so that it is called Qualitative Research Method. 

It aims to understand the subjective experiences, perspectives, and meanings of individuals or groups

Qualitative research methods include ethnographic research, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, content analysis, and case study research.

Next, we will discuss.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research involves collecting and analyzing numerical data to draw conclusions and make generalizations so that it is called the Quantitative Research Method. 

It focuses on measuring and quantifying social phenomena. Quantitative research methods include surveys, polls, questionnaires, experiments, and statistical analysis.

Primary Research

Primary research is conducted by researchers themselves to gather first hand data so it is called the Primary Research Method. 

It involves designing and implementing research methods. Such as surveys or interviews, to collect data directly from participants. 

Primary research allows researchers to tailor their questions and methods to their specific research objectives.

Next, we will discuss.

Secondary Research

Secondary research involves using existing data that has been collected by other researchers or organizations so that it is called the Secondary Research Method. 

This data can include reports, articles, books, audio-visual materials, and online sources. Researchers analyze and compare this data to draw conclusions and gain insights into their research topic.

Each type of social research has its own strengths and limitations, and researchers often use a combination of methods to gain a comprehensive understanding of social phenomena.

Social Research is Important for Several Reasons

  1. Understanding human behavior: Social research helps us understand why people behave the way they do in different social settings. It allows us to study various social events, issues, and problems, and gain knowledge about them.
  1. Acquiring knowledge: Social research helps us acquire new knowledge about social problems. It allows us to gather information, analyze it, and draw conclusions based on empirical evidence. This knowledge helps to gain knowledge and helps us expand our understanding of the social world.
  1. Identifying functional relationships: Social research helps us identify the functional relationships that exist in social events. By studying and analyzing these relationships, we can gain insights into how different factors influence social behavior.
  1. Formulating solutions to social problems: Social research aims to find solutions to social problems. By studying and understanding the causes and effects of social issues. Researchers can develop strategies to address these problems and improve social well-being.
  1. Standardizing social concepts: Social research helps in standardization social concepts such as culture, struggle, generation gap, social distance, etc. By defining these concepts, we can have a common understanding and language to discuss and analyze social issues.
  1. Maintaining social organization: Social research helps in maintaining social organization by identifying and addressing social tensions, misconceptions, and conflicts. It provides insights into the dynamics of social relationships. And helps in promoting harmony among different groups in society.

Overall, social research plays a crucial role in advancing our understanding of human behavior, solving social problems, and improving the well-being of individuals and communities. 

It provides a scientific and systematic approach to studying and analyzing social phenomena, leading to evidence-based decision-making and policy formulation.

9 Steps of Social Research (Detailed)

The 9 detailed steps of social research are as follows:

  1. Sensing or realizing the problem: This step involves observing the situation and sensing that there is a problem or issue in the social environment. It may not be clear what exactly is happening. But there is a sense that things are not going smoothly.
  1. Problem identification: Once the problem is sensed, the researcher focuses on identifying the specific problem for the study. This step is important in ensuring that the research is relevant and focused.
  2. Theoretical framework/review of related literature: In this step, the researcher reviews existing studies and literature related to the problem. This helps in understanding what is already known and what gaps exist in the knowledge. It also helps in developing a theoretical framework for the study.
  1. Statement of hypothesis/objective: Based on the problem identification and theoretical framework, the researcher formulates a hypothesis for the study. This provides a clear direction for the research and guides the data collection and analysis.
  2. Selection of study scheme: The researcher selects the appropriate study scheme, such as a survey, case study, or feasibility study. This decision depends on the nature of the research problem and the available resources.
  1. Selection of organization/location for field study: If the research involves fieldwork, the researcher selects the organization or location where the study will be conducted. This step help that the research is conducted in a relevant and appropriate setting.
  1. Preparation for plan/data needs: The researcher prepares a plan for data collection, including the selection of data collection methods and instruments. This step also involves consulting relevant sources. Such as libraries or professors, to gather more information and finalize the research plan.
  1. Data collection: This step involves collecting data as per the research plan. Data can be obtained from primary sources (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations) or secondary sources (e.g., existing data, literature reviews). Fieldwork activities may also be conducted during this phase.
  1. Data analysis, interpretation, and report preparation: Once the data is collected, it is analyzed using statistical techniques. The results are interpreted, conclusions are drawn, and a report is prepared to communicate the findings of the research.

These nine steps provide a systematic and structured approach to conducting social research and ensure that the research is valid, and reliable.

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