The various types of Social Science Research
Social science is an umbrella term that refers to the plurality of disciplines that facilitate the study of society such as anthropology, sociology, economics, psychology, political science and in some contexts history, geography and law. Social science research can basically fall into more than three categories. The three broad categories of research in social science that an essay writer should know are are quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.
Quantitative research in social sciences usually involves collecting and analyzing that is relevant to a given research problem and converting it into numerical form so that mathematical and statistical calculations can be made. The conclusion of this type of research is therefore based on such statistical calculations. Qualitative research on the other hand involves the collection of data that can help uncover the deeper meaning of human behavior and experience. Notably, qualitative research doesn’t necessarily aims at generalizing the findings of a given study to a larger population.
Mixed methods are yet another approach of social science research. This pragmatic approach involves using the methods most suitable in collecting and analyzing particular type of data without necessarily worrying much whether the method falls under qualitative or quantitative methods. This type of research appreciates that both qualitative and quantitative research methods can complement each other if utilized properly. This type of approach has a great advantage of triangulation. Triangulation is one of the ways of ensuring credibility of your research and it includes among other things; the use of multiple theories to interpret the results, the use of variety of data sources, the use of multiple methods to study a given research problem and the use of different researchers.
Research in social science can also be classified as basic research, applied research and action research. Basic research is the research that is carried out for the sake of the knowledge. This type of research normally tends to lead to theoretical development which may or may not have a practical application. The results of this type of academic research are normally disseminated through academic media. Applied research is intended to lead to the solution of specific problems. Action research starts from the view that research should lead to change and that change should therefore be incorporated in the research process. Participants in this type of research are likely to learn a lot from the process itself. It then follows that there are several categories in which research in social sciences can fall.