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Unlike most social research methods texts, which focus on either the theoretical underpinnings of social inquiry or research techniques, this text offers students an understanding of social research practice through appreciation of its foundations and methods. Stretching from the philosophy of science to detailed descriptions of both qualitative and quantitative techniques, it illustrates not only 'how' to do social research, but crucially 'why' particular techniques are used today. Social Research is divided into three parts: Part One: Illustrates the two basic paradigms - quantitative and qualitative - of social research, describing their origins in philosophical thought and outlining their current interpretations in the context of recent thinking.
Part Two: Is devoted to quantitative research - discussing the relationship between theory and research practice, then an array of quantitative research techniques, in particular the experiment and the problem of causality; the survey method; scaling and the problem of measurement in the social sciences; official statistics and their use; sampling techniques and the problems involved in generalising results from a small number of cases to a larger population. Part Three: Examines qualitative research. Topics range from the most classical of qualitative techniques - participant observation - to more recent developments - such as ethnomethodological studies. The final part of this section also describes various kinds of qualitative interviews and the analysis of documents. Piergiorgio Corbetta offers an engaging contribution to a field increasingly dominated by texts merely focussing on practical issues. This book is a reminder of the solid foundations upon which most social research is conducted today, and as a consequence will be required reading for students, throughout the social sciences, at various levels.
Born in Milan, 11, January, 1941.Full professor of Methodology of Social Research in the Department of Sciences of Education, University of Bologna.Main research interests include methodology of social research, statistics applied to social research, political participation and electoral studies