Alan Bryman Social Research Methods Chapter 2: Social
Alan Bryman Social Research Methods Chapter 2: Social research strategies: quantitative research and qualitative research Alan Bryman, 2016. All rights reserved. Student experience A valuable feature of the text is the Student experience boxes with links to the Online Resource Centre
Page 17 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Theory and research What type of theory? page 18 - explanation of observed regularities Merton (1967) grand theories
highly abstract Butler and Robinson (2001) Bourdieus concept of social capital gentrification of areas of London middle range theories useful for empirical research - limited domain Pages 18 and 19 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Theory and research Middle range theories
- unlike grand ones, operate in a limited domain; whether it is juvenile delinquency, racial prejudice, educational attainment or ethnic relations Conflict and contact theory: These theories are about the effects of ethnic diversity on the quality of inter-group relations. - they offer contrasting theories (see Hughes et al. 2011; Sturgis et al. 2014) Cohen(2010)
- postal questionnaire survey of hairstylists relationship with their clients Pages 19 and 20 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Empiricism - Philosophical approach to theorising - Only knowledge gained through sensory experiences is acceptable - Rigorous scientific testing of theories - Positivist epistemology
- Accumulation of facts as data - Nave empiricism? Page 20 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Empiricism McKeganey and Barnard (1996) - research on prostitutes and their clients Goffman (1963) - notion of stigma Hochschild (1983) - concept of emotional labour Pages 20 and 21
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Deductive and inductive theory Deductivism: theory --> data explicit hypothesis to be confirmed or rejected quantitative research Inductivism: data --> theory generalizable inferences from observations qualitative research /grounded theory
Pages 21 and 22 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Deductive and inductive theory Fig.2.1 Page 21 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Deductive and inductive theory Fig.2.2 Page 23
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Deductive and inductive theory Deductive: Roder and Muhlau (2014) - When migrants move from a country in which egalitarian attitudes are weak to one where they are strong Inductive: OReilly et al. (2012) - A study of interactions between customers and front-line employees Pages 22 and 23
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Epistemological considerations What is (or should be) considered acceptable knowledge? Can the social world be studied scientifically? Is it appropriate to apply the methods of the natural sciences to social science research? Positivist and interpretivist epistemologies Page 24
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Positivist epistemology Application of natural science methods to social science research Phenomenalism: knowledge via the senses Deductivism: theory testing Inductivism: theory building Objective, value-free researcher Distinction between scientific and normative statements Page 24
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Realist epistemology Similarities to positivism: - natural science methods appropriate - external reality exists independently of our perceptions Empirical (nave?) realism - close correspondence between reality and terms used to describe it - direct knowledge of the social world Critical realism
- theoretical terms mediate our knowledge of reality - underlying structures generate observable events Page 25 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Interpretivist epistemology
Subject matter of the social sciences (people) demands nonpositivist methods Positivism vs hermeneutics (Von Wright 1971) - concerned with the theory and method of the interpretation of human action Hermeneutic-phenomenological tradition Verstehen: interpretative understanding of social action (Weber 1947) Attempts to see world from the actors perspective: subjective reality (Bogdan and Taylor 1975) Influenced by symbolic interactionism Pages 26 to 28
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Ontological considerations Social ontology: the nature of social entities What kind of objects exist in the social world? Do social entities exist independently of our perceptions of them? Is social reality external to social actors or constructed by them? Page 28
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Objectivist ontology Social phenomena confront us as external facts Individuals are born into a pre-existing social world Social forces and rules exert pressure on actors to conform e.g. culture exists independently of social actors who are socialized into its values Page 29 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition
Constructionist ontology Social phenomena and their meanings are constructed by social actors Continually accomplished and revised Researchers accounts of events are also constructions - many alternative interpretations e.g. Strauss et al (1973) negotiated order in a psychiatric hospital Language and representation shape our perceptions of reality Pages 29 and 30
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Research strategy: quantitative and qualitative Useful way of classifying methods of social research Two distinctive clusters of research strategies: quantitative and qualitative These strategies differ in terms of their: general orientation to social research epistemological foundations ontological basis Page 31
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Quantitative research Measurement of social variables Common research designs: surveys and experiments Numerical and statistical data Deductive theory testing Positivist epistemology Objectivist view of reality as external to social actors Page 32
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Quantitative research Table 2.1 Page 32 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Qualitative research Understanding the subjective meanings held by actors (interpretivist epistemology) Common methods: interviews, ethnography Data are words, texts and stories
Inductive approach: theory emerges from data Social constructionist ontology Page 33 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Mixed methods research Both quantitative and qualitative research Poortinga et al (2004) - Foot and Mouth Disease public trust of government and perceived associated risks
Beck (1992) - Notion of the risk society Page 32 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Influences on the conduct of social research Values
personal beliefs or the feelings of researcher all preconceptions must be eradicated (Durkheim 1938) affect every stage of research process some advocate value-laden research: Becker (1967) sympathy with underdog groups feminist research encourages reciprocity (Oakley 1981) and conscious partiality (Mies 1993) Pages 34 to 36
Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Influences on the conduct of social research Fig.2.3 Page 34 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition Influences on the conduct of research Practical considerations time
cost/funding available how much prior literature exists (theory testing or theory building?) topic (deviant activities/sensitive issues may be more suited to qualitative research) all social research is a compromise between the ideal and the feasible Page 36 Bryman: Social Research Methods, 5th edition
Mathematical induction is valid because of the well ordering property, which states that "Every nonempty subset of the set of positive integers has a least element ." Here is the proof (by contradiction) that mathematical induction is valid: Suppose ....
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