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This section explores the concepts, definitions, paradigms, standards, process & procedures of Social science researches .

The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Research is a process of systematic inquiry that entails collection of data; documentation of critical information; and analysis and interpretation of that data/information, in accordance with suitable methodologies set by specific professional fields and academic disciplines.
Research Types
According to the purpose of the study, types of research can be divided into two categories.
i.Basic Research
Basic Research refers to the study that is aimed at expanding the existing base of scientific knowledge.
Basic Research is completely theoretical, that focuses on basic principles and testing theories. It tends to understand the basic law. Basic Research deals with generalization and formulation of theory about universal existence. It is aligned towards collecting information that has universal applicability. Therefore, basic research helps in adding new knowledge to the already existing knowledge.
i. Theoretical
ii. Universal
iii. Developing scientific knowledge and predictions
iv. To add some knowledge to the existing knowledge

ii.Applied Research
Applied Research is the research that is designed to solve specific practical problems or answer certain questions. Applied research is also referred to as an action research.It is directed towards providing a solution to the specific practical problems and develop innovative technology. It is the research that can be applied to real-life situations. It studies a particular set of circumstances, so as to relate the results to its corresponding circumstances.
i. Practical
ii. Scope Limited
iii. Developing scientific technoloy and other techniques
iv. Contribute to new knowledge

Research Approach
Research approach is the initial formulation of an idea and the procedures for research that cover the steps from broad assumptions to detailed methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
Research Onion

The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline. "Philo" in Greek terminology means loving or love of, whereas sophia / sophy (Word origin from history) means knowledge.
These major branches can be separated into sub-branches and each sub-branch contains many specific fields of study

i. Metaphysics
Metaphysics is the study of the most general features of reality and the existence universe and its contents. This contains the cosomoloy (Study of the World) and onotoloy (Study of Existence).

ii.Value theory
Value theory (or axiology) is the major branch of philosophy that addresses topics such as goodness, beauty and justice.

iii.Science, logic and mathematics
Philosophy of science are numbers, symbols and the formal methods of reasoning as employed in the social sciences and natural sciences.

iv. History of philosophy
The history of philosophy (study of a specific period, individual or school), Philosophy of History (he theoretical aspect of history, which deals with questions such as the nature of historical evidence and the possibility of objectivity).

v. Philosophical traditions
The study of philosophy based on the particular civilization.

vi. Epistemology
Epistemology is the study of knowledge.Mainly focusing on The nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief.

These divisions are neither exhaustive, nor mutually exclusive.Philosophical inquiries do overlap in their respective fields


Theory is a common explaination of observed regularities.
Theories are important as to what form of theory is being discussed and theories will act as a guide to whether to use the collected data to test or build theories.

Meta Theory
a theory the subject matter of which is another theory. A finding proved in the former that deals with the latter is known as a metatheorem. All fields of research share some meta-theory, regardless whether this is explicit or correct.

Grand Theory
Grand nursing have the broadest scope and present general concepts and propositions. Theories at this level may both reflect and provide insights useful for practice but are not designed for empirical testing.

Middle-Range Theory
Middle-range theories are narrower in scope than grand nursing theories and offer an effective bridge between grand nursing theories and nursing practice. They present concepts and a lower level of abstraction and guide theory-based research and nursing practice strategies.

Practice Theory
The most limited scope and level of abstraction and are developed for use within a specific range of particular situations.

Type of Theories

Type of Theories

Research Conduct

Intellectual Freedom

Basis of Research Arguements
*First - Establish The Research Philosophical Base and Approach
*Second - Philosophical Basis for Research Argumentations

1.What is my Claim?
2.What Reasons support my claim?
3.What Evidence supports my reasons?
4.Do I acknowledge, Alternatives/Complications/ Objections, and how do I respond?
5.What principle makes my reasons relevant to my claim?

Core of Research Arguement

Core of Research Arguement

Supporting Your Claim

1.Reasons - State your arguments in support of your claim. The claim and the reasons you will give for supporting it
2.Evidence - Illustrate and explain your reasonings via facts, statistics, stories, examples, and testimony from experts.


*Third - Art of Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. The goal of persuasion is to change others’ point of view or to move others to take action. This should be applied in terms of research. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) is the most notable product of the educational program devised by Plato. Aristotle wrote on an amazing range of subjects, from logic, philosophy, and ethics to physics, biology, psychology, politics, and rhetoric.




Social Research

The term "Social Research" refers to topics relating to the questions relevant to the social scientific fields, such as socioloy, human geography, social policy, politics, criminology and all subject that does not included in real sciences and technolgy related fields. Social research involves research that draws on the social sciences for the conceptual and theorectical inspirations. Such research may be motivated by the developments and changes in the society.

Why Do Social Research

Observation and study of the Social Environment and related academia, may likely to lead to one of the following;
1. Researchers may notice a gap in the literature or academia or inconsistency between the number of studies or an unresolved issue in the literature.
2. Researcher may notice a development or an irregularity in society that provides an interesting point for investigation.

Social Research Process

1. Literature Review

To identify the knowledge gap
To generate the topic
To indentify what is already know about the product
To indentify what concepts and theories have been used to the topic
To indentify what research methods have been used
To indentify what topic controvies and how it has been studied
To indentify what clashes of evidence
To indentify who are key contributors research previously

2. Philosophy, Theory and Concepts

The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.


Theories will act as a guide to whether to use the collected data to test or build theories.


The way of making sense of the social world. They are essetially labels given to aspects of the social world that seem to have common features that strike us significant.

The concepts will provide

1.Concepts helps to organize and signal the intended audiences on the research interests.
2.Provides discipline and assists in finding what is required and communicate the research findings.

"Some researchers view theory as something that is addressed at the begining of the research project, whislt others view enaging in some theorectical reflections out of which a hypothesis is formulated."

3. Formulation of Research Questions
Research questions is a question that provides an explicit statement of what is the researcher wants to know about. A research purpose / statement can be presented, but a resarch question forces the researcher to be more explicit about what is to be investigated.
Researc are crucial because they will;

Guide your literature review Guide your decisions about what kind of research design to employ
Guide your decisions about what kind of data to be collected
Guide your decisions about data analysis strategies
Guide your decisions about writing up the thesis
To avoid unnecessary decisions
Provide clear sense of what is research is about

4. Sampling
Social research is not always carried out on people. Non- data is also gathered and examined. Sampling is usually based on principle that it should be represent of the ( and thereof act as a microcosm of) a wider population.
5. Data Collection
Gathering data from the sample so that the research questions can be answered.
6. Data Anlaysis
The management, analysis and interpretation of the data.
7. Writing up the Thesis
The dissemination of the research and its findings.

The General Layout of the Research Thesis


The background of the core concpets of the research topic and the rise and reason of the research problem and the significance of the research problem. Highlighting the theorectical, practical and empirical signance and impotance of carrying out the research.

Literature Review

Definitons of the key concepts, history and the present circumstances of the research. Emipirical evidence of prior researches on the research topic.


The research apporach, research design, population and sample, hypothesis and data analysis strategies.

Data Analysis

The results and findings of the data analysis strategies.

Discussion of the analysis

Compare and contrast the results and findings with other empirical evidence.


The conclusion derived from the results.


All the cited literature.


Any relevant annexures

Research Process

Philosophical Theories on Social Research


It states that building knowledge occurs best through building things that are tangible an sharable. The idea that people learn effectively through making things. Constructionism is connected with experiential learning and builds on some ideas.


People construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. There are many flavors of constructivism, but one prominent theorist is Jean Piaget, who focused on how humans make meaning in relation to the interaction between their experiences and their ideas. Constructionism--the N word as opposed to the V word--shares constructivism's connotation of learning as "building knowledge structures" irrespective of the circumstances of the learning.


Conventionalism states that scientific theory is not underpinned by adequate empirical evidence and formal reasoning. Conventionalists, derives from general agreement among the scientific community over the conventions adopted.Conventionalism contrasts with rationalism and empiricism. Empiricism sees science as a progressively and continuously accumulating body of knowledge. Conventionalism denies the necessity of this view. Conventionalist accounts of the production of scientific knowledge accept the fallibility of the empirical base and the impossibility of proven knowledge.


The term empiricism from the ancient Greek word empeiria, “experience.” The theory that all knowledge is based on experience derived from the senses. Stimulated by the rise of experimental science. Concepts are said to be “a posteriori” (Latin: “from the latter”) if they can be applied only on the basis of experience, and they are called “a priori” (“from the former”) if they can be applied independently of experience. Beliefs or propositions are said to be a posteriori if they are knowable only on the basis of experience and a priori if they are knowable independently of experience


The term is derived from the Greek epistēmē (“knowledge”) and logos (“reason”), and accordingly the field is sometimes referred to as the theory of knowledge. The first theories of knowledge stressed its absolute, permanent character, whereas the later theories put the emphasis on its relativity or situation-dependence, its continuous development or evolution, and its active interference with the world and its subjects and objects.


A philosophical theory or approach which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

(1) Existence is always particular and individual—always my existence, your existence, his existence, her existence.
(2) Existence is primarily the problem of existence (i.e., of its mode of being); it is, therefore, also the investigation of the meaning of Being.
(3) That investigation is continually faced with diverse possibilities, from among which the existent (i.e., the human individual) must make a selection, to which he must then commit himself.
(4) Because those possibilities are constituted by the individual’s relationships with things and with other humans, existence is always a being-in-the-world


Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, fictional, or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's and men's social roles, experiences, interests, chores, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology, communication, media studies, psychoanalysis,[1] home economics, literature, education, and philosophy.


Ithe study of the general principles of biblical interpretation. For both Jews and Christians throughout their histories, the primary purpose of hermeneutics, and of the exegetical methods employed in interpretation, has been to discover the truths and values of the Bible.


In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. two basic forms of idealism are metaphysical idealism, which asserts the ideality of reality, and epistemological idealism, which holds that in the knowledge process the mind can grasp only the psychic or that its objects are conditioned by their perceptibility. In its metaphysics, idealism is thus directly opposed to materialism—the view that the basic substance of the world is matter and that it is known primarily through and as material forms and processes.


Interpretive researchers assume that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as language, consciousness, shared meanings, and instruments. This philosophy emphasizes qualitative analysis over quantitative analysis.


The theoretical framework and basic concepts that is generally used in grammatical description of languages. The reality is conceived through the complexity of language. Inquires into the nature of language itself and seeks to answer fundamental questions as to what language is and how it works.


The philosophical study of being in general, or of what applies neutrally to everything that is real. The branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.


Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.


A philosophical system recognizing only that which can be scientifically verified or which is capable of logical or mathematical proof, and therefore rejecting metaphysics and theism.that all knowledge regarding matters of fact is based on the “positive” data of experience and that beyond the realm of fact is that of pure logic and pure mathematics. Positivist researchers favour the quantitative research approaches over qualitative methods. Postpositivists accept that theories, background, knowledge and values of the researcher can influence what is observed. Postpositivists pursue objectivity by recognizing the possible effects of reseacher's biases.


Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. The philosophy of pragmatism "emphasizes the practical application of ideas by acting on them to actually test them in human experiences.


the view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge. Holding that reality itself has an inherently logical structure, the rationalist asserts that a class of truths exists that the intellect can grasp directly. Rationalism is a reliance on reason {Lat. ratio} as the only reliable source of human knowledge. In the most general application, rationalism offers a naturalistic alternative to appeals to religious accounts of human nature and conduct.


In metaphysics, realism about a given object is the view that this object exists in reality independently of our concepts and beliefs. Realism can also be a view about the nature of reality in general, where it claims that the world exists independent of the mind. While positivists emphasize quantitative methods, postpositivists consider both quantitative and qualitative methods to be valid approaches.


Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory that places the locus of right and wrong solely on the outcomes (consequences) of choosing one action/policy over other actions/policies. Utilitarianism is an effort to provide an answer to the practical question “What ought a man to do?”, Its answer is that he ought to act so as to produce the best consequences possible.
Ontology Vs Epistemology
Rationalism Vs Empiricism

These divisions are neither exhaustive, nor mutually exclusive.Philosophical inquiries do overlap in their respective fields

Research Designs

Research Designs

The function of a research design is to ensure that the evidence obtained enables you to effectively address the research problem logically and as unambiguously as possible. In social sciences research, obtaining information relevant to the research problem generally entails specifying the type of evidence needed to test a theory, to evaluate a program, or to accurately describe and assess meaning related to an observable phenomenon.
the length and complexity of describing research designs in your paper can vary considerably, but any well-developed design will achieve the following:

1. Identify the research problem clearly and justify its selection, particularly in relation to any valid alternative designs that could have been used,
2. Review and synthesize previously published literature associated with the research problem,
3. Clearly and explicitly specify hypotheses [i.e., research questions] central to the problem,
4. Effectively describe the data which will be necessary for an adequate testing of the hypotheses and explain how such data will be obtained, and
5. Describe the methods of analysis to be applied to the data in determining whether or not the hypotheses are true or false.

Research Designs

Research Method

A research method is simply a technique for collecting data. It can involve a specific instrument such as a self administrated questionnaire or structured interview schedule, participation observant or collection from secondary data.

Research Designs Vs Methods

Criteria in Social Research

This is about the replicability of your reseach and the accuracy of the procedures and research techniques. Will the same results be repeated if the research is repeated? Are the measurements of the research methods accurate and consistent? Could they be used in other similar contexts with equivalent results? Would the same results be achieved by another researcher using the same instruments? Is the research free from error or bias on the part of the researcher, or the participants? (E.g. do the participants say what they believe the management, or the researcher, wants? For example, in a survey done on some course material, that on a mathematical module received glowing reports - which led the researcher to wonder whether this was anything to do with the author being the Head of Department!)
Reliability & Validity
How successfully has the research actually achieved what it set out to achieve? Can the results of the study be transferred to other situations? Does x really cause y, in other words is the researcher correct in maintaining a causal link between these two variables? Is the research design sufficiently rigorous, have alternative explanations been considered? Have the findings really be accurately interpreted? Have other events intervened which might impact on the study, e.g. a large scale redundancy programme? (For example, in an evaluation of the use of CDs for self study with a world-wide group of students, it was established that some groups had not had sufficient explanation from the tutors as to how to use the CD. This could have affected their rather negative views
Types of validity
Ecological validity
Types of validity
Reliability & Validity
Are the findings applicable in other research settings? Can a theory be developed that can apply to other populations? For example, can a particular study about dissatisfaction amongst lecturers in a particular university be applied generally? This is particularly applicable to research which has a relatively wide sample, as in a questionnaire, or which adopts a scientific technique, as with the experiment.

Quatitative Research

Quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques. Quantitative research focuses on gathering numerical data and generalizing it across groups of people or to explain a particular phenomenon.

Things to keep in mind when reporting the results of a study using quantitative methods

1.Explain the data collected and their statistical treatment as well as all relevant results in relation to the research problem you are investigating. Interpretation of results is not appropriate in this section.
2.Report unanticipated events that occurred during your data collection. Explain how the actual analysis differs from the planned analysis. Explain your handling of missing data and why any missing data does not undermine the validity of your analysis.
3.Explain the techniques you used to "clean" your data set.
4.Choose a minimally sufficient statistical procedure; provide a rationale for its use and a reference for it. Specify any computer programs used.
5.Describe the assumptions for each procedure and the steps you took to ensure that they were not violated.
6.When using inferential statistics, provide the descriptive statistics, confidence intervals, and sample sizes for each variable as well as the value of the test statistic, its direction, the degrees of freedom, and the significance level [report the actual p value].
7.Avoid inferring causality, particularly in nonrandomized designs or without further experimentation.
8.Use tables to provide exact values; use figures to convey global effects. Keep figures small in size; include graphic representations of confidence intervals whenever possible.
9.Always tell the reader what to look for in tables and figures.

Concepts and Indicators

The categories of the organization of ideas and observations. Once concepts are measured it can formed as independent and dependent variables.

Measure Concepts

1. Measurement allows us to delineate fine differences between people in terms of the characteristics in question. 2. Measurement gives us consisitent device or yardstick for making such distinctions. 3. Measurement provides more provides more precise estimates of the degree of relationship between concepts.


It provides a measure for concepts. They can be used as a cause for concepts that are less directly to the concepts.


These are used to measure formative behaviours. There is a possibility that concepts consists of many dimensions, when measuirng a concept different aspects and components of that concepts should be considered.

Reliability & Validity

Reliability & Validity

Quatitative Research Models

Quantitative methods has the following prominent models that has been frequently used in social researches.
1. Regression Models
2. Gap Measurement

Regression Models

Following models can be establish to examine the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The moderating and mediating variables are interchangeable and can be increased to make the models for complexed regression models.
Definition of the variables
Independent Variable - a variable, whose variation does not depend on that of another.
Dependent Variable - a variable, whose variation does depend on that of another.
Control Variable - A control variable (or scientific constant) in scientific experimentation is an experimental element which is constant and unchanged throughout the course of the investigation
Moderating Variable - A moderator variable is a third variable that affects the strength of the relationship between a dependent and independent variable.
Meadiating Variable - A mediator variable is the variable that causes mediation in the dependent and the independent variables. In other words, it explains the relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variable.

The Regression Models

Qualitative reseach tends to be more concerned with words rather than numbers.
1. An inductive view of relationship between theory and research, where the former is generated via the latter.
2. An epistemological position described as interpretivist.
3. An ontological position described as constructionst.

Qualitative Research Process

Qualitative Research Process

Qualitative Research Process

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