Quantitative and Qualitative Methods of Social Science Research Explained

This article will describe quantitative and qualitative research methods and how they are best applied, particularly to the social sciences.

Social Science research is driven by the desire to find out what moves people. There are several diverse fields that comprise the Social Sciences including anthropology, economics, sociology and psychology.

Social scientists use a variety of methods to examine phenomena related to their field, and the different methods of carrying out social science research often form the basis for research in other related disciplines as well, such as political science, market research and media studies. Let’s take a look at the different methods and see how best to implement them.

There are two broad main categories that social science research comprises.

These are Quantitative and Qualitative Design Methods.

The methods used in the Quantitative Design category most often rely on statistical analysis such as numerical data analysis to establish hypotheses that can be proven by mathematical or statistical means. Experiments use a standardized format to generate hypotheses, which can be proven by mathematical and statistical means.

The methods used in Qualitative Design rely on direct observation or communication with participants or analysis of words, objects or artifacts. It is a method for studying the behavior and habits of the participants.

Quantitative Design Method

Experimental – This can be understood as the manipulation of independent variables within each experiment, to produce statistically analyzeable data that can be easily understood, such as interpreting a census or FBI national crime report. Analysis of this type of statistical study works best when social scientists are trying to explain the voting habits of citizens in high-crime areas, for example.

Sampling – This is the gathering of information such as through surveys, polls, questionnaires or focus groups. This type of research method can provide the information companies are looking for to help them decide how to structure an advertising campaign to sell their products, or to help politicians understand the desires of their constituents so that they can incorporate that information into election campaigns or policy-making strategies.

Qualitative Design Method

Observational – This is the observation of phenomena with minimal distraction such as case studies or key informant interviews.

Historical – This includes researching historical records such as birth and death certificates or collecting data through primary source documentation, secondary sources, current records, and memories.

Photos, videos, sound recordings – This is the collection and assembly of visual and sound artifacts, such as old family photos, videos, war scenes films, or audio memoirs and wills.

Report Your Findings

When your research is complete, it’s time to write your paper. Social science research papers follow a certain format:

• abstract
• introduction
• state your method
• state your results
• discuss results
• conclusion

In addition, you will write very short, casual, well-crafted sentences that focus on evidence, not creative phrases, and in passive sentences to reduce the impression of subjectivity. Plus, you’ll be prompted to use the APA formatting style.

The final step is to edit your paper. While a word processing program can help pinpoint some grammatical and punctuation errors, you can use formatting software that will ensure your work follows the proper APA formatting style guidelines.

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