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Understanding the Social World
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Understanding the Social World
Research Methods for the 21st Century

Second Edition
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January 2020 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Understanding the Social World: Research Methods for the 21st Century is a concise and accessible introduction to the process and practice of social science research. Fast-paced and visually engaging, the text crosses disciplinary and national boundaries, pays special attention to concern for human subjects, and focuses on the application of results. As it rises to the requirements of a world shaped by big data and social media, Instagram and avatars, blogs and tweets, the text also confronts the research challenges posed by cell phones, privacy concerns, linguistic diversity, and multicultural populations. 

The Second Edition discusses newly-popular research methods, highlights the fascinating work being conducted by contemporary social researchers, and includes enhanced tools for learning in the text and online.


Give your students the SAGE Edge!

SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of free tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. Learn more at edge.sagepub.com/schuttusw2e.
 

About the Author

 
Preface

 
Acknowledgments

 
 
Section I. Foundations for Social Research
 
Chapter 1. Science, Society, and Social Research
The Value of Social Research

 
Avoiding Errors in Reasoning About the Social World

 
Research in the News: Why Doesn’t the Internet Reach Everyone?

 
Types of Social Research

 
Careers and Research: Jessica LeBlanc, Research Assistant

 
Quantitative and/or Qualitative Methods

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Chapter 2. The Process and Problems of Social Research
Social Research Questions

 
Social Research Foundations

 
Social Theories

 
Social Research Strategies

 
Research in the News: Messaging and Emotions

 
Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Designs

 
Social Research Standards

 
Careers and Research: Kristin M. Curtis, Senior Research Program Coordinator

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Chapter 3. Research Ethics
Historical Background

 
Ethical Principles

 
The Institutional Review Board

 
Research in the News: Is Same-Sex Marriage Bad for Children?

 
Careers and Research: Manan Nayak, Senior Project Director

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Section II. Fundamentals of Social Research
 
Chapter 4. Conceptualization and Measurement
Concepts

 
From Concepts to Indicators

 
From Observations to Concepts

 
Measurement Alternatives

 
Research in the News: Do You Tweet What You Think?

 
Levels of Measurement

 
Careers and Research: Camila Mejia, Market Researcher

 
Units of Analysis

 
Evaluating Measures

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Chapter 5. Generalizability and Sampling
Sample Planning

 
Sampling Methods

 
Research in the News: Challenges of Conducting a Census

 
Careers and Research: Tyler Evans, Account Supervisor

 
Generalizability in Qualitative Research

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Chapter 6. Causation and Experimental Design
Causal Explanations and Experimental Design

 
Careers and Research: Jennifer A. Herbert, Crime Intelligence Analyst

 
Research in the News: Long Term Impact: How Can Research Make the Connection?

 
Meeting the Criterion of Non-spuriousness

 
Validity in Experimental Designs

 
Ethical Issues in Experimental Research

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Section III. Basic Social Research Designs
 
Chapter 7. Survey Research
Survey Research in the Social Sciences

 
Writing Survey Questions

 
Designing Questionnaires

 
Errors in Survey Research

 
Careers and Research: Grant A. Bacon, Research Associate

 
Research in the News: Movie “Facts” . . . or Fantasy?

 
Organizing Surveys

 
Ethical Issues in Survey Research

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Chapter 8. Qualitative Methods
Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods

 
Careers and Research: Dzenan Berberovic, Director of Development

 
Research in the News: Facelessness and Social Research

 
Primary Qualitative Methods

 
Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Chapter 9. Unobtrusive Methods
Unobtrusive Measures of Behavior

 
Secondary Data Analysis

 
Research in the News: Trash: The Focus of Anthropological Research in New York

 
Careers and Research: Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center

 
Big Data

 
Historical and Comparative Research Methods

 
Content Analysis

 
Ethical Issues in Unobtrusive Methods

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Section IV. Analysis and Reporting of Social Research
 
Chapter 10. Quantitative Data Analysis
Introducing Statistics

 
Displaying Univariate Distributions

 
Summarizing Univariate Distributions

 
Research in the News: Googling as Social Data

 
Crosstabs

 
Regression Analysis

 
Careers and Research: Claire Wulf Winiarek, Director of Collaborative Policy Engagement

 
Analyzing Data Ethically

 
Conclusions

 
Key Terms

 
Highlights

 
 
Chapter 11. Qualitative Data Analysis
Features of Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Techniques of Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Visual Sociology

 
Systematic Observation

 
Careers and Research: Laurel Person Mecca, Assistant Director and Senior Research Specialist, Qualitative Data Analysis Program

 
Research in the News: Secret Photographing of Students at Harvard?

 
Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Ethics in Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Chapter 12. Summarizing and Reporting Research
Writing Research

 
Research in the News: Do Social Scientists Do Better Than Pollsters?

 
Careers and Research: Ruth Westby, Public Health Researcher

 
Presenting Research

 
Ethics, Politics, and Research Reports

 
Plagiarism

 
Conclusions

 
KEY TERMS

 
HIGHLIGHTS

 
CHAPTER QUESTIONS

 
PRACTICE EXERCISES

 
 
Appendix A: Questions to Ask About a Research Article
 
Appendix B: How to Read a Research Article
 
Glossary
 
Bibliography
 
Index
 
On the Study Site
 
edge.sagepub.com/schuttusw2
 
Appendix C: Table of Random Numbers
 
Appendix D: How to Use a Statistical Package
 
Appendix E: Annotated List of Web Sites

Supplements

Student Study Site
SAGE Edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • Open-access research articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter
 
Instructor Resource Site
Instructor Teaching Site (Password Protected)

SAGE Edge for Instructors, supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.
  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content 
  • Open-access research videos with accompanying assessment options bring the research process to life 
 
Key features
NEW TO THIS EDITION:
  • New discussions show the diverse practices of contemporary research at work: searching the web, conducting systematic literature reviews, using unobtrusive measures and combining measurement methods, sampling on the internet, building online panels, designing community-engaged research, and presenting research results.

  • Timely and engaging examples show the connection between research and contemporary social issues, such as the impact of the internet on social relations, responses to domestic violence, the causes of crime, and the consequences of inequality.  

  • The latest research techniques from current social science literature are discussed, demonstrating how researchers are responding to important social changes.

  • Coverage of current controversies, such as including citizenship question in 2020 census and the concept of a "living wage," stimulate student engagement with national policy questions.

  • Expanded explanations of the basic methods provide a stronger foundation for understanding the logic and process of social research. 

  • New tools to aid student research include connections to sources of questions from General Social Survey, guidance on research presentations, steps added to guide qualitative data analysis, instruction son conducting community engaged qualitative research. 

KEY FEATURES:

  • Designed for instructors seeking much more streamlined coverage of research essentials.

  • Engaging writing, clear descriptions, and contemporary examples speak directly to students about how research is done and reported, and its relevance to their own lives.

  • The book reflects the most current research practices such as the increased use of visual methods, web surveys, smartphones, and social media.

  • Strong coverage of research ethics, with an early chapter devoted to the topic, as well as a section on ethics in each research design chapter. 

  • "Careers and Research" and "Research in the News" show students career prospects and the relevance of the research methods course to their lives, both personal and professional. 

  • SAGE Edge provides students helpful tools, including eFlashcards, practice quizzes, and more, in one easy-to-use online environment. 
 

For instructors

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