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Investigating the Social World
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Investigating the Social World
The Process and Practice of Research

Eighth Edition

A student-friendly textbook that introduces the most cutting-edge research methods applied to engaging social issues.



© 2015 | 688 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
In this exciting new Eighth Edition of his leading social research text, author Russell K. Schutt, an award-winning researcher and teacher, continues to make the field come alive through research stories that illustrate the methods presented in each chapter. Through numerous examples and hands-on exercises that help students learn by doing, Investigating the Social World helps readers understand research methods as an integrated whole. Readers will learn to appreciate the value of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and understand the need to make ethical research decisions while also learning about research on contemporary social issues like the Internet and social relations, the police response to domestic violence, the sources of democracy, the determinants of voting, the impact of disasters, and the causes of violence.  

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award

Find out more at www.sagepub.com/sociologyaward

Available with Perusall—an eBook that makes it easier to prepare for class
Perusall is an award-winning eBook platform featuring social annotation tools that allow students and instructors to collaboratively mark up and discuss their SAGE textbook. Backed by research and supported by technological innovations developed at Harvard University, this process of learning through collaborative annotation keeps your students engaged and makes teaching easier and more effective. Learn more.
 
PART I: FOUNDATIONS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH
 
CHAPTER 1: SCIENCE, SOCIETY, AND SOCIAL RESEARCH
Learning About the Social World  
Avoiding Errors in Reasoning About the Social World  
Research in the News: Why Doesn't the Internet Reach Everyone?  
Science and Social Science  
Alternative Research Orientations  
Strengths and Limitations of Social Research  
 
CHAPTER 2: THE PROCESS AND PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH
Social Research Questions  
Social Theories  
Social Research Foundations  
Theoretical Perspectives for Social Research  
Social Research Strategies  
Research in the News: Investigating Child Abuse Doesn't Reduce It  
Social Research Standards  
 
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH ETHICS AND PHILOSOPHIES
Historical Background  
Ethical Principles  
The Institutional Review Board  
Research in the News: What Would an IRB Say?  
Social Research Proposals  
Case Study: Evaluating a Public Health Program  
 
PART II: FUNDAMENTALS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH
 
CHAPTER 4: CONCEPTUALIZATION AND MEASUREMENT
Concepts  
Research in the News: What is Your Race?  
Operationalization  
Measurement  
Levels of Measurement  
Evaluating Measures  
 
CHAPTER 5: SAMPLING
Sample Planning  
Research in the News: What Are Best Practices for Sampling Vulnerable Populations?  
Sampling Methods  
Sampling Distributions  
 
CHAPTER 6: RESEARCH DESIGN AND CAUSATION
Research Design Alternatives  
Research in the News: How to Reduce Crime?  
Criteria and Cautions for Nomothetic Causal Explanations  
Comparing Research Designs  
 
PART III: BASIC SOCIAL RESEARCH DESIGNS
 
CHAPTER 7: EXPERIMENTS
History of Experimentation  
True Experiments  
Research in the News: Where Did You Hear That?  
Quasi-Experiments  
Validity in Experiments  
Ethical Issues in Experimental Research  
 
CHAPTER 8: SURVEY RESEARCH
Survey Research in the Social Sciences  
Writing Survey Questions  
Combining Questions in Indexes  
Designing Questionnaires  
Research in the News: What Can Surveys Uncover?  
Organizing Surveys  
Ethical Issues in Survey Research  
 
CHAPTER 9: QUANTITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
Introducing Statistics  
Case Study: The Likelihood of Voting  
Preparing Data for Analysis  
Displaying Univariate Distributions  
Summarizing Univariate Distributions  
Research in the News: General Social Survey Shows Infidelity on the Rise  
Analyzing Data Ethically: How Not to Lie With Statistics  
Cross-Tabulating Variables  
Regression Analysis  
Analyzing Data Ethically: How Not to Lie About Relationships  
 
CHAPTER 10: QUALITATIVE METHODS: OBSERVING, PARTICIPATING, LISTENING
Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods  
Participant Observation  
Research in the News: Can Taping Interviews Capture a Trend?  
Intensive (In-Depth) Interviewing  
Interviewing Online  
Focus Groups  
Generalizability in Qualitative Research  
Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research  
 
CHAPTER 11: QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
Features of Qualitative Data Analysis  
Techniques of Qualitative Data Analysis  
Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis  
Research in the News: What’s in a Message?  
Visual Sociology  
Systematic Observation  
Participatory Action Research  
Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis  
Ethics in Qualitative Data Analysis  
 
PART IV: ADVANCED SOCIAL RESEARCH DESIGNS
 
CHAPTER 12: EVALUATION AND POLICY RESEARCH
History of Evaluation Research  
Evaluation Basics  
Questions for Evaluation Research  
Research in the News: What Motivates Policy Shifts?  
Design Decisions  
Policy Research  
Ethics in Evaluation  
 
CHAPTER 13: HISTORICAL AND COMPARATIVE RESEARCH AND CONTENT ANALYSIS
Overview of Unobtrusive Methods for Historical and Comparative Research  
Historical Social Science Methods  
Comparative Social Science Methods  
Research in the News: Across the globe can we compare ____?  
Demographic Analysis  
Content Analysis  
Ethical Issues in Historical and Comparative Research and Content Analysis  
 
CHAPTER 14: SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS AND BIG DATA
Secondary Data Sources  
Research in the News: Long-term impact; how can research make the connection?  
Challenges for Secondary Data Analyses  
Big Data  
Ethical Issues in Secondary Data Analysis and Big Data  
 
CHAPTER 15: MIXED METHODS
History of Mixed Methods  
Philosophy of Mixed Methods  
Types of mixed methods  
Strengths and Limitations of Mixed Methods  
Ethics and Mixed Methods  
Research in the News: What Came First, the Alleged Cause or the Effect?  
 
CHAPTER 16: SUMMARIZING AND REPORTING RESEARCH
Writing Research  
Displaying Research  
Reporting Research  
Research in the News: How Much Should Social Scientists Report?  
Performing Meta-Analyses  
Case Study: Broken Homes and Delinquency  
Ethics, Politics, and Research Reports  
 
Bibliography
 
Glossary

This book provides enough depth while still remaining accessible for undergraduates.

Mr Michael Alan Hollingsworth
Political Science , Univ Of South Alabama-Baldwin
September 26, 2016

This offers a good coverage of some of the key aspects. It is easy to follow, and the students have engaged readily with it.

Ms Janet Goddard
Psychology, Social Work & Human Sci, University of West London
October 3, 2016

I recomend this book to my master and degree students as it is a very clarifier text. It is well structured and presented and includes lot of examples.

Dr Marian Ispizua
Sociology, Universidad del Pams Vasco
March 2, 2015

Ease of use by students. Readopted

Dr Johnny Gilleylen
Public Policy & Administration, Jackson State University
September 2, 2015

Better organized than previous version that I was using

Ms Kathy H Wibberly
Political Sci Pub Admin Dept, Va Commonwealth Univ-M Park
May 12, 2015
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • Chapters have been reorganized into four sections: Foundations of Social Research, Fundamentals of Social Research, Basic Social Research Designs, and Advanced Social Research Designs
  • New coverage of  big data, social network analysis, and policy research has been added in keeping with the latest trends in the discipline 
  • New Careers in Research boxes illustrate the applications of research and its results in different careers
  • New chapter-opening Research That Matters vignettes discuss recent research that set the stage for each chapter’s contents, aided by questions for students and a link to the article where the research is reported
  • Coverage of researchers’ use of technology has been updated throughout to reflect increased attention to online research (using both qualitative and quantitative approaches), visual methods, expanded use of web-based surveys, and growing reliance on smart phones and social media
  • A new chapter on mixed methods has been included 
  • Research examples, including Research in the News examples, have been fully updated throughout to ensure currency and timeliness
  • The text’s strong focus on ethics continues with additional examples of research ethics, IRB review processes, and ethical challenges in qualitative research
  • International examples have been added and expanded to help broaden readers’ perspectives
  • A new interactive eBook version of the 8th edition provides greater flexibility for both students and instructors to quickly access online resources that directly relate to each chapter’s content

KEY FEATURES:

  • The engaging, conversational, and student-friendly writing style invites readers to discover the value of research for understanding social issues and how technique and substance are intimately related
  • The author addresses ethical concerns and ethical decision making in tandem with each study of specific methods 
  • SAGE journal articles, Careers in Research features, and Research in the News vignettes illustrate the methods and pose questions for discussion 
  • Instructor guides for critiquing research articles, exercises for applying research skills, and examples of analyzing and reporting social data provide key supports for effective teaching
  • End-of-chapter discussion questions, research proposal development exercises, and SPSS exercises help measure and enhance student understanding 
  • The complete SAGE edge suite of online, open-access student ancillaries, including journal articles, self-quizzes, electronic flashcards, interactive exercises (with many that link to SAGE journal articles), and video clips of researchers discussing the use of particular techniques, help enhance students’ learning experience

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

Chapter 8


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