slideshare ppt on research

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A Common Language for Researchers

Research in the social sciences is a diverse topic. In part, this is because the social
sciences represent a wide variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to) psychology,
sociology, political science, anthropology, communication, education, management, and
economics. Further, within each discipline, researchers can use a number of different
methods to conduct research. These methods can include unobtrusive observation,
participant observation, case studies, interviews, focus groups, surveys, ex post facto
studies, laboratory experiments, and field experiments.
Despite this diversity in methods used and topics investigated, most social science
research still shares a number of common characteristics. Regardless of field, most
research involves an investigator gathering data and performing analyses to determine
what the data mean. In addition, most social scientists use a common language in
conducting and reporting their research: researchers in psychology and management
speak of “testing null hypotheses” and “obtaining significant p values.”
The purpose of this chapter is to review some of the fundamental concepts and terms that
are shared across the social sciences. You should familiarize (or refamiliarize) yourself
with this material before proceeding to the subsequent chapters, as most of the terms
introduced here will be referred to again and again throughout the text. If you are
currently taking your first course in statistics, this chapter provides an elementary
introduction. If you have already completed a course in statistics, it provides a quick
review.