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Social Research Methods
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Table of Contents

Part I: The Foundations of Good Social Science Research1. The Nature of Social Science Research (Maggie Walter) What is social research?The `science' in social scienceSocial patterns and social meaningsSocial research: Why do we do it?The language of social scienceMethod and methodology: Understanding the differenceWhat goes into making a methodology?Voices in the field: Karen MartinFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferences2. Research Design (Kristin Natalier) IntroductionResearch questionsResearch aimsLiterature reviewMethodsVoices in the field: Patricia ShortDefinition and measurement decisionsThe theoretical direction: Deductive or inductive?TimelinesResourcesDesign in practice: The research proposalFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferences3. The Research Process (Douglas Ezzy) IntroductionThe process of social researchTen issues for social researchersVoices in the field: Virginia WatsonFrom method to practiceA qualitative interview study of teenage WitchcraftA discourse analysis of racism in newspapersConclusionFurther readingReferences4. Ethics and Social Research (Daphne Habibis)IntroductionWhy is ethics an issue in social research?The history of ethics and researchThe history of ethics and research in AustraliaWhen is ethical review needed?Protecting participantsData managementData storageSafetyResearch meritVulnerable participant groupsSocial mediaEthics and the researcherEthics and the organisationEveryday ethical dilemmasUnobtrusive, covert research and deceptionVoices in the field: Hannah GrahamConclusionFurther readingReferences 5. Sampling (Bruce Tranter)Why we sampleDefining the populationSelecting our sampling methodProbability samplingSample non-responseNon-probability samplingSelecting sampling size for non-probability samplingVoices in the field: Wally KarnilowiczFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferencesPart II: Quantitative Methods and the Power of Numbers6. Surveys (Maggie Walter) IntroductionChoosing a surveyAdvantages of surveysDisadvantages of surveysCommon types of survey designThe processVoices in the field: Belinda HewittFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferences7. Population-level Analysis (Natalie Jackson) IntroductionWhat is population-level data analysis?Differences between population-level and survey dataUses of population-level analysisStrengths and weaknessesAnalytical issuesAnalytical complexitiesIntracollection discontinuitiesIntercollection discontinuitiesUseful techniquesStandardisationVoices in the field: Lisa TaylorFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferencesWebsites8. Analysing Quantitative Data (Tim Phillips) IntroductionWhat are quantitative data, and why do we analyse them?How to do quantitative data analysisA mini quantitative analysisBeginning the analysisChoosing appropriate techniquesUsing your imagination and devotionVoices in the field: Joanna Sikora and Lawrence J. SahaFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferences9. Using SPSS for Descriptive Statistical Analysis (Philip Patman, Lisa Denny and Brendan Churchill)IntroductionCoding your dataUsing the AuSSA for descriptive statistical analysisSPSS output windowData analysis in SPSSRecoding dataTransforming dataSaving data sets in SPSSVoices in the field: Kate WarnerVoices in the field: Jennifer AytonFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferencesWebsitesPart III: Qualitative Interviewing Methods and Meaning-making10. Qualitative Interviewing Methods (Max Travers) IntroductionWhat is a qualitative interview?The importance of meaningHow to conduct an indepth interviewChoosing a topicHow many interviews?Recruiting intervieweesApproaching the interviewInterviewing techniquesRecording your dataBeyond interviewingFrom method to practiceVoices in the field: Margaret Alston OamFocus groupsVoices in the field: Tim MarjoribanksConclusionFurther readingReferences11. Content Analysis (Brendan Churchill)IntroductionContent analysis in social science researchQuantitative and qualitative approachesHow to conduct a content analysisVoices in the field: Rebecca DanceConclusionReferences 12. Discourse Analysis (Keith Jacobs) IntroductionThe backgroundAdvantages of discourse analysisKey terms and conceptsCritical discourse analysisFoucauldian-inspired analysisChallenges associated with discourse analysisUndertaking a critical discourse analysisFoucauldian-inspired analysisVoices in the field: Fiona ProudfootFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferences13. Doing Evaluation Research (Rob White)IntroductionThe unique aspects of evaluation researchPurposes of evaluationUndertaking an evaluationPreparing the reportLimitations of evaluationVoices in the field: Diane HeckenbergFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferences 14. Analysing Qualitative Data (Karen Willis) IntroductionThe vital ingredients for creating meaningOrganising dataApproaches to analysisCommencing analysisExploring relationships between categoriesDiscrepancies and deviant casesExplaining what is going on: ThemesGrounded theoryNarrative analysis and life historiesExtending the analytical challengeVoices in the field: Jane Maree MaherVoices in the field: Fiona GillFrom method to practiceConclusionFurther readingReferences15. Ethnography (Felicity Picken)IntroductionHow ethnography is usedPast and present ethnographyNew ethnographic topics and wider applicationsAccessing the fieldHow to do a good ethnographyFrom method to practiceHigh tech ethnographyConducting ethical ethnographyVoices in the field: Nick OsbaldistonConclusionReferencesPart IV: Writing Up Our Research16. Writing Up Research (Michelle Gabriel)IntroductionDiscovery through writingWriting styleWriting a research planWriting a research reportPresentation of quantitative dataPresentation of qualitative dataFinal statementWriting strategiesEditing and revisingThe editing and proofreading processesDisseminating your writingVoices in the field: Michelle McMahonConclusionFurther readingReferences

About the Author

Maggie Walter is Associate Professor in the School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania.

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