Research Methods – Chapter 1: Social Research Strategies
Deductive approach- theory guides research.
Inductive approach- theory is outcome of research.
Epistemological issues- are issues that have to do with what is regarded as appropriate knowledge about the social
Ontological issues- are issues that have to do with whether the social world is regarded as sometimes the external to
social actors or as sth that ppl are in the process of fashioning.
Methods r not simply neutral tools; they r linked with the ways in which social scientists envision the combination btw
diff. viewpoint abt the nature of social reality and how it should b examined.
Fenton et al. conducted a quantitative content analysis of social research. Examined the national and regional media
Another scenario occurs when research is done on a topic when a specific opportunity arises. Author conducts social
survey research using a constructed interview approach on most of the redundant ones.
Lofland said that many research publications emerge out of the researcher’s personal biography.
Research data achieve sign. In sociology wen viewed in relation to theoretical concerns. This raises the issue of the
nature of the relationship between theory and research.
There r several issues in linking the characterizing of nature between theory and research. 1) what form of theory one is
talking about 2) there is matter of whether data r collected to test or build theories.
Theory is imp to social research since it provides a backcloth and rationale for the research that is being conducted.
Provides framework within which social phenomena can b understood and the research finding can b interpreted.
The theory’s most common meaning is as an explanation of observed regularities.
Sociological theory focuses much on theories with the higher abstraction. Ie- structural functionalism, symbolic
interactionism, critical theory, structuration theory. This distinction btw theories of the former type that r often called
theories of middle range and grand theories, that operates at a more abstract and general level.
Merton- grand theories offer few indications to researchers as to how they might guide or influence the collection of
empirical evidence. Someone tested theory to get inferences from it to test the abstract would b great to make it
difficult for the researcher to make connection with the real world. Research Purpose the grand theories r of limited use
in connection to social research. This theory doesn’t guide the social research.
Middle Range Theories r intermediate to general theories of social system that to remote from particular classes of
social behavior, organization and change to account for what is observed and to those detailed orderly description of
particular that r to generalize at all. Middle range theories r much likely to b focus of the empirical enquiry. This theory
also operates in limited domains. They vary somewhat is the range of domain.
Middle Range theories fall somewhere btw the ground theories and empirical findings. They represent attempts to
understand and explain a limited aspect of social life.
The term theory is frequently used in manner that means little more than the bkground literature in an area of social
enquiry. The literature in certain domain acts as the spur to an enquiry. This literature acts as an impetus in a # of ways:
1) researcher may find to resolve an inconsistency btw diff. findings 2) the researcher may have spotted a neglected
aspects of life,3) certain ideas may not have been previously tested at a great .
The dismissive of research that has no obvious connection wid theory in either the grand or middle range sense of term.
This research is called naïve empiricism. The literature acts as proxy for theory. Theory is latent or implicit in the
Research is done to in order to answer questions posed by theoretical considerations. An alternative position is to view
theory as sth that occurs after the collection and analysis of some or all of the data associated with a project.
1 Research Methods – Chapter 1: Social Research Strategies
Research in focus 1.1- Grand Theory and Social Research: Butler and Robson used Bourdieu’s concept of social capital
as a means of understanding the redevelopment of areas of London. Bourdieu’s theory attracts attention on to the
social connectedness and the interpersonal resources that those with the social capital can draw on to pursue their
goals. Bourdieu’s treatment tells that those with the social capital cultivate significant social connections and then draw
upon those connections as resources for their goals. Butler and Robson conducted semi-constructed interviews with the
Research in focus 1.2- Labor process theory, Middle range theory: In sociology, labor process theory can b said as a
middle range theory. Labor process theory describes four elements: the principle dat the labor process entails the
extraction of surplus value; the need for the capitalist enterprises constantly to transform production processes; the
quest for control over labor; and essential conflict btw capital and labor. This theory has been focus of considerable
Research in focus 1.3-Bkground literature as theory, recycling the domestic division of labor: Oates and McDonald
conducted a postal questionnaire survey of household in Sheffield dat had agreed to take the survey. The questions
were primarily concerned with the matter of who widin the household is involved wid recycling activities. PPl suggest
that research find wat they expect to find.
Deductive theory- shows the commonest view of the nature of the relationship btw the theory and social research. The
researcher, on the basis of what is known abt in particular domain and of theoretical consideration in relation to that
domain deduces a hypothesis that must b subjected to empirical scrutiny. Theory and the hypothesis deduced from it
come first and drive the process of gathering. The last step involves a movement that is in the opposite direction from
deduction. During this deduction approach that is usually related with quantitative research, is put into operation, it
often doesn’t follow the sequence followed the sequence outlined in its pure form. Deductive processes r very linear
one step follows the other in a clear logical ways.
The process of Deduction- theory HypothesisData collectionFindingsHypothesis confirmed or
rejectedRevision of theory.
Some researcher prefer an approach to the relationship btw theory and research that is primarily inductive. The process
of induction involves drawing generalizable inferences out of observations. Once the phase of theoretical reflection on a
set of data has been carried out, the researcher may want to collect further data in order to establish the conditions in
which a theory will and will not hold. Such generalization is often call iterative, that involves going bk and forth btw
data and theory. This is seen in ground theory. The characterization of the inductive strategy as associated with
qualitative research is not entirely straightforward. Theory is used at the very least as a bkground to qualitative
Research in focus 1.4- A deductive study: Kelley and De Graaf told that # of studies have examined the factors dat have
an impact upon individuals religious beliefs such as parents, but they argued day there r gud grounds for thinking that
the nation into that one is born will b imp cross-cultural factor. These reflections constitute wat they referred to as the
theory dat guided their research from which the hypothesis was derived. This study showed the process whereby
hypothesis r deduced from existing theory and these then guide the process of data collection so dat they can b tested.
Research in focus 1.5- A inductive study: Charmaz has been concerned to examine a # of aspects of the experiences of
ppl with chronic illness. On part of her research examined specifically men suffering from chronic illness. She collected
the data thru semi-structured interviews. She compared the findings relating to men parallel study of woman chronic
illness. The key components of men response are preserving self. In this study the inductive nature of the relationship
btw theory and research can b seen in the ways dat Charmaz theoretical ideas derive from her data rather than being
2 Research Methods – Chapter 1: Social Research Strategies
formed before she collected her data. Two imp. Things abt this study is: it used a grounded theory approach to the
analysis of data