Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method, Edition 2

SAGE Publications
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Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method, Second Edition is a concise, innovative text designed for Research Methods courses in the Social Sciences. The main goal of this Sociology for a New Century Series text is to show unity within the diversity of activities called social research. The first part of the book tackles questions like "What is social research?" "How does it differ from journalism, documentary film-making, or laboratory research in the natural sciences?" and "What is the researcher's obligation to those he or she is studying?" The book also covers the how the various goals of social researchers shape the strategies they use and the representations of social life they construct. The latter part of the book is structured around the typical emphases of each tradition: qualitative research on commonalities, comparative research on diversity, and quantitative research on relationships among variables. These are not rigid divisions and research designs often blend aspects of each tradition in creative ways. Regardless of the approach, the process of representing social life through research involves a dialogue of ideas ("theory") and evidence ("data"). The model of social research put forth by Ragin and Amoroso is not as restrictive as the scientific method and encompasses social research ranging from research examining the complexities of everyday life to research investigating the power of transnational processes.
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About the author

Charles C. Ragin spent most of his youth in Texas and the southeastern United States. He attended the University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate and received his BA degree in 1972 at the age of 19. That same year he began graduate work in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his PhD in 1975. From 1975 until 2001, he lived in the Midwest, teaching first at Indiana University and then at Northwestern University. He headed west in 2001, where he spent just over a decade at University of Arizona-Tucson. In 2012, he joined the faculty at the University of California-Irvine, where he is currently the Chancellor's Professor of Sociology. He is best known for developing a methodological alternative to conventional research methods, using formal set-theoretic techniques for comparative research. His many publications address broad issues in politics and society, with topics ranging from the causes of ethnic political mobilization to the shaping of the welfare state in advanced capitalist countries. He has written several books including Intersectional Inequality: Race, Class, Test Scores and Poverty (with Peer Fiss, 2017). Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond (2008) Fuzzy-Set Social Science (2000). His book The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies (1987) won the 1989 Stein Rokkan Prize of the International Social Science Council of UNESCO. In 2014 he received the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award of the American Sociological Association. He is married to Mary Driscoll, and they have two sons, Andrew and Daniel.

Lisa M. Amoroso spent her childhood in Pittsburgh and the suburbs of Chicago. She attended Northwestern University for her BA in economics and mathematical methods in the social sciences. After working in software development and management systems, she returned to Northwestern and the Kellogg School of Management, where she completed her PhD in a joint program in sociology and organization behavior in 2003. Since leading her first seminar at Northwestern in 1997, she has been teaching in the Midwest—at Northwestern, Beloit College, Roosevelt University, and currently Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. Research methods and quantitative analysis are among her favorite courses to teach. In 2010, she joined Dominican’s Brennan School of Business where she is a Professor of Management. She received Excellence in Teaching awards at Roosevelt in 2007 and at the Brennan School of Business in 2016. Although her primary focus is teaching, she publishes research on diversity education, social identity, status hierarchies, and student learning. She has published in variety of journals including Psychological Inquiry and Journal of Management Education. She is married to Phil Tracy, and they have two children, Nate and Carmen.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SAGE Publications
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Published on
Jul 14, 2010
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Pages
248
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ISBN
9781483342887
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Research
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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While heated arguments between practitioners of qualitative and quantitative research have begun to test the very integrity of the social sciences, Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba have produced a farsighted and timely book that promises to sharpen and strengthen a wide range of research performed in this field. These leading scholars, each representing diverse academic traditions, have developed a unified approach to valid descriptive and causal inference in qualitative research, where numerical measurement is either impossible or undesirable. Their book demonstrates that the same logic of inference underlies both good quantitative and good qualitative research designs, and their approach applies equally to each.

Providing precepts intended to stimulate and discipline thought, the authors explore issues related to framing research questions, measuring the accuracy of data and uncertainty of empirical inferences, discovering causal effects, and generally improving qualitative research. Among the specific topics they address are interpretation and inference, comparative case studies, constructing causal theories, dependent and explanatory variables, the limits of random selection, selection bias, and errors in measurement. Mathematical notation is occasionally used to clarify concepts, but no prior knowledge of mathematics or statistics is assumed. The unified logic of inference that this book explicates will be enormously useful to qualitative researchers of all traditions and substantive fields.

The Second Edition of Research Methods in Practice: Strategies for Description and Causation sets an entirely new standard for presenting and learning research methods. The perspective gained from this text makes it a truly necessary tool for such applied disciplines as public affairs and administration, public policy, psychology, urban affairs, education, sociology, social work, business, public health, political science, economics, communications and criminal justice.

Imbued with a deep commitment to make social and policy research methods accessible and meaningful, the Second Edition of Research Methods in Practice: Strategies for Description and Causation compels and inspires students to truly grasp the logic—and limits—of the latest research appearing in academic journals, government reports, and the media. Authors Dahlia K. Remler and Gregg G. Van Ryzin cover the most pertinent issues and methods, emphasizing the critical interpretation and practical application of research findings. Both causation and description—and the distinction between them—are emphasized and maintained thematically throughout the text. Concepts are taught through in-depth examples, such as “Fighting Malaria in Kenya,” “The U.S. Poverty Measure,” “The Fallout from Hurricane Katrina,” “Family Dinners and Teenage Substance Abuse,” and “The Effect of Poverty on Mental Health.” The realistic trade-offs, uncertainties, habits, and excitement of the research experience come through on every page.

“This is the best text available for teaching students the fundamentals of research design and statistics, and for introducing them to the difficulties inherent in evaluation research and causal inference.”

—Dave E. Marcotte, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Configurational Comparative Methods paves the way for an innovative approach to empirical scientific work through a strategy that integrates key strengths of both qualitative (case-oriented) and quantitative (variable-oriented) approaches. This first-of-its-kind text is ideally suited for "small-N" or "intermediate-N" research situations, which both mainstream qualitative and quantitative methods find difficult to address. Benoît Rihoux and Charles C. Ragin, along with their contributing authors, offer both a basic, comparative research design overview and a technical and hands-on review of Crisp-Set QCA (csQCA), Multi-Value QCA (mvQCA), and Fuzzy-Set QCA (fsQCA).

Key Features

Discusses existing applications in many different fields and disciplines along with state-of-the-art coverage of the strengths and limitations of these techniquesDemonstrates further inventive ways of using QCA techniquesProvides advice on how to develop a comparative research design (case and variable selection) as well as a specific technique called MSDO/MDSO (most similar, different outcome/most different, same outcome).Shows how to perform the technical operations linked to three specific QCA techniques: csQCA, mvQCA, and fsQCAIncludes a glossary, an extensive bibliography, and a detailed list of good practices at every stage of the research process

Intended Audience

A must for any student or researcher who wants to engage in systematic cross-case comparison in the social and behavioral sciences, the book is ideal for use in upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level social science research methods courses.

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