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Social Science Research

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February 12, 2007


Social Science Research, Methods, and Differing Perspectives

When Social Science, and Social Research is conducted, researchers may find useful and interesting information and data in helping better understand topics that may better shed light on topics concerning people, society, and their environments around them. However, this research done by social scientists and researchers may ultimately be affected by 2 variables in research. The methods by which research and data is gained, and the perspective by which this information is processed and then viewed. Better understanding of these methods and perspectives after research is done, would lead to more thorough, accurate, and relevant information across the board.

Taking a look into this research, first a definition and a deeper understanding of Social Science and Social Research must be examined. In the book, A Short Introduction to Social Research, by Matt Henn, Mark Weinstein, and Nick Foard, social research is examined. The reasons for its conduction says, "Social research may be carried out for a variety of reasons. For students and university academics, social research is conducted in order to extend our knowledge about some aspect of social life that we are interested in - whether our field is in business studies, humanities, or one of the social sciences. Typically, we are interested in either testing the appropriateness of existing theories which seek to account for the behavior we are interested in, or developing new insights - or constructing new theories - to help build our understanding of the process behind this behavior", (Henn, Weinstein, Foad, 7).

This explanation describes the functioning of our behaviors, the fields in which some choose to study, and being able to come up with new avenues in which even more social scientists may examine and study. Mainly it seems that social research is for the ability to give reasoning why certain actions equal certain feelings or motives.

To continue to better understand Social Science and research, a look into social theory may shed more information on this field. Research in other sciences, such as Biological Sciences and Natural Sciences have more concrete and factual ways of researching, that give true and substantial answers. For example, the study of the process of how flowers cycle before they bloom, is something that is concrete and stable, and process time after time will hold true, as the process has been documented and is undeniable.

Humans on the other hand, without regard to the physical body and biological sciences, the human mind's subjective decision making, and motives, is a less-concrete study, as the human brain may be constructed one universal way, the decision making and the mind processes of humans prove to be far more varying in its degrees to study and find true inalienable facts. Here is where social theory may provide a bit of insight into this. In Steven Miles' book, Social Theory in the Real World, he speaks about the usefulness of social theory and it possible utilizations.

Miles' writes, "At the very least, effective social theory is capable of having a real impact on how we perceive our own individual place in that world and how our own experiences actively reflect broader processes of social change,"(Miles, 1). This quote explains how human experience and the how it may change over the years, may signify the changing of times and social climates. It is small changes like these that social scientists must be perceptive to and be able to catch as



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