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Constructing Social Research

Constructing Social Research
The Unity and Diversity of Method

Third Edition

April 2018 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The updated Third Edition of this innovative text shows the unity within the diversity of activities called social research to help students understand how all social researchers construct representations of social life using theories, systematic data collection, and careful examination of that data. 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?"

Updated throughout with new references and examples, this edition is designed to evoke challenging questions regarding the nature of representation and the ethical challenges facing social scientific researchers. The text moves beyond standard research challenges to push readers to see the complex relationships among ethics, ideas, evidence, and outcomes.

CHAPTER 1: What Is (and Is Not) Social Research?

Some Conventional Views of Social Research

Social Research and Other Ways of Representing Social Life

How Social Research Differs


CHAPTER 2: The Goals of Social Research

Seven Main Goals

The Link Between Goals and Strategies

The Social Nature of Social Research

CHAPTER 3: The Process of Social Research: Ideas and Evidence

The Interpretive Model of Social Research

Processes and Strategies of Social Research

The Challenge of Social Research

CHAPTER 4: The Ethics of Social Research


Ethical Dilemmas and Failures

The Troubled History of Ethical Research

The Current Ethical Standards and Institutional Oversight

Ethical and Professional Dilemmas Facing Social Researchers

The Problem of Representation


CHAPTER 5: Using Qualitative Methods to Study Commonalities

The Goals of Qualitative Research

The Process of Qualitative Research

Using Qualitative Methods

The Study of a Single Case

CHAPTER 6: Using Comparative Methods to Study Diversity

Contrasts With Other Research Strategies

The Goals of Comparative Research

The Process of Comparative Research

Using Comparative Methods


CHAPTER 7: Using Quantitative Methods to Study Covariation

The Goals of Quantitative Research

Contrasts With Other Research Strategies

The Process of Quantitative Research

Using Quantitative Methods


Afterword: The Promise of Social Research With Mary Driscoll
Appendix: Computing Correlation Coefficients
About the Authors

Treats research appropriately as an epistemological action of queries and interplay between induction and deduction. Other research textbooks tend to exclusively focus on the mechanics of the research process.

The authors' approach is helpful for students new to research and analysis. It allows me, within 4 months, to take students with no knowledge of sociological studies other than a cursory description of findings in an introductory class to a mastery level where they are able to conduct and write up an an original study.

Best book ever!

Darby Southgate
Sociology Dept, Los Angeles Valley College
February 8, 2024

The text is well written an researched.

Dr Joseph Adamo
Business Administration Dept, Cazenovia College
September 28, 2018

Charles Christopher Ragin

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... More About Author

Lisa M. Amoroso

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... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483379302

SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.