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Investigating the Social World
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Investigating the Social World
The Process and Practice of Research

Eighth Edition
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688 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
In this exciting new Eighth Edition of his leading social research text, author Russell K. Schutt, an award-winning researcher and teacher, continues to make the field come alive through research stories that illustrate the methods presented in each chapter. Through numerous examples and hands-on exercises that help students learn by doing, Investigating the Social World helps readers understand research methods as an integrated whole. Readers will learn to appreciate the value of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and understand the need to make ethical research decisions while also learning about research on contemporary social issues like the Internet and social relations, the police response to domestic violence, the sources of democracy, the determinants of voting, the impact of disasters, and the causes of violence.  

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award

Find out more at www.sagepub.com/sociologyaward

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PART I: FOUNDATIONS FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH
 
CHAPTER 1: SCIENCE, SOCIETY, AND SOCIAL RESEARCH
Learning About the Social World

 
Avoiding Errors in Reasoning About the Social World

 
Research in the News: Why Doesn't the Internet Reach Everyone?

 
Science and Social Science

 
Alternative Research Orientations

 
Strengths and Limitations of Social Research

 
 
CHAPTER 2: THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Social Research Questions

 
Social Theories

 
Social Research Foundations

 
Theoretical Perspectives for Social Research

 
Social Research Strategies

 
Research in the News: Investigating Child Abuse Doesn't Reduce It

 
Social Research Standards

 
 
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH ETHICS AND PHILOSOPHIES
Historical Background

 
Ethical Principles

 
The Institutional Review Board

 
Research in the News: What Would an IRB Say?

 
Social Research Proposals

 
Case Study: Evaluating a Public Health Program

 
 
PART II: FUNDAMENTALS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH
 
CHAPTER 4: CONCEPTUALIZATION AND MEASUREMENT
Concepts

 
Research in the News: What is Your Race?

 
Operationalization

 
Measurement

 
Levels of Measurement

 
Evaluating Measures

 
 
CHAPTER 5: SAMPLING
Sample Planning

 
Research in the News: What Are Best Practices for Sampling Vulnerable Populations?

 
Sampling Methods

 
Sampling Distributions

 
 
CHAPTER 6: RESEARCH DESIGN AND CAUSATION
Research Design Alternatives

 
Research in the News: How to Reduce Crime?

 
Criteria and Cautions for Nomothetic Causal Explanations

 
Comparing Research Designs

 
 
PART III: BASIC SOCIAL RESEARCH DESIGNS
 
CHAPTER 7: EXPERIMENTS
History of Experimentation

 
True Experiments

 
Research in the News: Where Did You Hear That?

 
Quasi-Experiments

 
Validity in Experiments

 
Ethical Issues in Experimental Research

 
 
CHAPTER 8: SURVEY RESEARCH
Survey Research in the Social Sciences

 
Writing Survey Questions

 
Combining Questions in Indexes

 
Designing Questionnaires

 
Research in the News: What Can Surveys Uncover?

 
Organizing Surveys

 
Ethical Issues in Survey Research

 
 
CHAPTER 9: QUANTITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
Introducing Statistics

 
Case Study: The Likelihood of Voting

 
Preparing Data for Analysis

 
Displaying Univariate Distributions

 
Summarizing Univariate Distributions

 
Research in the News: General Social Survey Shows Infidelity on the Rise

 
Analyzing Data Ethically: How Not to Lie With Statistics

 
Cross-Tabulating Variables

 
Regression Analysis

 
Analyzing Data Ethically: How Not to Lie About Relationships

 
 
CHAPTER 10: QUALITATIVE METHODS: OBSERVING, PARTICIPATING, LISTENING
Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods

 
Participant Observation

 
Research in the News: Can Taping Interviews Capture a Trend?

 
Intensive (In-Depth) Interviewing

 
Interviewing Online

 
Focus Groups

 
Generalizability in Qualitative Research

 
Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research

 
 
CHAPTER 11: QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
Features of Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Techniques of Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Research in the News: What’s in a Message?

 
Visual Sociology

 
Systematic Observation

 
Participatory Action Research

 
Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Ethics in Qualitative Data Analysis

 
 
PART IV: ADVANCED SOCIAL RESEARCH DESIGNS
 
CHAPTER 12: EVALUATION AND POLICY RESEARCH
History of Evaluation Research

 
Evaluation Basics

 
Questions for Evaluation Research

 
Research in the News: What Motivates Policy Shifts?

 
Design Decisions

 
Policy Research

 
Ethics in Evaluation

 
 
CHAPTER 13: HISTORICAL AND COMPARATIVE RESEARCH AND CONTENT ANALYSIS
Overview of Unobtrusive Methods for Historical and Comparative Research

 
Historical Social Science Methods

 
Comparative Social Science Methods

 
Research in the News: Across the globe can we compare ____?

 
Demographic Analysis

 
Content Analysis

 
Ethical Issues in Historical and Comparative Research and Content Analysis

 
 
CHAPTER 14: SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS AND BIG DATA
Secondary Data Sources

 
Research in the News: Long-term impact; how can research make the connection?

 
Challenges for Secondary Data Analyses

 
Big Data

 
Ethical Issues in Secondary Data Analysis and Big Data

 
 
CHAPTER 15: MIXED METHODS
History of Mixed Methods

 
Philosophy of Mixed Methods

 
Types of mixed methods

 
Strengths and Limitations of Mixed Methods

 
Ethics and Mixed Methods

 
Research in the News: What Came First, the Alleged Cause or the Effect?

 
 
CHAPTER 16: SUMMARIZING AND REPORTING RESEARCH
Writing Research

 
Displaying Research

 
Reporting Research

 
Research in the News: How Much Should Social Scientists Report?

 
Performing Meta-Analyses

 
Case Study: Broken Homes and Delinquency

 
Ethics, Politics, and Research Reports

 
 
Bibliography
 
Glossary

This offers a good coverage of some of the key aspects. It is easy to follow, and the students have engaged readily with it.

Ms Janet Goddard
Psychology, Social Work & Human Sci, University of West London
October 3, 2016

This book provides enough depth while still remaining accessible for undergraduates.

Mr Michael Alan Hollingsworth
Political Science , Univ Of South Alabama-Baldwin
September 26, 2016

Great book on Methods in Research. I was pleased with the ease in which I was able to add gerontological research in each chapter to illustrate research methodology alongside the sociological research as this was a course in, "Applied Research in Aging". Students enjoyed reading the text and the PowerPoint Supplements were fantastic!

Professor Judith Griffin
Sociology , University Of Massachusetts
October 23, 2015

I have used a previous version of this manual some years ago. I continue to find it fascinating how the author interweave topics and the completeness of the book. All in all it is a well rounded book.
However, in this more recent edition I find the design a little bit messy: too many things going at the same time in the same place (in line with previous editions but with more content).

That is an impression from my point of view as instructor. This messiness however offers lots of different resources, which I think is specilly suited for those engaged in self-learning. But as a course manual it leaves little room for an instructor, the book itself may play that role.

Ms Antonia Maria Ruiz Jimenez
Sociology, Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla
September 7, 2015

Ease of use by students. Readopted

Dr Johnny Gilleylen
Public Policy & Administration, Jackson State University
September 2, 2015

Very useful book for final year undergraduates who are learning about different research methodologies and are working on their first research projects

Dr Marina Shapira
school of applied, Stirling University
June 8, 2015

Better organized than previous version that I was using

Ms Kathy H Wibberly
Political Sci Pub Admin Dept, Va Commonwealth Univ-M Park
May 12, 2015

This is comprehensive, easy to follow and provides the core information necessary for teaching qualitative research methods. An excellent aid.

Ms Yvonne Murphy
Department of Government, University College Cork (NUI)
March 25, 2015

I recomend this book to my master and degree students as it is a very clarifier text. It is well structured and presented and includes lot of examples.

Dr Marian Ispizua
Sociology, Universidad del Pams Vasco
March 2, 2015

Really very good introduction level book - ideal for postgraduates but also it has been useful for final year undergraduates.

Dr Richard Whitecross
Accounting, Finacial Services and Law, Edinburgh Napier University
February 10, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

Chapter 8


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Russell K. Schutt

Russell K. Schutt, PhD, is a professor and the chair of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a lecturer on sociology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts Mental Health Center). He completed his BA, MA, and PhD (1977) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Sociology of Social Control Training Program at Yale University (1977–1979). His other books include Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research and Fundamentals of Social Work Research (with Ray Engel), Making Sense of the Social World (with Dan Chambliss), and... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

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