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

Eighth Edition

A student-friendly textbook that introduces the most cutting-edge research methods applied to engaging social issues.



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

Available with Perusall—an eBook that makes it easier to prepare for class
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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

Useful reference book for student library. Suits the higher level candidate.

Ms Elizabeth Cotterell
VTOS, Co Louth VEC
December 10, 2014

accessible review of social science; it's missing analytical skills and writing skills, which I cover with other texts

Dr Bruce Newsome
International and Area Studies, Univ Of California-Berkeley
November 25, 2014

Still considering this book with other texts for my research methods course. It's a finalist.

Professor Don Sawyer
Sociology Anthropology Dept, Quinnipiac University
August 15, 2015
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Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

Chapter 8


Russell K. Schutt

Russell K. Schutt, PhD, is Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston; Clinical Research Scientist I at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and Lecturer (part-time) in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. He completed his BA, MA, and PhD degrees at the University of Illinois at Chicago and his postdoctoral fellowship in the Sociology of Social Control Training Program at Yale University. In addition to co-authoring The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice (with Ronet Bachman), he is the author of Investigating... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.