You are here

Key Concepts in Social Research

Key Concepts in Social Research

First Edition

March 2004 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
`This clearly written and user-friendly book is ideal for students or researchers who wish to get a basic, but solid grasp of a topic and see how it fits with other topics. By following the links a student can easily and efficiently build up a clear conceptual map of social research' - Malcolm Williams, Reader in Sociology, University of Plymouth

`This is a really useful book, written in an accessible manner for students beginning their study of social research methods. It is helpful both as an introductory text and as a reference guide for more advanced students. Most of the key topics in methods and methodology are covered and it will be suitable as a recommended text on a wide variety of courses' - Clive Seale, Goldsmiths College, University of London

At last, an authoritative, crystal-clear introduction to research methods which really takes account of the needs of students for accessible, focused information to help with undergraduate essays and exams. The key concepts discussed here are based on a review of teaching syllabi and the authors' experience of many years of teaching. Topics range over qualitative and quantitative approaches and combine practical considerations with philosophical issues. They include several new topics, like internet and phone polling, internet searches, and visual methods. Each section is free-standing, can be tackled in order, but with links to other sections to enable students to cross-reference and build up a wider understanding of central research methods.

To facilitate comprehension and aid study, each section begins with a definition. It is followed by a summary of key points with key words and guides to further reading and up-to-date examples.

The book is a major addition to undergraduate reading lists. It is reliable, allows for easy transference to essays and exams and easy to use, and exceptionally clearly written for student consumption. The book answers the needs of all those who find research methods daunting, and for those who have dreamt of an ideal introduction to the subject.

Action Research
Association and Causation
Attitude Scales
Auto/Biography and Life Histories
Case Study
Coding Qualitative Data
Community Profiles
Community Studies
Content Analysis
Contingency Tables
Documentary Methods
Ethical Practice
Ethnomethodology and Conversational Analysis
Evaluation Studies
Feminist Research
Grounded Theory
Group Discussions/Focus Groups
Hawthorne Effect
Indicators and Operationalisations
Internet and Other Searches
Internet Polling
Key Informants
Levels of Measurement
Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Studies
Methods and Methodologies
Official Statistics
Participant Observation
Positivism and Realism
Qualitative Methods
Quantitative Methods
Estimates and Size

Questions of Size


Secondary Analysis
Social Surveys
Telephone and Computer-Assisted Polling
Unobstrusive Methods and Triangulation
Visual Methods

Great book - just loving it and definitely recommending it.

Dr Hanna Eichmann
Gesundheits- u. Pflegewissenschaften, West Saxon University of Applied Sci's of Zwickau
May 7, 2012

This book lays out in clear simple terms the main concepts and language used in research. This is useful for the complete beginner, however, someone writing an assignment or dissertation would not fully benefit from it.

Ms Denise Elliott
primary education, Stranmillis University College
July 26, 2011

Geoff Payne

Teaching Interests: Social Research Methods; Social Inequalities, Divisions and Mobilities Research Interests – current: Social Research Methods; Social Mobility; Social Processes in (small rural) Communities; 'Family History' Research Interests – recent: Class Identities; Literacy; Gender; Ethnicity; Poverty. More About Author

Judy Payne

Mrs. Judy Payne is Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Educator in the department of Adolescent, Career, and Special Education. She is also the Career and Technical Education program coordinator.... More About Author

For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9780761965435
ISBN: 9780761965428

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.