Social research is the scientific study of society; where the underlying aspect is examining a society’s outlooks, assumptions, trends, rules, beliefs, and lines of stratification. The span of a social research study can be as narrow as to cover an individual or as broad as to cover an entire race or nation. Some of the popular topics under the coverage of social research include poverty, sexuality, voting trends, class issues, racism; criminal behavior and policing as well as gender allocations. Further, towards identifying the types of research it is important to understand that the core role of social research is to determine the relationship between one or more variables establishing the cause-effect relationships of social issues (Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2008).
There are two types of social research including Qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research is inductive in that the party carrying out the research formulates suppositions and abstractions from the available collected data. Under this type of research, the researcher’s goal is to understand how people make sense out of their surroundings and lives as well as the significance and the meanings placed upon different phenomena. Under this type of research, most of the data is attained through the use of words and pictures which are constructed from the people within the research coverage. An example under this case is a research enquiry into why a given group makes the choice of one politician and not the opponent. Quantitative research on the other hand is the opposite of qualitative research; as it often involves the coverage of numbers and set data; besides the fact that it focuses only on the end result and not the process towards the result. The data from quantitative research is often precise as is often attained through carrying out questionnaires or surveys. An example here is a research into the relationship between the levels of supply with varied rates of product prices (Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2008).
Regarding the types of social research, the other consideration can be placed on the method used in carrying out the research; where these different methods include reports, surveys, questionnaires, historical accounts, observations, census statistics and individual diary views. The uses of social research include understanding the phenomenon surrounding human daily lives towards ensuring that the best conditions are maintained. An example here is the enquiry into the rising levels of pollution; as the conclusions arrived at may be used towards solving the threat of environmental pollution. Social research is also useful towards establishing an understanding of group based morals, values, cultures and constructions of meaning towards attaining an understanding of the different inclinations which is helpful towards promoting the levels of tolerance and understanding required towards realizing peaceful global relations. Social research is also useful in decision making; as it may entail an enquiry into the benefits and the expenditure to be realized from a given project, program or choice; where in the case the benefits are higher than the demerits the choice will be done in support of the given enquiry. Social research has also been used in the control, organizing and running of social affairs; as the evaluative conclusions help towards making theses areas better managed. The other very significant use of social research is the making of studies and enquiries into human problems like crime, cheating in government and business, poverty, unemployment and drug abuse among others which can only be explained from a qualitative-quantitative combined approach, towards establishing viable solutions to these human problems (Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2008).
The relationship between theory and research is simply and ideally based on that theory is a guide towards a research enquiry. This can be explained based on the fact that the underlying theory is used in the generation of research hypotheses; which are to be either proved null or realistic through the application study of research. Additionally, the results and conclusions arrived at from the research enquiry may be used to refine the relationship association of the theory and its explanations. Based on these ideas, it can therefore be considered that the relationship is rather an inter-relation than a cause-effect relationship (Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2008).
During the process of selecting a researchable topic it is important that you choose a strong, valid area of study; where these will depend on whether the researcher has a strong interest and drive towards the topic under question. Besides establishing a topic that is interesting, it is important that you choose a topic that has received some prior study and research; as this information will be useful towards establishing support for your research enquiry. Third, it is important that the research enquiry intended supports the topic of study and more fundamentally the theses as this form the basis of the research topic. Fourth, the researcher should have carried out an informed study about the area of interest so as to raise a factual research topic and theses. The other issue is that that the prior study should cover a number of resources and most likely of different types like previous research data and written literature. Regarding the formulation of research questions, it is important to develop research questions within the areas of interest so as to ensure that the research enquiry remains focused. Additionally, during the choice of a research question it is important that the questions be broad enough to establish the necessary interrelation but streamlined enough to avoid giving a lot of general information details. The research question to be formulated should be answerable and most likely chosen from a list of questions based on that it covers best the areas of enquiry. Research questions should be formulated based on a comprehensive knowledge regarding the area of study; then lastly a professional review or advice may be sought towards refining the questions (Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2008).
Ethics being the norms of conduct; entail the guidelines geared towards promoting knowledge, avoidance of error and truth through ensuring that research is carried out in the most realistic ways; and that it avoids errors while still promoting the values that are essential to collaborative working within groups and among individuals. Some of the guidelines under this area include that honesty, integrity, objectivity, openness and carefulness be maintained during the research enquiry among all the parties involved. Other guidelines provide that the respect for intellectual property be maintained, confidentiality of information be observed, responsible mentoring and publication be observed as well as ensuring that social responsibility and respect be maintained. The other ethical values to be observed here include competence, non-discrimination, animal care; legality and subjects protection are maintained (Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2008).
Rosnow, R.L. & Rosenthal, R. (2008). Beginning behavioral research: A conceptual primer,
6th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.