Research Fundamentals

If you have ever thought about how to improve educational outcomes, why race and ethnicity affect how people are treated by the criminal justice system, or whether gender predicts pay at your workplace, you have considered issues that interest social scientists. To research those topics using social scientific approaches, you would first gather data – maybe from interviews with teachers, your own observations of courtroom proceedings, or a survey of employees with different salaries. Then you would assess that evidence using theories about human action, interaction, and thought. While the specific questions researchers ask and the methods for answering those questions might vary, social science projects share similar designs. Their common features include reviewing existing explanations, analyzing relationships between concepts or variables, and connecting new findings to theories about how the world works.

ar130405. (2017). success strategy business solution. Pixabay.

As you continue through this module, you will learn how research differs from other forms of analysis, how the parts of a successful research project connect to each other, and what to consider as you develop your research question and review previous research about your topic. With a better understanding of what research is and how to design a study, you can begin to think about its relevance to your personal project.

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