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Essentials of Research Methods A Guide to Social Science Research

ISBN-10: 0631230491
ISBN-13: 9780631230496
Edition: 2004
Authors: Janet M. Ruane
List price: $57.95 Buy it from $4.64
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Description: This is a text for introductory research methods courses, as required in several social science majors. Students taking this course are often resistant to the subject matter, and this text tackles this resistance by focusing the reader on  More...

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Book details

List price: $57.95
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/3/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.858
Language: English

This is a text for introductory research methods courses, as required in several social science majors. Students taking this course are often resistant to the subject matter, and this text tackles this resistance by focusing the reader on experiences in their everyday lives.

Janet M. Ruane (PhD, Rutgers University) is a professor of sociology at Montclair State University. She has served as her department's undergraduate and graduate program director. Professor Ruane's research interests include formal and informal social control mechanisms, media and technology, research methods, and applied sociology. She is the author of Essentials of Research Methods (Blackwell) and has contributed articles and chapters to several journals and collections including Sociological Forum, Sociological Inquiry, Law and Policy, Communication Research, Sociological Focus, Journal of Applied Sociology, and Science as Culture. Since stepping into her first classroom, Professor Ruane has accumulated decades of valuable teaching experience in both introductory and advanced-level sociology courses. These years have afforded her a wealth of opportunities for generating and fine-tuning many second thoughts.nbsp;

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
When Should We Trust What We Know? Why Research Methods?
Time-Based Knowing: Traditional Knowledge
Credential-Based Knowing: Authoritative Knowledge
More Risky Knowledge Sources: Common Sense and Intuition
Science as a Trustworthy Way of Knowing
Goals of Research
Using Research Methods to Become Critical Consumers of Information
Ethics: It's the Right Thing To Do
Research Should Not Cause Harm to Subjects
Researchers Should Obtain the Informed Consent of Subjects
Researchers Should Respect Subjects' Privacy
Researchers Should Avoid Conflicts of Interest
Ethical Reporting: The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth?
Reinforcing the Ethical Route: Institutional Review Boards
Ethical Fusion
Some Perfectly Valid Points: Measurement, Internal, and External Validity
Measurement Validity
Internal Validity
External Validity
Conclusions
Measure By Measure: Making the Abstract Concrete
Concepts and the Research Process
Bringing Theory Down to Earth
Conceptualization
Operationalization
Levels of Measurement
Operational Definitions
Conclusion
If It Glitters Is It Gold? Assessing Measures
Facing Off Our Measures
Content Validity
Criterion Validity
Construct Validity
Reliability Checks
Testing, Testing, Testing for Reliability
Multiple-Forms
Split-Half Technique
Noise and Bias
Measuring Up and Out
One Thing Leads to Another: Causal Analysis
Causal Models: Nomothetic and Idiographic
Causal Requirements
Causal Analysis and Research Design
Causal Analysis and Survey Research
Causality and Field Research
Conclusions
Designing Ideas: Research Strategies
It's All in the Timing
Cross-Sectional Research Designs
Longitudinal Research Designs
Units of Analysis
Conclusions
An Informative Few: Sampling
Obstacles to Representative Samples
A Representative Sample: Take a Chance
Non-Probability Techniques
Estimating Sampling Error
Just a Sampling of the Issues
Our Inquisitive Nature: The Questionnaire
The Way We Word
The Structure of Questions: Closed- and Open-Ended Questions
Putting It Together
Pre-Testing
Return to Sender: The Special Challenge of the Mailed Questionnaire
Delivering Questions Electronically
Ask and You Shall Receive
Talking Heads: The Interview
Conversational Exchange
Developing an Unstructured Guide
The Interview Schedule
Covering Sensitive Topics
Phone Home
The More the Merrier: Focus Groups
Training Issues
Tools of the Trade
The Final Word
Watch and Learn: Field Research
Location, Location, Location...and More
Fieldwork Tasks
Informal Interviews
Notes
Files
The Validity of Field Research
Getting Organized: Descriptive Statistics
How Did We Get to this Point?
Getting Organized
Summarizing Descriptions
Picture This
SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences)
Beyond Description: Inferential Statistics
The Normal Curve
Repeat After Me
The Sampling Distribution
Putting It Together
Some Concrete Examples
Bringing It Home
References
Web Resources
Index

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