Major Steps of Social Research -TU Notes

 Major Steps of Social Research 

In order to accomplish the research task effectively and expertly different steps are followed by the researcher. Broadly, they are: 

 1. Statement of the Problem/Selecting the Topic or Identification of the Problem:  

While  selecting  the  topic  researcher  should  be  aware  of  the  recent  trends  of  the  research  processes.  He  can  review  the  concerned  literature  from  research  journals,  research  articles,  conference  papers,  seminar  papers,  dissertations,  thesis,  academic  books,  government  reports  (CBS  Data)  and  non-government  records  as  well.    He  can  consult with his professors and other research scholars if needed. His identified  problem  should  be  genuine,  sensitive,  original,  beneficial,  interesting and of course researchable. People, program, problem and phenomena (p4) can also help him for selecting the genuine issue. 

 2.    Significance   or   Rationale   of   Research:

   After   selecting   the   topic   researcher should convince to his readers by saying its importance, its originality,  and  new  way  of  viewing  the  issue  through  different  theoretical perspective and to fill up the previous research gap. He has to   show   its   significance   to   the   readers   in   terms   of   knowledge   formation and its further investigation.   

3.     Formulating     Research     Questions: 

    Problematization     is     very     challenging task in academic research. Researcher should clearly state why and what he is going to study on that particular issue. By finding the previous research gap and a problem lies in the issue helps him to formulate the specific research questions. People, problems, programs and  phenomena  can  be  the  best  sources  for  formulating  research  questions.  His  own  social  context  and  the  given  sources  can  be  the  helpful  criteria  for  crafting  genuine  research  questions.  His  interest,  magnitude,  measurements  of  concepts,  level  of  expertise,  relevance,  availability of data and ethical issues are to be taken into consideration while  crafting  questions.  For  instance,  if  researcher  has  selected  the  topic  “community  forestry”  for  research,  then  his  research  questions  can be –

 What are the rules and regulations of community forestry?  

How forest products are distributed among the forest user groups?  

How  the  forest  users  perceive  the  community  forestry;  do  they  have citizenship towards community forestry or not?  

These can be some research questions before going into the field work.

4.    Objectives  of  the  Research:  

Researcher  should  state  the  general  and  specific objectives in his selected topic. He has to clearly mention what he  is  going  to  examine  in  his  research  problem.  For  instance,  if  the  researcher  has  conducted  the  research  on  community  forestry  he  can  formulate the objectives like:  

know the rules and regulations of community forestry

explore  how  the  forest  products  are  distributed  among  forest  user  groups  

find  out  the  perception  of  user  groups  towards  their  community  forestry 

5.   Limitation of the Research: 

Researcher can mention his limitations in his  research.  Practically  speaking,  there  might  be  the  limitation  in  research   methodology,   in   theoretical   perspectives   and   empirical   limitation  while  doing  the  qualitative  research.  Timing,  budgeting,  experience can also be the other limitations for research.   

6.   Extensive     Literature     Survey:

 A     good     literature     review     is     comprehensive,   critical   and   contextualized.   That   means   that   will   provide  the  reader  with  a  theory  base,  a  survey  of  published  works  that pertain to our investigation and an analysis of our work. It is often the  most  time  consuming  piece  of  dissertation  to  research  and  write.    He should find out the commonality while doing funneling. Literature. mview is very important task in sociological research. In order to find out   the   research   trends,   research   gaps   and   the   similarity   and   dissimilarity of his research issue such literature review is carried out intensively.    Practically  speaking,  he  can  review  through  research  journals,  research  articles,  research  based  books,  dissertations,  thesis,  seminar   papers,   government   reports   and   research   based   treatise.   Besides  these,  we  use  the  web  sites,  statics  SA,  The  UN,  known  research  institutes,  peer  reviewed  academic  journals  and  the  like.  It  should be critical evaluation of the previous writing that is relevant to what you are doing. It helps to widen his knowledge at one hand and creating his position by finding the previous research gap to the other.

7.   Theoretical Position of the Research: 

Researcher can select anyone of the  theoretical  lens  which  is  relevant  and  appropriate  to  him  in  accordance   with   the   nature   of   issue.   The   conceptual   operational   frameworks     are     explained     within     the     premises     of     theory.     Interpretation  must  be  theoretically  informed.  Here,  researcher  can  deploy  suicide  theory,  trauma  theory,  theory  of  cultural  alienation;  theory  of  depression  as  needed  but  the  data  must  be  theoretically  informed. He can select anyone of the theoretical lens in order to make his  argument  more  persuasive,  argumentative,  contemplative  and  plausible. 

8.      Conceptual  Framework  of  Research:  

It  is  an  academic  enterprise  where researcher can develop his operational framework.The  above  mentioned  conceptual  framework  displays  the  reality  that  suicide  is  an  effect  which  is  caused  by  external  and  internal  forces.  Lack of social integration, frustration by economic crisis, love tragedy, lack of social net from the state, inconsistency between his goal and his achieved status and loosing social respect and honor from the society are  some  triggering  factors  to  an  individual    which  have  coerced  and  forced him to commit  suicide. 

 9. Research   Methodology: 

It   is   the   heart   and   soul   of   sociological   research.  Researcher  can  select  appropriate  and  adequate  tools  and  techniques  in  order  to  generate  the  primary  data  from  the  universe.  Under   this   process,   sampling   types   and   procedures,   tools   and   techniques  of  data  collection  and  research  designs  are  determined  for  comprehensive  data  collection  process  in  order  to  meet  his  specified  objectives.

a.    Sampling  Size,  Types  and  Process: 

 Simply,  sampling  is  a  smaller  representation  of  the  larger  whole.  Researcher  can  select  some  fraction of the population from the entire universe. It is a short-cut alternative to study all the items independently. For instance, if the universe  comprises  176  households,  out  of  the  entire  households  researcher  can  select  88  households  (50%)  as  representative  items  in his research project. In sociological research 40 to 60% sampling is  taken  as  ideal  size  either  it  is  probability-random  sampling  or  non-probability  sampling  procedures.  It  should  be  adequate  and  appropriate  size  while  selecting  items.  Selecting  the  appropriate  respondents    or    informants    matters    a    lot    in    obtaining    the    information   from   the   universe.   His   research   questions   and   objectives instruct him to select the research collaborators from the universe.

b.   Selection   of   Key-informants,   Determining   Appropriate   Tools   and Techniques:

 Researcher should select the key informants who are  well  known  on  that  particular  issue.  The  key  respondents  are  selected to fulfill his specific objectives. Similarly, according to the nature  of  the  objectives  researcher  can  select  any  one  of  the  tools  like  social  survey  technique,  observation  method,  interview  and questionnaire  technique,  case  study  method  and  focused  group  discussion method in order to generate the data from the universe.

c.   Research   Design: 

 Research  design  is  the  overall  strategy  and  overall plan of the entire research project. It is the concrete answers of  WH  questions.  According  to  the  nature  of  the  social  issue  researcher  can  deploy  any  one  of  the  research  design-  descriptive,  exploratory,  historical,  experimental,  cross-  sectional,  longitudinal  etc

10.  Data Processing and classification of data: 

After the data collection is over  and  then  researcher  returns  back to his central office. Under this data   processing,   the   unnecessary   and   raw   data   are   omitted   and   cooked  data  are  put  in  a  sequential  order  in  order  to  interpret  and  analyze  the  revealed  data  scientifically.  Under  this  process  he  can  follow  the  steps  like  editing,  coding,  classification,  categorization  and  so forth. Quantitative data are kept in one column and qualitative data are kept in next column for scientific interpretation and analysis.    

11.  Interpretation  and  Analysis  of  Data: 

 Under  this  process  researcher  can  interpret  the  data  by  creating  graphs,  bar  graphs,  circles,  charts,  pie-  charts,  diagram  and  Venn-diagram  in  order  to  interpret  his  numerical  data.  He  can  display  and  interpret  the  data  with  facts  and  figures.  Similarly,  qualitative  data  are  analyzed  with  the  set  of  logics  and  theoretical  lens  in  order  to  make  his  argument  more  academic,  plausible, trust-worthy and persuasive. In an academic research often we do practice item level analysis, pattern level analysis and structure level analysis.  

12.  Summary  Conclusion  and  Generalization:  

After  the  interpretation  and analysis of data is over researcher comes to the final stage where he  can  precisely  summarize  his  overall  research  work.  His  summary  must  be  grounded  on  research  questions  and  the  gist  of  the  research  findings.  Similarly,  he  can  conclude  his  research  by  projecting  core  precise   points.   His   conclusion   must   be   supported   by   research   questions  and  revealed  facts.  There  should  not  be  any  biasness  and  romanticism  while  projecting  the  conclusion  in  his  research  findings.  It  is  expected  that  there  should  be  consistency  between  research  questions, research objectives and research findings.

References /Bibliography 

Researcher  should  provide  references  if  he  has  taken  some  paragraphs,  central thoughts and even pages from others. He should acknowledge the researchers   by   whom   the   thoughts   and   literature   review   parts   are   extracted.  His  read  books,  articles,  treatise  and  relevant  literature  can  be  traced out in bibliography sections. 

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