ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Research Methods (for the Social Sciences)

Updated on July 22, 2013

What does this have to do with me anyway!!!

Research is found in all facets of life. You find it in articles, books, movies, and in everyday instances. Whether you are looking at articles about "10 ways to lose 10 lbs" or talking to a friend about the effects of stress on sleep. You are making assumptions about the legitimacy of the information and are unquestionably taking the information as factual.

While it might be nice to hear that "Drinking coffee lengthens lifespan" it is also important to realize that not all research is "good" and not all articles have done the appropriate research.

When you learn about the methods of research you can be an informed and educated person who can interpret whether these so called "facts" are really valid or reliable.

Uses of Research Methods:

-Assessing the effectiveness of treatments or programs

-Understanding and evaluating the legitimacy of research findings

-Becoming more knowledgable about the world around you.

-Discovering your own biases and the biases of others

Also check out my other sites

-Intro to statistics

-Intro to college chemistry

-Intro to college biology

Ways of Knowing:

AUTHORITY: People with power or prestige who relay information; Typically with the information portrayed as factual. (ex. doctor recommended)


--------We cannot research and study everything

--------Authority can be specialize in a given area


--------Not all information is factual

--------There may be incentives to misinform the public (ex. pharmaceutical companies give doctors free medication to prescribe)

--------Subject to bias of the person in authority (ex. Doctors could have a bias towards drug treatment instead of natural alternatives)

-INTUITION: Observations or saying leading to common beliefs about the world around us.


-------Can make a decision quickly

-------Can make a decision without previous knowledge


-------Individual bias will affect conclusions

-------illusory correlation: two events appearing to happen together (sometimes it is a coincidence or a third variable)

-------Limited knowledge could affect a critical decision

While both intuition and authority both have importance in everyday life.

The Scientific Approach has been used in all areas of science in order to conduct research, analyze the data, make hypotheses and predictions about the data and to expand our knowledge of the unknown.

-SCIENTIFIC APPROACH: A way of systematically investigate, research and analyze in order to come up with a sound conclusions based on the presence of evidence.


--------bias is limited due to the process involved.

--------All scientific reports are reviewed by peers in the science community

--------Research is testable or falsifiable

--------More certainty in the results


--------It can be a lengthy process

--------You may not have the resources needed (ex. equipment, people, surveys, data, etc..)

Goals of Research

1) Description (What, When, Where, Why)

2) Prediction (when this happens so will this)

3) Causality (what is the cause)

---temporal precedence: One condition must precede the other condition

---covariance of cause and effect: Both variable must be either present or absent. (ex. When condition A is present so is condition B, but when condition A is NOT present neither is condition B)

---eliminations of alternate explanations: There shouldn't be any other conditions present that could be an alternate hypothesis for causality of conditions.

4) Explanation (why does it occur)

5) Application (how can we use this knowledge in a practical way)


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)