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RESEARCH
STRATEGIES
1
2
FOUNDATION CONCEPTS IN
RESEARCH
1. ONTOLOGY
• ‘the science or study of being’
• Assumption of the nature of social reality...
2. EPISTEMOLOGY
• ‘the theory or science of the method or
grounds of knowledge’
• It consists of ideas about what can coun...
3. Methods
• As techniques or procedures used to collect and
analyze data. ( method of data collection;
method of data ana...
5. Research design
• The planning aspect of research project (e.g.
survey design, experiment, case study
longitudinal, cro...
A MANIFESTO FOR SOCIAL
RESEARCH
1. Social research is about answering
research questions
2. Three types of research questi...
4. ‘Why” questions are concerned with
understanding or explanation –explanatory,
‘How’ questions are concerned with
interv...
RESEARCH STRATEGIES
1. RS provide a logic, or a set of procedures, for answering
research questions, particularly “what” a...
INDUCTIVE
• The Inductive approach to enquiry builds
generalisations out of observations of specific
events. It starts wit...
DEDUCTIVE
•It begins explicitly with a tentative
hypothesis or set of hypotheses that
form a theory which could provide a
...
RETRODUCTIVE
• involves the building of hypothetical models as a
way of uncovering the real structures and
mechanisms whic...
ABDUCTIVE
• used by Interpretivism to produce scientific accounts of
social life by drawing on the concepts and meanings
u...
14
Inductive Research Strategies
(Positivism)
• Starts with the collection data; then proceeds to
derive generalizations usin...
• Meticulous and objective observation and
measurement, and the careful and accurate analysis
of data are required to prod...
• Consisting three principles:
• Accumulation
• Induction
• Instance confirmation
• The strategy consists four main stages...
Deductive Research Strategy
(Critical Rationalism)
• It is particularly appropriate for answering
of “why” questions.
• Th...
• The task is to test that theory by deducing one or more
hypotheses from it, and then collect appropriate data.
• Should ...
• Deductive also known as hypothetico-deductive
method, or falsificationism.
• Epistemological assumptions: the aim of sci...
• Essential steps
1. Begin by putting forward a tentative idea, a
conjecture, a hypothesis or a set of hypotheses
that for...
4. Test the conclusion by gathering appropriate
data; make the necessary observations or
conduct the necessary experiments...
Retroductive Research Strategy
(Scientific Realism)
• Also starts with an observed regularity but
seeks a different type o...
• This may need to be done by indirect
methods, as the structure or mechanisms
may not indirectly observable.
• The search...
• Social reality is viewed either as a socially
constructed world in which social episodes
are the products of the cogniti...
• The retroductive research strategy can be
summarized as follows:
1. In order to explain observable phenomena and
the reg...
4. The model is then tested as a hypothetical
description of actually existing entities and their
relations. To do so, it ...
6. It may be possible to obtain more direct
confirmation of these existential claims, by the
development and use of suitab...
Abductive Research Strategy
(Interpretativism) -Qualitative
• The idea of abduction refers to the
process used to generate...
• The starting point is the social world of the social
actors being investigated: their construction of
reality, their way...
• The task is to re-describe these motives and actions,
and situations in which they occur, in the technical
language of s...
•Thus, abduction strategy focuses on the
process of moving from lay descriptions
of social life to technical descriptions ...
• It has two stages:
1. Describing these activities and meanings; and
2. Deriving categories and concepts that can
form th...
• Brief steps:
1. The social scientist observes certain facts
and event within social reality which
refer to human action....
The logic of four research
strategies (Summary)
1. Inductive
• AIM: To establish universal
generalizations to be used as p...
2. Deductive
• AIM: To test theories to eliminate false ones and
corroborate the survivor
• FROM: Borrow or construct a th...
3. Retroductive
• AIM: To discover underlying mechanisms to explain
observed regularities.
• FROM: Document and model a re...
4. Abductive
• AIM: To describe and understand social life
in terms of social actors’ motives and
accounts.
• FROM: Discov...
WHAT RESEARCH STRATEGY / STRATEGIES WILL YOU
APPLY IN YOUR FUTURE RESEARCH?
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RESEARCH STRATEGIES

  1. 1. RESEARCH STRATEGIES 1
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. FOUNDATION CONCEPTS IN RESEARCH 1. ONTOLOGY • ‘the science or study of being’ • Assumption of the nature of social reality • Claims about what exists • What it looks like • What units make it up • How these units interact with each other • In short ontology assumptions are concerned with what we believe constitutes a social reality. 3
  4. 4. 2. EPISTEMOLOGY • ‘the theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge’ • It consists of ideas about what can count as knowledge, • What can be known • What criteria such knowledge must satisfy in order to be called knowledge rather belief • It refers to claims or assumptions made about possible ways of gaining knowledge of social reality. • In short, claims about how what is assumed to exist can be known. 4
  5. 5. 3. Methods • As techniques or procedures used to collect and analyze data. ( method of data collection; method of data analysis ) • The execution of the project 4. Methodology • Refers to discussions of how research is done, or should be done, and to the critical analysis of methods of research. • Refer to the entire research process from problem identification to data analysis • A critical evaluation of alternative research strategies and methods. 5
  6. 6. 5. Research design • The planning aspect of research project (e.g. survey design, experiment, case study longitudinal, cross sectional) 6. Research strategy • The logic of inquiry • How to answer the research questions 6
  7. 7. A MANIFESTO FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH 1. Social research is about answering research questions 2. Three types of research questions: ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’. 3. Social research also addresses one of the following objectives: exploration, description, understanding, explanation, prediction, intervention (change), evaluation and impact assessment. 7
  8. 8. 4. ‘Why” questions are concerned with understanding or explanation –explanatory, ‘How’ questions are concerned with intervention – impact/effect. All other objectives involve the use of ‘what’ questions -descriptive. 8
  9. 9. RESEARCH STRATEGIES 1. RS provide a logic, or a set of procedures, for answering research questions, particularly “what” and “why” questions. 2. It determine the research designs and methods used in research. 3. In brief, there are four strategies ► Inductive ► Deductive ► Retroductive ► Abductive • In real research, we normally use a combination of them. 9
  10. 10. INDUCTIVE • The Inductive approach to enquiry builds generalisations out of observations of specific events. It starts with singular or particular statements and ends up with general or universal propositions. • (From small to big) 10
  11. 11. DEDUCTIVE •It begins explicitly with a tentative hypothesis or set of hypotheses that form a theory which could provide a possible answer or explanation for a particular problem, then proceeds to use observations to rigorously test the hypotheses. •(From big to small) 11
  12. 12. RETRODUCTIVE • involves the building of hypothetical models as a way of uncovering the real structures and mechanisms which are assumed to produce empirical phenomena. • The model, if it were to exist and act in the postulated way, would therefore account for the phenomena in question. • In constructing these models of mechanisms that have usually never been observed, ideas may be borrowed from known structures and mechanisms in other fields. 12
  13. 13. ABDUCTIVE • used by Interpretivism to produce scientific accounts of social life by drawing on the concepts and meanings used by social actors and the activities in which they engage. • acknowledges that human behaviour depends on how individuals interpret the conditions in which they find themselves and accepts that it is essential to have a description of the social world on its own terms. It is the task of the social scientist to discover and describe this world from an 'insider' view and not impose an 'outsider' view. 13
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. Inductive Research Strategies (Positivism) • Starts with the collection data; then proceeds to derive generalizations using so-called inductive logic. • Aims: to determine the nature of the regularities, or networks of regularities in social life. (i.e. theory construction). • Once the regularities established they can be used to explain the occurrence of specific events by locating them within the pattern of established regularities. • It is useful for answering “what” questions but rather limited in its capacity to answer “why” questions. 15
  16. 16. • Meticulous and objective observation and measurement, and the careful and accurate analysis of data are required to produce scientific discoveries. • It is based on positivism. • It entails ontological assumptions about an ordered universe made of discrete and observable events. • In its epistemological assumptions, knowledge is considered to be produced through the use of human senses and by means of experimental or comparative analysis. • The sense produce “observations” or data. • Adopting “objective” procedures. 16
  17. 17. • Consisting three principles: • Accumulation • Induction • Instance confirmation • The strategy consists four main stages: • All facts are observed and recorded without selection or guesses as to their relative importance. • These facts are analyzed, compared and classified, without using hypotheses. • From this analysis, generalizations are inductively drawn as to relations between the facdts. • These generalizations are subjected to further testing. 17
  18. 18. Deductive Research Strategy (Critical Rationalism) • It is particularly appropriate for answering of “why” questions. • The strategy begins with some regularity that has been discovered (theory) and which begs an explanation. • The researcher has to find or formulate a possible explanation, a theoretical argument for the existence of behaviour or social phenomenon under consideration. 18
  19. 19. • The task is to test that theory by deducing one or more hypotheses from it, and then collect appropriate data. • Should the match the theory, some support will be provided for its continuing use, particularly if further tests produce similar results. • However, if the data do not match the theory, the theory must be either modified or rejected. • Further testing of other candidate theories can then be undertaken. • Therefore, according to this research strategy, knowledge of the social world is advanced by means of a trial and error process. 19
  20. 20. • Deductive also known as hypothetico-deductive method, or falsificationism. • Epistemological assumptions: the aim of science is to discover the uniformities, to find universal statements that are true because they correspond to the facts of nature. 20
  21. 21. • Essential steps 1. Begin by putting forward a tentative idea, a conjecture, a hypothesis or a set of hypotheses that form a theory. 2. With the help, perhaps, of other previously accepted hypotheses, or by specifying the conditions under which the hypotheses are expected to hold, deduce a conclusion, or a number of conclusions. 3. Examine the conclusions and the logic of the argument that produced them. Compare this argument with existing theories to see if it constitutes and advanced in our understanding. If your are satisfied with this examination, then: 21
  22. 22. 4. Test the conclusion by gathering appropriate data; make the necessary observations or conduct the necessary experiments. 5. If the test fails, i.e. if the data are not consistent with the conclusion, the theory must be falsed. If the original conjecture does not match the data, it must be rejected. 6. If, however, the conclusion passes the test, i.e. the data are consistent with it, the theory is temporarily supported; it is corroborated, but not proven to be true. 22
  23. 23. Retroductive Research Strategy (Scientific Realism) • Also starts with an observed regularity but seeks a different type of explanation. • Explanation is achieved by locating the real underlying structure or mechanism that is responsible for producing the observed regularity. • To discover a structure or mechanism that has been previously unknown, the researcher has to first construct a hypothetical model of it, and then proceed to establish its existence. 23
  24. 24. • This may need to be done by indirect methods, as the structure or mechanisms may not indirectly observable. • The search is for evidence of the consequences of its existence; should it exist, certain events can be expected to occur (prediction). • Retroduction uses creative imagination and analogy to work back from data to an explanation. 24
  25. 25. • Social reality is viewed either as a socially constructed world in which social episodes are the products of the cognitive resources social actors bring to them. 25
  26. 26. • The retroductive research strategy can be summarized as follows: 1. In order to explain observable phenomena and the regularities that obtain between them, scientists must attempt to discover appropriate structure and mechanisms. 2. Since these structure and mechanisms will typically be unavailable to observation, it is necessary to first construct a model of them, often drawing upon already familiar sources. 3. A model is such that, were it to represent correctly these structures and mechanisms, the phenomena would then be causally explained. 26
  27. 27. 4. The model is then tested as a hypothetical description of actually existing entities and their relations. To do so, it is necessary to work out further consequences of the model (that is, additional to the phenomena to be explained), that can be tested in a manner open to empirical testing. 5. Is these tests are successful, this gives good reason to believe in the existence of these structures and mechanisms. 27
  28. 28. 6. It may be possible to obtain more direct confirmation of these existential claims, by the development and use of suitable instruments. 7. The whole process of model-building may then be repeated, in order to explain the structures and mechanisms already discovered. 28
  29. 29. Abductive Research Strategy (Interpretativism) -Qualitative • The idea of abduction refers to the process used to generate social scientific accounts from social actors’ accounts; for deriving technical concepts and theories from lay concepts and interpretations of social life. • It has a very different logic to the other three strategies. 29
  30. 30. • The starting point is the social world of the social actors being investigated: their construction of reality, their way of conceptualizing and giving meaning to their social world, their tacit knowledge. (constructivist). • This can be discovered from the accounts which social actors provide. • Their reality, the way they have constructed and interpreted their activities together, is embedded in their language. • Hence, the researcher has to enter their world in order to discover the motives and reasons that accompany social activities. 30
  31. 31. • The task is to re-describe these motives and actions, and situations in which they occur, in the technical language of social scientific discourse. • Individual motives and actions have to be abstracted into typical motives for typical actions in typical situations. • These social scientific typifications provide an understanding of the activities, and may then become the ingredients in more systematic explanatory accounts. 31
  32. 32. •Thus, abduction strategy focuses on the process of moving from lay descriptions of social life to technical descriptions of that social life. •In other words, the abductive strategy involves constructing theory that is grounded in everyday activities, and/or in the language and meaning of social actors. 32
  33. 33. • It has two stages: 1. Describing these activities and meanings; and 2. Deriving categories and concepts that can form the basis of an understanding or an explanation of the problem at hand. 33
  34. 34. • Brief steps: 1. The social scientist observes certain facts and event within social reality which refer to human action. 2. He constructs typical behaviour or course-of-action patterns from which he has observed. 3. He co-ordinates to these typical course- of-action patterns a personal type, a model of an actor whom he imagines as being gifted with consciousness. 4. An so on. 34
  35. 35. The logic of four research strategies (Summary) 1. Inductive • AIM: To establish universal generalizations to be used as pattern explanation. • FROM: Accumulate observations or data; Produce generalization • TO: use these ‘laws’ as patterns to explain further observation. 35
  36. 36. 2. Deductive • AIM: To test theories to eliminate false ones and corroborate the survivor • FROM: Borrow or construct a theory and express it as an argument; deduce hypotheses. • TO: Test hypotheses by matching them with data 36
  37. 37. 3. Retroductive • AIM: To discover underlying mechanisms to explain observed regularities. • FROM: Document and model a regularity; Construct a hypothetical model of a mechanism. • TO: Find the real mechanism by observation and/or experiment. 37
  38. 38. 4. Abductive • AIM: To describe and understand social life in terms of social actors’ motives and accounts. • FROM: Discover everyday lay concepts, meanings and motives; Produce a technical account from lay account. • TO: Develop a theory and test it iteratively (repeatedly) 38
  39. 39. WHAT RESEARCH STRATEGY / STRATEGIES WILL YOU APPLY IN YOUR FUTURE RESEARCH? 39
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