Theory, Methods and Techniques
- Piergiorgio Corbetta - University of Bologna, Italy
Social Research: Theory, Methods and Techniques presents an understanding of social research practice through appreciation of its foundations and methods. Stretching from the philosophy of science to detailed descriptions of both qualitative and quantitative techniques, it illustrates not only `how' to do social research, but also `why' particular techniques are used today.
The book is divided into three parts:
Part One: Illustrates the two basic paradigms - quantitative and qualitative - of social research, describing their origins in philosophical thought and outlining their current interpretations.
Part Two: Devoted to quantitative research, and discusses the relationship between theory and research practice. It also presents a discussion of key quantitative research techniques.
Part Three: Examines qualitative research. Topics range from classical qualitative techniques such as participant observation, to more recent developments such as ethnomethodological studies.
Overall, the author offers an engaging contribution to the field of social research and this book is a reminder of the solid foundations upon which most social research is conducted today. As a consequence it will be required reading for students throughout the social sciences, and at various levels.
The crucial problem I had with this book relates to the presence of an Italian translation. Students tend to read the Italian version without acquiring the required vocabulary.
The book offers a clear overview of the different techniques applied to social research. In particular, the ongoing parallel between quantitative and qualitative methods enables students to have a better understanding of the cardinal issues involved in the two mainstreams. It maintains a sociological perspective that may not always fit the "social psychology" modules.
A great resource for students thinking about their social research methodology.
Particularly useful for undergraduate study and have recommended as general text for dissertation modules.