Fundamentals of Social Research

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Section 1: Science, Constructs, and Definitions

Section 2: Foundations of Scientific Literature

Section 3: Variables and Hypotheses

Section 4: Writing For Research

Section 5: Research Designs

Section 6: Data Collection and Qualitative Designs

I’ve developed a section of brief documents and handouts to supplement this material, simply called Research Tools.

Course SLOs

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify social science principles, distinguish structured empirical methods from informal observations, and recognize biases in research. (Section 1)
  2. Explain the role of theories in social sciences, differentiate them from other forms of knowledge, and apply this understanding in formulating research problems. (Section 1)
  3. Identify and differentiate types of scholarly articles in social science and evaluate their contributions to the research knowledge base. (Section 2)
  4. Formulate testable research hypotheses with clear variable relationships and understand variable types and measurement scales. (Section 3)
  5. Synthesize sources into cohesive literature reviews, organize by topic, and analyze research methods to identify knowledge gaps. (Section 4)
  6. Analyze and interpret numerical data in quantitative research and understand the principles of experimental designs in social research. (Section 5)
  7. Differentiate and apply various qualitative and historical research methods, understanding their significance in exploring behaviors and societal understanding. (Section 6)

Statement of Purpose

Welcome to Fundamentals of Social Research, an open educational resource (OER) textbook designed to provide a comprehensive and engaging learning experience for students. This freely available online textbook embodies modern thinking and best practices in educational pedagogy, offering the unique advantage of immediate reader feedback to continually enhance the content.

Our purpose is to offer a clear and accessible resource that equips students with a solid foundation in social research. By making this textbook freely available online, we ensure that learners from diverse backgrounds can access high-quality educational materials without financial barriers. This OER version also enables readers to actively participate in the improvement of the textbook by providing immediate feedback to the authors regarding the content, thereby fostering a collaborative and iterative learning experience.

Through the integration of real-life examples, diverse perspectives, and current research, we strive to make the study of social research relevant and meaningful to students’ lives. This open textbook encourages active learning, featuring numerous opportunities for students to engage with the material through thought-provoking exercises, reflective activities, and application-based scenarios.

The benefits of the free online OER version are numerous. Firstly, it eliminates financial barriers, making quality education accessible to all students. Secondly, the digital format enables readers to access the textbook anytime, anywhere, fostering flexibility and convenience.

As authors, we are committed to continuous improvement, actively seeking and incorporating reader feedback to enhance the textbook’s content and pedagogical effectiveness. By providing an open platform for engagement and dialogue, we foster a community of learners who actively contribute to the ongoing development of Fundamentals of Social Research.

Modification History

File Created:  07/24/2018

Last Modified:  07/25/2024

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This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.

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