Research Methodology B.Sc third year note chapter 1


 Social research

Meaning and definition 

Society is an organized group of persons associated together with shared objective, norms and values pertain to the society. People have social life and social process. Research is systematic and organized effort to investigate a specific problem that needs a solution. It contributes to the general body of knowledge. It also corrects human knowledge. Social research now can be defined as the systematic and objective analysis and recording of controlled observations that may lead to the development of generalization, principles or theories resulting in prediction and possibly ultimate control of events in society. It attempts to answer or solve social problems.  According to C.A. Moser : “Social research is a systematized investigation to gain new knowledge about social phenomenon and problems.”  

According to P.V. Young: “Social research is a scientific undertaking which by means of logical methods, aim to discover new facts or old facts and to analyze their sequences, interrelationships, casual explanations and natural laws which govern them.” 

Characteristics of social research

• It is directed towards the solution of problems. The ultimate goal is to discover cause-and-effect relationship between social problems.

• It emphasis the development of generalizations, principles or theories that will be helpful in predicting future occurrences.

• It is based upon observable experience or empirical evidence.

• It demands accurate observations and description. Researchers may choose from a variety or non- qualitative description of their observations.

 • It involves gathering new data from primary sources or using existence data for new purpose.

 • Although social research activities may at time be somewhat random and unsystematic, it is more often characterized by carefully designed procedure that applies rigorous analysis.

• It requires expertise. The researcher knows what is already known about the problem and how others have investigated.

 • It strives to the objective and logical applying every possible test to validate the procedure employed, data collected and conclusion reached.

• It involves the guests for answer to unsolved problems.

• It is characterized by patient and unhurried activity. Researcher must expect disappointment and discouragement as they pursue the answer to difficult question.

• It is carefully recorded and reported. Each important term is defined, limiting factors are recognized, procedures are described in detail, reference are carefully documented, results are objectively recorded and conclusions are presented with scholarly caution and restraint. • It is interdisciplinary in nature • It sometimes requires courage.  

Objectives of social research ™

  • To facilitate the understanding of human behavior. ™
  •  To acquire knowledge about social phenomena, events, issue, problems etc.
  •  To identify functional relationship existing in the social phenomena. ™
  • To find out the natural laws that regulates or directs social phenomena.
  •  To standardize the society concept, e.g. culture, struggle, generation gap, social distance etc.
  • To formulate solution to social problems.
  • To maintain social organization, remove social tension, misconception, etc ™
  • To develop social revival plan. 

Phases of social research (S.R.)

Phases of social research consist of a series of steps necessary to efficiently carry out research on any social phenomena. These actions are closely related. They can be overlapped.

Phases of S.R. basically refer to scientific research process. There are nine phases of social research.

™ Sensing or realizing problem: –  The first step in SR process is observing the situation and sensing problem. New problems keep on emerging in the social environment. One should sense these development origins in the environment. At this stage, one may not know exactly what is happening but one can definitely sense that things are not going smoothly as they should be.  

™ Problem identification:   Once one become aware of what is happening in the environment, he/she would then focus on the problem. The researcher singles out the problem for the study, i.e. what exactly are the problems in the situation. It is thus, problem-defining stage. Without a focused definition of problem, data tends to be irrelevant, expensive and confusing. Research problem should be specific. 

™ Theoretical framework:  Once the problem is identified, the researcher carefully studies the earlier studies, if any which are similar to the study in hand. It helps to integrate information locally so that reason for the problem can be conceptualized. This helps to develop theoretical framework. This step essentially involves a review of related literature. It familiarizes the researcher with what is already known and what is still unknown and untested.  ™

 Hypothesis formulation:  After developing theoretical framework, the researcher develops hypothesis. It is drawn from the theoretical framework. A hypothesis is a tentative answer to question. It is an educated guess.

It is generally based upon prior research. It is subjected to the process of verification or disconfirmation.

 Hypothesis is conjectured relationship between two or more variables expressed in the form of testable statements. 

™ Research design: It is the plan, structure and strategy for conducting research. It describes the general framework for collecting, analyzing and evaluating data. It helps to obtain answer to research questions and to control variance. It enables the researcher to answer research questions to validity, objectively, accurately and economically as possible. Design should be carefully worked out to yield dependable and valid answer to the research questions.  

™ Collection of data:  At this stage, the researcher has to collect data as expected. Data can be obtained from primary source or secondary source. Questionnaire, interview, observation are major instruments to collect data. This step is also called fieldwork because researcher has to visit field for administering the research instruments to collect  data. 

™ Data analysis: 

 It is statistical analysis that has been collected, edited, coded and tabulated. In other words, data analysis means the categorizing, ordering, manipulating and summarizing of data to obtain answer to research’s question. Its purpose is to reduce data to intelligible and interpretable form so that elations of research problem can be studied and tested. Different statistical techniques are used at this stage. 

™ Interpretation and generalization: Interpretation takes the result of data analysis, makes inference pertinent to the research relation studied and draws conclusion about the relations. Generalization is the act of giving general form to these conclusions. 

™ Report preparation: Finally the researcher has to prepare the report of his/her research. Its objective is to tell readers the problems investigated, the method used to solve problems, result of the investigation and the conclusion from the result. 

Types of Social Research: –

 Basic research: It is also called fundamental research. It is undertaken to improve our understanding of certain problems that commonly occur in social setting and how to solve them. It undertaken for sole purpose of adding to our knowledge that is fundamental and generalizable. This type of research may have no immediate or planned application. But it may later used in further research of an applied nature. Its objective is therefore, is not apply the findings to solve immediate problems at hand, rather to understand more about certain phenomena or problem that occur in social life or settings, and how they can be solved. It contributes to theory formation. This research work of professors, scholars and other researchers devoted to generate new knowledge in particular area of their interest can be called fundamental research. Basic research is essentially positive. It explains the phenomena as they are and as not they should be. It may verify or establish new one. It is an intellectual exercise.  

 Applied research:  It is also called action or decisional research. It is undertaken in response to a social problem, which requires a solution. Its major purpose is to answer practical and useful question. The results are practically applied to solve immediate   problems. It involves normative prescription. As applied research id concerned with knowledge that has immediate application. It is also called decisional research.   Differences between Basic and Applied research 

Differences Basic research Applied research Purpose  


Its purpose is to add human knowledge. 

Knowledge or

Its purpose is to answer practical question    

Time scale 


Ability to solve problem

findings is fundamental and generalizable.   (Theoretical). 

Flexible time scale. It results in universal principles relating to the process and its relationship to outcomes. 

It doesn’t solve immediate problem in hand.

It is applied and more specific (practical).  

Tight time scale. 

It results in solution to problem.    

It has immediate application.


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