Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices

(14 reviews)


Anol Bhattacherjee, University of South Florida

Pub Date: 2012

ISBN 13:

Publisher: Global Text Project

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Reviewed by Paul Goren, Professor, University of Minnesota, on 7/16/2014.

This text introduces social science doctoral students to the research process. It can be used in sociology, political science, education public … read more



Reviewed by Brendan Watson, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, on 7/16/2014.

See overall comments.

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Reviewed by Anika Leithner, Associate Professor, California Polytechnic State University, on 7/16/2014.

This text certainly covers all the basic concepts and processes I would expect to find in an introduction to social sciences research. What I … read more



Reviewed by Jim Hutchinson, Lecturer, University of Minnesota, on 6/11/2015.

This text covers all the basic concepts expected in a book on social science research. However, it does so at a fairly superficial level. The author … read more



Reviewed by Allison White, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University , on 1/8/2016.

This text covers a wide array of topics relevant to social science research, including some that are not traditionally included but are welcome … read more



Reviewed by Andrew Knight, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, Colorado State University, on 1/8/2016.

I have not seen a more comprehensive text for this topic area, and yet it retains a concision that I would have appreciated as a PhD student when I … read more



Reviewed by Dana Whippo, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Economics, Dickinson State University, on 1/8/2016.

For its purpose, as introduced by the author, this is appropriately comprehensive. However, it is much more brief, more concise, than traditional … read more



Reviewed by Yen-Chu Weng, Lecturer, University of Washington, on 8/22/2016.

Dr. Bhattacherjee’s book, Social Science Research, is a good introductory textbook for upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students to … read more



Reviewed by Tamara Falicov, Associate Professor, University of Kansas, on 8/22/2016.

The book is divided into sixteen chapters, which seemed a bit intimidating at first. I later realized that they are not necessarily very long … read more



Reviewed by Robin Bartlett, Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, on 12/6/2016.

Generally the major topics are covered. The table of contents (chapter listing) makes it easy to find content. Occasionally I found what I thought … read more



Reviewed by Kelly Pereira, Assistant Professor, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, on 12/6/2016.

This text offers a comprehensive overview of social science research methods appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. The text … read more



Reviewed by Rachel Lucas-Thompson, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University, on 12/6/2016.

As acknowledged by the author in the preface, this is intended as a survey book that doesn't cover all topics in great detail. The upside is that … read more



Reviewed by Peter Harris, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University, on 12/6/2016.

This is a comprehensive overview of research design and research methods in the social sciences. The book's introductory sections offer a discussion … read more



Reviewed by Divya Varier, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, on 2/9/2017.

The textbook adequately covers most fundamental concepts related to research methods in the social sciences. Areas that would need attention: a … read more


Table of Contents

Introduction to Research

  • Chapter 1: Science and Scientific Research
  • Chapter 2: Thinking Like a Researcher
  • Chapter 3: The Research Process
  • Chapter 4: Theories in Scientific Research

Basics of Empirical Research

  • Chapter 5: Research Design
  • Chapter 6: Measurement of Constructs
  • Chapter 7: Scale Reliability and Validity
  • Chapter 8: Sampling

Data Collection

  • Chapter 9: Survery Research
  • Chapter 10: Experimental Research
  • Chapter 11: Case Research
  • Chapter 12: Interpretive Research


  • Chapter 16: Research Ethics

About the Book

This book is designed to introduce doctoral and graduate students to the process of scientific research in the social sciences,  business, education, public health, and related  disciplines.  This book is based on my lecture materials developed over a decade of teaching the  doctoral-level class on Research Methods at the University of South Florida.   The target  audience for this book includes Ph.D. and graduate students, junior researchers, and professors teaching courses on research methods, although senior researchers can also use this book as a handy and compact reference.

The first and most important question potential readers should have about this book is how is it different from other text books on the market?  Well, there are four key differences. First, unlike other text books, this book is not just about “research methods” (empirical data collection and analysis) but about the entire “research process” from start to end.  Research method is only one phase in that research process, and possibly the easiest and most structured one.  Most text books cover research methods in depth, but leave out the more challenging, less structured, and probably more important issues  such as theorizing and thinking like a researcher, which are often prerequisites of empirical research.  In my experience, most doctoral students become fairly competent  at research methods during their Ph.D. years, but struggle to generate interesting or useful research questions or build scientific theories.  To address this deficit, I have devoted entire chapters to topics such as “Thinking Like a Researcher” and “Theories in Scientific Research”, which are essential skills for a junior researcher.

Second, the book is succinct and compact by design.  While writing the book, I decided to focus only on essential concepts, and not fill pages with clutter that can divert the students’ attention to less relevant or tangential  issues.  Most doctoral seminars include a fair complement of readings drawn from the respective discipline.  This book is designed to complement those readings by summarizing all  important  concepts in one compact volume, rather than burden students with a voluminous text on top of their assigned readings.

Third, this book is free in its download version.  Not just the current edition but all future editions in perpetuity.  The book will also be available in Kindle e-Book, Apple iBook, and on-demand  paperback versions  at a nominal cost.  Many people have asked why I’m giving away something for free when I can make money selling it?  Well, not just to stop my students from constantly complaining about the high price of text books, but also because I believe that scientific knowledge should not be constrained by access barriers such as price and availability.  Scientific progress can occur only if students and academics around the world have affordable access to the best that science can offer, and this free book is my humble effort to that cause.  However, free should not imply “lower quality.”  Some of the best things in life such as air, water, and sunlight are free.  Many of Google’s resources are free too, and one can well imagine where we would be in today’s Internet age without Google.  Some of the most sophisticated software programs available today, like Linux and Apache, are also free, and so is this book.

Fourth, I plan to make local-language versions of this book available in due course of time, and those translated versions will also be free.   So far,  I have had commitments to translate thus book into Chinese, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish versions (which will hopefully be available in 2012), and I’m looking for qualified researchers or professors to translate it into Arabic, German, and other languages where  there  is sufficient demand for a research text.  If you are a prospective translator, please note that there will be no financial gains or royalty for your translation services, because the book must remain free, but I’ll gladly include you as a coauthor on the local-language version.

The book is structured into 16 chapters for a 16-week semester.  However, professors or instructors can add, drop, stretch, or condense topics to customize the book to the specific needs of their  curriculum.  For instance, I don’t cover Chapters 14 and 15 in my own class, because we have dedicated classes on statistics to cover those materials and more.  Instead, I spend two weeks on theories (Chapter 3), one week to discussing and conducting reviews for academic journals (not in the book), and one week for a finals exam.  Nevertheless, I felt it necessary to include Chapters 14 and 15 for academic programs that may not have a dedicated class on statistical analysis for research.  A sample syllabus that I use for my own class in the business Ph.D. program is provided in the appendix. 

Lastly, I  plan to continually update  this book  based on  emerging trends in scientific research.  If there are any new or interesting content that you wish to see in future  editions, please drop me a note, and I will try my best to accommodate them.  Comments, criticisms, or corrections to any of the existing content will also be gratefully appreciated.

About the Contributors


Anol Bhattacherjee is a professor of information systems and the Citigroup/Hidden River Fellow at the University of South Florida. He is currently one of the top ten researchers in the world in the information systems discipline (ranked 7th for the 2000-2009 decade), based on research published in leading journals such as MIS Quarterly (five papers), Information Systems Research, and Journal of MIS (four papers). In a research career spanning 15 years, Bhattacherjee has published 46 refereed journal papers and two books that have received about 3000 citations on Google Scholar. His 2001 MIS Quarterly paper is credited with starting a new stream of research on technology continuance. He served on the editorial board of MIS Quarterly for four years and was invited to present his work at venues worldwide.

Bhattacherjee holds Ph.D. and MBA degrees from the University of Houston, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from Indian Institute of Technology, and had prior faculty appointments at Arizona State University and the University of Colorado at Denver.