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Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices

(28 reviews)

Anol Bhattacherjee, University of South Florida

Pub Date: 2012

Publisher: Global Text Project

Language: English

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Reviewed by Candace Bright, Assistant Professor, East Tennessee State University on 11/7/18

There are some key elements that I would expect to be in a social science research methods book that are missing in this book. I think this comprehensiveness may be appropriate for an undergraduate course (with some supplementation), but the text... read more

 

Reviewed by Alysia Roehrig, Associate Professor , Florida State University on 11/5/18

This text provides an overview of many important issues for my graduate research methods course in education. There are a few important topics missing, however. In particular, types of correlational designs and mixed-methods designs would be... read more

 

Reviewed by Eddie T. C. Lam, Associate Professor/Editor-in-Chief, Cleveland State University on 9/12/18

The book provides ample information for a research course, but it may not meet the needs of every instructor. For this reason, the book should include a few more chapters so that course instructors can have more options for a semester-long... read more

 

Reviewed by Amy Thompson, Associate Professor, University of South Florida on 6/20/18

This text is a nice overview of some of the key points in social science research. There are useful definitions of key terms throughout the book, although none of the chapters go into much depth. It should be noted that there is more of a focus on... read more

 

Reviewed by Huili Hao, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Wilmington on 5/22/18

This book provides an introductory and broad review of some of the key topics in social science research including research theories, research design, data collection, data analysis and research ethics Students from different disciplines in... read more

 

Reviewed by Jenna Wintemberg, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri on 5/22/18

I use almost the entire text in an undergraduate Health Science research methods course. I do supplement the text with additional readings on: -selecting a research topic -developing a research question -how to read scholarly articles -how to... read more

 

Reviewed by Debra Mowery, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida on 3/28/18

The text covers all of the areas of basic research information that I cover when I teach research and research methods in the social sciences. The table of contents is straight forward, and the chapters are arranged in a fluid, logical order. The... read more

 

Reviewed by Amy Thompson , Associate Professor, University of South Florida on 3/28/18

This text is a nice overview of some of the key points in social science research. There are useful definitions of key terms throughout the book, although none of the chapters go into much depth. It should be noted that there is more of a focus on... read more

 

Reviewed by Nathan Favero, Assistant Professor, American University on 2/2/18

This text provides a fairly comprehensive coverage of topics. It is broad, hitting most of the major topics I need to cover in an intro PhD seminar for social science research methods (I'm teaching public administration/policy, political science,... read more

 

Reviewed by Jason Giersch, Assistant Professor, UNC Charlotte on 2/2/18

The biggest challenge faced when writing a book about research methods is the decision about what NOT to include. Instructors and disciplines within the social sciences vary widely in terms of their expectations of students in an introductory... read more

 

Reviewed by Kendall Bustad, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park on 2/2/18

This book covers all the important topics in social science research and is approachable regardless of discipline and course level (high school, undergraduate, graduate, and even post-graduate). It provides an introduction to philosophy as well as... read more

 

Reviewed by Holly Gould, Associate Professor, Lynchburg College on 8/16/17

The author states that the text is not designed to go in-depth into the subject matter but rather give a basic understanding of the material. I believe the author covers the necessary topics with enough depth to give the reader a basic... read more

 

Reviewed by Brock Rozich, Instructor, University of Texas at Arlington on 4/12/17

The textbook covers the majority of what would be expected for a research methods course. It builds upon basic topics to more advanced concepts, so students from various backgrounds of research experience should still find the text useful. The... read more

 

Reviewed by Virginia Chu, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 4/12/17

The text offers an introductory overview to scientific research for PhD and graduate students in social sciences. It covers a broad range of topics, research theories, research process, research design, data collection methods, qualitative and... read more

 

Reviewed by Divya Varier, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 2/9/17

The textbook adequately covers most fundamental concepts related to research methods in the social sciences. Areas that would need attention: a chapter introducing mixed methods research, and a deeper discussion on Research Ethics. More social... read more

 

Reviewed by Robin Bartlett, Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro on 12/6/16

Generally the major topics are covered. The table of contents (chapter listing) makes it easy to find content. Occasionally I found what I thought was a topic covered only minimally in a chapter - but then found additional information in a later... read more

 

Reviewed by Kelly Pereira, Assistant Professor, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro on 12/6/16

This text offers a comprehensive overview of social science research methods appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. The text covers the basic concepts in theory, research design and analysis that one would expect of a text... read more

 

Reviewed by Rachel Lucas-Thompson, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University on 12/6/16

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 this is a flexible text that can be used in many disciplines; the down side is that the text is short... read more

 

Reviewed by Peter Harris, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University on 12/6/16

This is a comprehensive overview of research design and research methods in the social sciences. The book's introductory sections offer a discussion of the philosophy of science, the history of science, and definitions of some key terms and... read more

 

Reviewed by Tamara Falicov, Associate Professor, University of Kansas on 8/22/16

The book is divided into sixteen chapters, which seemed a bit intimidating at first. I later realized that they are not necessarily very long chapters; it varies in terms of the topic. This makes the book quite comprehensive in that the book could... read more

 

Reviewed by Yen-Chu Weng, Lecturer, University of Washington on 8/22/16

Dr. Bhattacherjee’s book, Social Science Research, is a good introductory textbook for upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students to learn about the research process. Whereas most research methods textbooks either focus on “research... read more

 

Reviewed by Andrew Knight, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, Colorado State University on 1/8/16

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 took courses in research methods. I think that the text may lend itself to several different types... read more

 

Reviewed by Dana Whippo, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Economics, Dickinson State University on 1/8/16

For its purpose, as introduced by the author, this is appropriately comprehensive. However, it is much more brief, more concise, than traditional research methods texts for undergraduates – which the text does not claim to be. It lays a sufficient... read more

 

Reviewed by Allison White, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University on 1/8/16

This text covers a wide array of topics relevant to social science research, including some that are not traditionally included but are welcome additions, such as a chapter dedicated to research ethics. A sample syllabus for a graduate course on... read more

 

Reviewed by Jim Hutchinson, Lecturer, University of Minnesota on 6/11/15

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 says this was intentional in order to provide coverage of essential topics and not distract... read more

 

Reviewed by Paul Goren, Professor, University of Minnesota on 7/16/14

This text introduces social science doctoral students to the research process. It can be used in sociology, political science, education public health, and related disciplines. The book does an excellent job covering topics that are too often... read more

 

Reviewed by Brendan Watson, Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota on 7/16/14

See overall comments. read more

 

Reviewed by Anika Leithner, Associate Professor, California Polytechnic State University on 7/16/14

This text certainly covers all the basic concepts and processes I would expect to find in an introduction to social sciences research. What I liked in particular is that the author includes information on the ENTIRE research process, including... 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

Epilogue

  • 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 professorsteaching 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 structuredone. 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 dedicatedclass 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

Author

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.