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McNeill, P (1990) Research Methods, Routledge, and Bryman, A (2001) Social Research Methods, Oxford - Reviewed.

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McNeill, P (1990) Research Methods, Routledge Bryman, A (2001) Social Research Methods, Oxford. Social inquiry is the act of 'inquiring' into human society. The method of 'inquiring' varies. The factors which are taken in to account of which method to adopt to 'inquire' can be influenced by a number of factors. A certain type of inquiry could be used due to the inquirer's past experiences of a certain method, his/hers preferences, cost, availability of sources are to name but a few. I intend to examine Social Research Methods written by Alan Bryman and Research Methods written by Patrick McNeill. Both refer to the various methods available to one in order to inquire about human society. The two books are similar in that they both put forward ideas and theories related to the selected methods they want to discuss. McNeill's book is broken down into six short chapters, which has an informative introductory chapter into why we have research methods in sociology. At the beginning he provides the reader with a brief history of social research which is helpful as it explains why the 'inquiry' stage is very important. The 1960's began to saw changes in sociology which was to "encourage survey style of social research and move towards participant observation." ...read more.


This gives the reader a better appreciation for each method. McNeill helps the reader assess which method of inquiry is good. The aim of Brymans book is to bridge the gap between theory and methods in social research. He states that it is the "introduction to the study and implementation of social research methods." When writing the book, Bryman had two readers in mind - (i) Undergraduates. The research methods, the use of British examples whenever possible and appropriate. (ii)-Undergraduates who are wanting to conduct research projects. Bryman wanted to write a book that would be "helping students make informal decisions about doing their research". He would explore the uses and limitations in order to help with students any hesitations. We can appraise Bryman's structure of the book because it is clear, accessible style with an in-depth understanding of the subject. This is clearly demonstrated through the initial layout of the book as it has two parts; Part one: Issues and Part Two: Methods used in social research. The book is divided into four parts. The first part has two chapters introducing the natural science approach as an appropriate framework for the study of society. This would comprise social surveys, case studies and experimental research. These first two chapters would apply the building blocks for the rest of the book The second part has ten chapters based on quantitative research methods including sampling, design of questionnaire, structured observations. ...read more.


However, the drawbacks mean "they are time consuming for interviewers to administer. Interviewees are likely to talk for longer than is usually the case with a comparable closed question" Brymans book would be useful for someone who is seriously interested in obtaining a full and detailed analysis of methods. This is excellent if you like illustrative books. Bryman is targeting the type of reader which enjoys detail. A positive point about the book is that it has questions at the end of chapters allowing the reader to engage in empirical work. I don't like Brymans book because it is focused for 2nd year and 3rd year students and even for them it is sometimes hard to grasp what the author is trying to say. In contrast, McNeill's book is very helpful because you are able to find something out, quite quickly and also understand it with little difficulty. I believe that both books are very helpful and do fill a gap in the literature. Overall, I found both books to be very helpful as they successfully enabled students to learn how to do social inquiry. They outline the advantages and disadvantages to various methods. Although this is a good point but sometimes this can overwhelm the reader. On the other hand, a reader should be well informed. Though, each book is tailored to the potential readers as discussed earlier. Word Count: 1,733 Word Limit: 1,400 - 1,600 SCS108 Introduction to Social Inquiry 030131970 1 ...read more.

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