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Explaining Research Methods Used by Social Scientists.
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Explaining Research Methods Used by Social Scientists
The main methods of data collection used by social scientists are: surveys; questionnaires; interviews; experiments both field and laboratory; observations: participant and none participant and case studies.
Surveys are either interviews and/or questionnaires and are a method of investigation in which a researcher can collect information from a large group of people. They are used to find out details like peoples habits, opinions, attitudes or interests. The questions can be fixed or open depending on the subject matter or the information needed. The advantages of surveys are that they can be a quick and cheap way of gaining information standardises questions can be analysed quickly especially when a computer is used to source the information as the questions can be pre-coded. These surveys can be used to identify patterns and make comparisons e.g. between groups of people- young- elderly, Scottish, English, males and females. The disadvantages of surveys are that if closed questions are used the sample can mean nothing and they don't give freedom of choice. The respondent may avoid certain questions or tell lies. If postal questionnaires are used to those can be a low response or
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