Analyzing Quantitative Data: From Description to Explanation by Norman Blaikie

By Norman Blaikie

What uncomplicated wisdom and abilities do amateur researchers in social technological know-how require? How can scholars be helped to over-come `symbol phobia' or `figure blindness'? This beneficiant and continuously insightful publication is designed for social researchers who want to know what techniques to take advantage of below what situations, in useful learn initiatives. It accomplishes this with out requiring an in-depth knowing of statistical thought, but additionally avoids either trivializing strategies or resorting to `cookbook' suggestions. one of the key good points of the ebook are:- Accessibility- association of the broad, frequently bewildering array of tools of information research right into a coherent and common scheme of category: varieties of research and degrees of size- Demystification - the 1st bankruptcy unpacks as a rule taken-for-granted techniques resembling `analysis', `data' and `quantitative'- place of tools in genuine study problemsThe ebook is a successful creation to the speculation and perform of quantitative tools. it is going to quick determine itself as crucial interpreting for college students doing social learn in the course of the social sciences.`With this e-book Norman Blaikie keeps his popularity because the prime rapporteur and raconteur of social examine technique. With many different introductory texts, information research turns into simply an workout unto itself, and scholars (sometimes) learn how to plow through the motions with out fairly figuring out why. After operating with Blaikie's textual content, amateur researchers will be aware of why quantitative inquiry is critical' - Ray Pawson, collage of Leeds

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A research project may pursue just one of these objectives or perhaps a combination of them. In the latter case, the objectives are likely to follow a sequence. For example, the four research objectives of exploration, description, explanation and prediction can occur as a sequence in terms of both the stages and the increasing complexity of research. Exploration may be necessary to provide clues about the patterns that need to be described in a particular phenomenon. Exploration usually precedes description, and description is necessary before explanation or prediction can be attempted.

It consists of intersubjectively shared, socially constructed meaning and knowledge. This social reality does not exist as an independent, objective world that stands apart from social actors’ experience of it. Rather, it is the product of the processes by which social actors together negotiate the meanings of actions and situations. It consists of mutual knowledge – meanings, cultural symbols and social institutions. Social reality is the symbolic world of meanings and interpretations. It is not some ‘thing’ that may be interpreted in different ways; it is those interpretations.

Unless there is some good reason to do otherwise, it is good practice to employ a definition already in use in that particular field of research. In this way, results from different studies can be easily compared. The second step is to operationalize the concept to show how data related to it will be generated. This requires the specification of the procedures that will be used to classify or measure the phenomenon being investigated. For example, in order to measure a person’s age, it is necessary either to ask them or to obtain the information from some kind of record, such as a birth certificate.

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