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SP1133 Social Research Skills Assignment Sample NUIG Ireland

SP1133 Social Research Skills is a required course for sociology majors at the National University in Ireland, Galway. The course provides an introduction to the theory and methods of social research, with a focus on empirical research. Students learn how to design and conduct social research projects, write proposals, collect and analyze data, and present their findings.

The course covers a range of methodological approaches, including survey research, qualitative methods, and statistical analysis. It also introduces students to the ethical issues involved in social research. Topics covered in the course include sampling theory, questionnaire design, data coding and analysis, qualitative data analysis software such as NVivo, and principles of multivariate statistics.

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In this section, we are describing some assigned tasks. These are:

Assignment Task 1: A familiarity with some of the fundamental concepts and approaches to social research.

Familiarity with some of the fundamental concepts and approaches to social research is essential for anyone wishing to pursue a career in this field. Social research involves the systematic gathering, analysis, and interpretation of data to answer particular questions or test hypotheses. Several different approaches can be taken when conducting social research, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the most common approaches include surveys, experiments, ethnographic studies, participant observation, and case studies. 

  • Surveys are perhaps the most familiar type of social research. They involve collecting data from a large number of people by asking them about their opinions, beliefs, or experiences on a particular topic. Surveys can be used to study a wide range of topics, from people’s political views to their shopping habits.
  • Experiments are another common type of social research. In an experiment, the researcher manipulates one or more variables and then measures the effect of this manipulation on another variable. Experiments are often used to study cause-and-effect relationships. For example, a researcher might manipulate the amount of sleep a person gets and then measure the effect of this manipulation on the person’s mood.
  • Ethnographic studies are another type of social research that involves observing and describing the customs and beliefs of a particular group of people. Ethnographers typically spend a great deal of time living with the people they are studying to gain an intimate understanding of their culture.
  • Participant observation is a type of ethnographic research in which the researcher participates in the activities of the group being studied. This type of research is often used to study groups that are difficult to access, such as drug addicts or gang members.
  • Case studies are a type of social research that involves intensively studying a single individual or small group of people. Case studies are often used to study rare or unusual phenomena. For example, a case study might be conducted on a person with a rare disease to learn more about the disease.

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Assignment Task 2: An appreciation of the link between theory and practice in social research.

Theory and practice are interdependent in social research. The theory provides the concepts and frameworks that help us make sense of the social world, while practice allows us to test and refine these theories. The best research is informed by both theory and practice, as each can provide insights that the other cannot.

In theory, we develop abstract models of how the world works. These models allow us to identify patterns and trends that we might not be able to see in the noise of real-world data. By understanding how the world is supposed to work, we can develop hypotheses about how it works, which we can then test through research.

In practice, we use our research methods to gather data about the social world. This data can then be analyzed to test our hypotheses and refine our theories. The best research is methodologically rigorous, meaning that it uses sound methods to collect high-quality data.

Theory and practice are both essential for doing good social research. A researcher who is solely concerned with theory will likely produce ideas that are not grounded in reality, while a researcher who is solely concerned with practice will likely produce research that is not rigorous or well-conceptualized. The best research strikes a balance between theory and practice, using each to inform and improve the other.

Assignment Task 3: An understanding of how social research can be effectively applied in a variety of settings.

Social research can be effectively applied in a variety of settings to understand and address social problems. The most well-known application of social research is the use of surveys and polls to understand public opinion on various issues. However, social research can also be used to inform policymaking, track the efficacy of interventions, and measure the impact of social programs.

Social research is often conducted by academic researchers who are interested in understanding specific questions about human behaviour or society. However, many private companies conduct social research to better understand consumer behaviour or to develop marketing strategies. In addition, many governments rely on social research to inform their decisions about public policy.

Thus, social research can be applied in a variety of settings, depending on the needs of the researcher or client. The most important thing is that the research is conducted rigorously and ethically, with clear objectives and a well-defined methodology.

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Assignment Task 4: A competence in evaluating and choosing specific research methods in an applied context.

Competence in evaluating and choosing specific research methods is essential in applied psychological research. The choice of research methods is determined by the goals of the project and the nature of the phenomenon under investigation. Psychologists must consider a variety of factors when deciding which research methods to use, including practical considerations, ethical considerations, and methodological concerns. In some cases, multiple methods may be used to collect data on a single construct or process. 

The goal of applied psychological research is to solve problems and improve lives. To accomplish this goal, psychologists need to be able to choose among different types of research designs and select appropriate methodological approaches. The type of design chosen should be matched to the particular problem being studied and desired outcomes. For example, if the goal is to understand how a new intervention works, an experimental design would be most appropriate. If the goal is to describe a phenomenon, a correlational or observational design might be more appropriate.

The nature of the phenomenon being studied also needs to be considered when choosing research methods. Some phenomena are best studied using qualitative methods, while others are best studied using quantitative methods. For example, phenomena that are complex or dynamic may be better studied using qualitative methods, while phenomena that can be measured and quantified more easily may be better studied using quantitative methods.

Thus, psychologists need to be competent in evaluating and choosing specific research methods to conduct effective applied psychological research. The most important thing is to choose the methods that are most appropriate for the particular research question and desired outcomes.

Assignment Task 5: An appreciation of ethical concerns within social research and a familiarity with strategies to manage ethical considerations.

Ethical considerations are of the utmost importance in social research. Informed consent, confidentiality, and beneficence are just a few of the ethical principles that need to be taken into account when conducting research.

There are several strategies researchers can use to manage ethical considerations. One obvious strategy is to obtain informed consent from all participants. This means ensuring that participants understand what they are agreeing to and that they have the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. Another important strategy is to maintain confidentiality, which means keeping participant information confidential and protecting their privacy. Finally, researchers should aim to do good (i.e., act in a beneficent way) by minimizing any potential harms associated with their research.

When it comes to ethical considerations, the most important thing is to be thoughtful and proactive. By taking the time to consider all of the potential ethical concerns before starting a research project, researchers can minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of their research.

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