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Social Research Methods

Social Research Methods
Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

Second Edition

March 2012 | 824 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This text provides a comprehensive guide to doing research in the social and behavioral sciences—from research design and sampling to collecting and analyzing data. Rich in examples, the book has been revised and updated to provide today's students with a conceptual understanding of each qualitative and quantitative technique, as well as showing them how to use it.

"The main strength of this text is coverage of both quantitative and qualitative methodology from a broad range of fields. The examples are often my students' favorite thing to discuss in class." -Erica B. Gibson, University of South Carolina

"Bernard does an excellent job of not only showing how to practice research but also provides a detailed discussion of broader historical and philosophical contexts that are important for understanding research." -Julian Kilker, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

"The depth of detailed descriptions (foundations of social research; interviewing, participant observation, field notes, and data analysis) go beyond other textsthe organization is superb." -Benedict J. Colombi, University of Arizona

Click here to read what The Qualitative Report said about this title.

Part I: Background to Research
Chapter 1. About Social Science
Chapter 2. The Foundations of Social Research
Chapter 3. Preparing for Research
Part II: Research Design
Chapter 4. Research Design: Experiments and Experimental Thinking
Chapter 5. Sampling: The Basics
Chapter 6. Sampling Theory
Chapter 7. Nonprobability Sampling
Part III: Data Collection
Chapter 8. Interviewing I: Unstructured and Semistructured
Chapter 9. Interviewing II: Questionnaires
Chapter 10. Interviewing III: Relational Data - Domains and Networks
Chapter 11. Scales and Scaling
Chapter 12: Participant Observation
Chapter 13. Field Notes and Database Management
Chapter 14: Direct and Indirect Observation
Part IV Data Analysis
Chapter 15: Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis
Chapter 16: Analyzing Cultural Domains and Proximity Matrices
Chapter 17. Analyzing Qualitative Data I: Applying Logic to Text
Chapter 18. Analyzing Qualitative Data II: Grammar Beyond the Sentence
Chapter 19. Analyzing Qualitative Data III: Grounded Theory and Content Analysis
Chapter 20. Univariate Analysis
Chapter 21. Bivariate Analysis: Testing Relations
Chapter 22. Multivariate Analysis
Appendix A: Table of Areas under a Normal Curve
Appendix B: Student’s t Distribution
Appendix C: Chi-Square Distribution Table
Appendix D: F Table for the .05 Level of Significance
Appendix E: Resources for Social Researchers

This book covers everything that needs to be known in social research especially for novice researchers. The use of colours for content, headings and tables shows a long standing experience.

Mr Dalhat Sani Khalid
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Nottingham University
March 16, 2016

A very intersting text. It's complete and very usesfull for master students

Professor Gregorio Rodriguez
Education , University of Cadiz
November 26, 2015

This is a excellent text. It provides the reader/student with a thorough background to the development of science and the various methods and skill sets available to the enterprising researcher. It is a master piece.

Mr Andrew Hicks
Faculty of Social Sciences/Department of Sociology, University of Guyana
June 29, 2015

Useful reading for students at all levels and is on my supplemental list.

Ms Ikedola Animashaun
Social Work Department, Brunel University
March 11, 2015

I like the completeness of the text and I had very good luck teaching one of Bernard's anthropology research texts in a graduate course.

However, this was not the appropriate textbook for this particular undergraduate course. Most of the students were not prepared for the high level of reading or thinking and I had to revise the syllabus mid semester and choose readings from a more basic book.

Dr Carylanna Taylor
Interdisciplinary Studies, Ny Institute Of Tech-Manhattan
December 21, 2014

A clearly-written, concise book which I will recommend to my undergraduates.

Miss Christine Hatcher
Health, Care and Early Years, Yeovil College
November 13, 2014

Good book. I liket it and I recommended a all my students

Professor Alexandra Costa
Departamento organização e Gestão, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto
October 21, 2013

This book provides an excellent and practical introduction to the undergraduate reader.

Dr Robert Mooney
Applied Research Centre, University College Dublin
October 21, 2013

Very useful for our Dissertation students.

Mr Timothy Brown
Business School, Chester University
September 13, 2013

A thorough and very readable text. Just what I was looking for.

Mr Donald Kelly
School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University - Tempe
September 8, 2013
Key features


  • Boxed features emphasize important material, explain theory, expand on key points, or highlight challenges or ethical issues.
  • Numbered steps for each method make it easier for students to follow along.
  • A number of study aids in each chapter include new terms appearing in bold, a review of key concepts, research exercises, and recommendations for further reading.
  • Research stories—selected for their pedagogical value—illustrate major concepts and principles.



A password-protected instructor site at includes an instructor's manual, PowerPoint slides, and a test bank.

The Further Reading section at the end of each chapter is expanded and the result is that the bibliography is about 60% larger than in the last edition. People ask me why there are so many references to really, really old stuff. The reason is that I want students to know that the literature on research methods is very rich and I want them to know about many of the classics. Many examples have been updated, including new information about some of the classics.

The separate chapter on searching the literature is gone from this edition because students are universally aware of the databases. Chapter 3 retains the information about the databases that I think are most important for students to control and instructions on how to use the databases effectively.

Sampling takes up three chapters in this edition, up from one in the first edition. A lot of progress has been made in the development of nonprobability methods of sampling, for example, so these are treated in a separate chapter. In the first edition, I treated consensus analysis in the chapter on participant observation and on choosing informants. Consensus analysis has become much more widely used in the last 15 years. It is now described in greater detail in Chapter 16, on cultural domain analysis. Choosing both key informants and specialized informants, however, remains in the chapter on nonprobability methods of sampling.

Interviewing takes up three chapters in this edition, up from two in the first edition. In Chapter 8, on unstructured and semistructured interviewing, the sections on recording equipment and on voice recognition software (VRS) have been updated, and examples have been added or updated. Chapters 9 and 10 are on two very different kinds of structured interviewing. Chapter 9 focuses on questionnaires and surveys. I've updated the material on computer-based methods and on Internet-based surveys and added material on the list experiment. Chapter 10 introduces methods used in cognitive science, including free lists, pile sorts, triad tests, and paired comparisons. Methods for analyzing these data are in Chapter 16.

In Chapter 11, on scaling, I've updated material on the various instruments. In Chapter 12, on participant observation, I've updated several examples and added bibliography. In Chapter 13, on taking and managing field notes, I've updated or added examples and added information on using word processors as text managers. In Chapter 14, the bibliography has been updated.

Chapter 15 is unchanged from the first edition. Chapter 16 contains new material on analyzing data from the systematic ethnographic methods described in Chapter 10: free lists, pile sorts, and so on. The section on network analysis in Chapter 16 is new to this edition. Multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis are described in Chapter 16, as is cultural consensus analysis and cultural consonance analysis. Chapter 17 continues with methods in this cognitive science tradition of social science, including decision modeling and taxonomic analysis and it covers new methods for analytic induction.

The chapter on text analysis in the last edition is now two chapters. Chapters 18 and 19 owe much to my work with Gery Ryan (Bernard and Ryan 2010; Ryan and Bernard 2000, 2003). Chapter 18 focuses on methods for analyzing whole texts; Chapter 19 deals with methods that involve finding themes in texts and analyzing the distribution of themes.

Chapters 20, 21, and 22 are updated versions of Chapters 14, 15, and 16 in the first edition.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Chapter 3

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