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Social Research

Social Research
An Introduction

Second Edition
Additional resources:

January 2011 | 680 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This is the perfect book for any student taking a research methods course for the first time.

The new edition of David and Sutton's text provides those new to social research with a comprehensive introduction to the theory, logic and practical methods of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research. Covering all aspects of research design, data collection, data analysis and writing up, Social Research: An Introduction is the essential companion for all undergraduate and postgraduate students embarking on a methods course or social research project.

The second edition features:

  • Brand new chapters on visual methods, case study methods, internet research, mixed methods and grounded theory
  • Updated chapters on interviews, questionnaire design, surveys, and focus groups
  • Improved coverage of qualitative and quantitative methods of data analysis, including practical instruction on the latest versions of software packages NiVivo 8 and SPSS 18
  • An attractive new layout which aids navigability and enhances the book's student learning features
  • Many more practical examples helping bring theory to life!

A password-protected Instructor Teaching Site and an open-access Student Study Site are available for this book.

Designed for social science students with no previous experience, this book provides a balanced foundation in the principles and practices of social research.

Getting Started: Theory, Research Question and Research Design
Being Ethical
Literature Searching and Reviewing
Theory and Research: Quality and Quantity
Introduction to the Process of Qualitative Research
Qualitative Interviewing
Focus Groups
Case Study Research
Collecting Textual and Visual Data: Public and Private
Grounded Theory as an Abductive Approach to Data Collection
Introduction to Quantitative Research Design
Hypotheses, Operationalization and Variables
Survey Design
Collecting and Coding Quantitative Data
Methodological Innovations: Mixing Methods and E-Research
Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis
Coding Qualitative Data: Qualitative Content Analysis
Semiotic and Narrative Forms of Discourse Analysis and Doing Conversation Analysis
Using Computer Software: Working with Nvivo8
Visual Analysis
Introduction to Quantitative Data Entry
Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis: Describing Single Variables
Describing and Exploring Relationships between Two Variables
Inferential Statistics and Hypothesis-Testing
Data-Management Techniques
Presenting Research Findings


'By far the very best treatment of this topic in the field today ' -
Norman Denzin, University of Illinois

'The second edition of Social Research: An Introduction firmly establishes this book as a standard amongst introductory methods books. It is comprehensive and covers the whole range of frequently used methods. It is clearly built on solid pedagogic and conceptual foundations. David and Sutton write from the position of experienced, theoretically informed researchers with a genuine commitment to pluralism in research methods. It is clearly written, yet sophisticated and is a valuable resource for both students and professionals new to social research and more experienced researchers who wish to expand their methodological repertoire' -
Malcolm Williams, Director of the School of Social Sciences, University of Cardiff

Praise for the first edition:

'… a valuable addition to the social research literature because it provides practical and detailed support to undergraduates who are conducting research for the first time' - Professor Tim May, University of Salford

'… balanced, user-friendly and timely' - Norman Denzin, University of Illinois

There are areas within this book that give an in-depth account of specific areas of research, which some of the students with less experience of research, have been able to grasp quickly.

Ms Janet Goddard
Psychology, Social Work & Human Sci, University of West London
October 3, 2016

A comprehensive book, exploring all the relevant aspects of social research for level three and four in significant detail and provides students with context and a depth of understanding.

Although the book's layout could be improved; with potential for greater visual aspects and more simplistic language in some areas, it explores the subject matter in great detail in a way that, for the most part, is easy to understand. For level three and four learners, it provides in-depth analysis of key areas in social research including data collection, data analysis and how students should present research findings. The book explains the key terms in a simple and easy to understand way, and easily provides students with enough detail to obtain the highest possible grades at level three. I particularly like the focus on the key terms students often struggle to understand including positivism, interpretivism, operationalisation and the terms associated with research sampling.

I would highly recommend this book to FE colleges; it is especially useful in providing context of key terms for students aiming for the top grades and intending on studying social science at undergraduate level.

Mr Gavin Hatton
Sociology , St David's College
September 17, 2015

This book provides a comprehensive overview of research methods from data collection to analysis. The book also contains useful SPSS and NVivo guidance. A useful resource for all levels.

Miss Sarah Greenhow
School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University
September 2, 2015

This book describes all aspects of doing research in a clear and structured way. However, in our course we want to put more emphasis on doing (laboratory) experiments, and this topic is in our view too little described. (for example, the word 'experiment' is not mentioned in the index of the book)

Mr Peter Ruijten
Human Technology Interaction, Eindhoven University of Technology
August 20, 2015

Excellent book which breaks down research methods in a clear way and is applicable across different levels

Dr John Foster
Dept. Family Care and Mental Health, Greenwich University
March 12, 2015

Good book, consise instruction.

Mrs Marcia Dewar
Health, Community & Social Care, Bradford College
February 5, 2015

Thorough and clear and encompasses wide range of levels.L7 students would benefit from some sections.

Miss Claire Emery
FHSC, St George's, University of London
May 1, 2013

Chapter contents and aims helped to clarify learning within the hapters. Box examples helped to put theory into practice. Graphs and diagrams helped to absorb the theory in the relevant chapters

Mrs Caroline Holliday
Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire
February 21, 2013

An excellent comprehensive text on research methods. An excellent aid for research students.

Mr Daniel Mcavoy
School of International Development, University of East Anglia
February 8, 2013