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Social Scientific Research

Social Scientific Research

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September 2018 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Offering an engaging and entertaining introduction to research methods, this is a practical and easy-to-use companion for all new researchers and students in the social sciences. Covering all the key stages of the research process, this book guides students in navigating some of the biggest challenges in developing a research project.

This book:

  • Uses real-life everyday examples, connecting research methods to your experiences
  • Includes dedicated chapters on identifying a research question, ethics and writing up your findings
  • Comprises an array of activities, tips, illustrations and international case studies
  • Covers qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research

Bringing methods to life for students across the social sciences, this book will provide you with the confidence you need to get your research off the ground.

I. Introduction
Chapter 1: What is Social Science Research?
Chapter 2: Research Ethics
Chapter 3: Identifying a Research Question
Chapter 4: Conducting the Literature Review
II. Argumentation
Chapter 5: Building Effective Concepts
Chapter 6: Making Strong Arguments
Chapter 7: Method Selection
Chapter 8: Mixed Methods Research
Chapter 9: Case Selection
Chapter 10: Interviews
Chapter 11: Focus Groups
Chapter 12: Participant Observation
Chapter 13: Process Tracing
Chapter 14: Comparative Case Method
Chapter 15: Measurement
Chapter 16: Quantitative Data
Chapter 17: Content Analysis
Chapter 18: Surveys
Chapter 19: Experiments
Chapter 20: Observational Studies
Chapter 21: Social Scientific Writing


Watch Videos
A series of quick videos explaining and contextualizing key concepts in social scientific research.

An exceptionally broad, clear, and fair-minded treatment of social science research methodology

John Gerring, Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin

John Gerring
University of Texas

Dawn Brancati's Social Science Research is a fun, engaging, and intelligent book about the basics of research design. I wish I had it when I was an undergraduate.

Gary King is the Weatherhead University Professor at Harvard University.

Gary King

Rich with examples from across the social sciences and comprehensive in its treatment of the diverse empirical tools that social scientists use, Brancati's book will greatly help students to grow their abilities to be both consumers and producers of research.  The writing is crisp and engaging throughout, and the end-of-chapter exercises work to fix key concepts in students' minds.

Matthew S. Winters, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Matthew Winters

 For faculty, teaching how to conduct social science research is known to be notoriously difficult.  For students, learning research methods is mind-numbing.  Brancati's book offers a solution to this decades-long dilemma.  Inter-weaving concepts with examples from cutting-edge research, Social Scientific Research succinctly explains what makes good social science and how to do it.


Kosuke Imai, Author of Quantitative Social Science: An Introduction (Princeton University Press)

Kosuke Imai

Dawn Brancati has written a social science methods book that is, in one, the broadest and most accessible text I have seen. In addition to being a terrific stand alone text for an introductory methods course, it would be an excellent addition to an introductory course in data analysis and statistics to give students a sense of the range of other research methods available and of issues, beyond methodology, in social science research.

Robert Y. Shapiro is a professor of Political Science at Columbia University


Robert Shapiro

Brancati's Social Scientific Research is an important book. It is readable, comprehensive, and a great starting point for those new to research in the social sciences.  Brancati—a masterful mentor to both undergraduate and graduate resesearchers—covers research design, both quantitative and qualtitative methods, and provides rich practical guidance for those doing their own research projects or assessing the work of others.  I highly recommend this widely to those who both want to understand and do social science.


Andrew D. Martin is the current dean of the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and a Professor at the University of Michigan.

Andrew Martin

Social Scientific Research is a modern handbook that will serve as a guide for researchers that are not sure what and how they may want to study. The book will clear the cobwebs away. Not only those who feel like they were led to the blind alley by the subject of their research will consider the book useful. It is also a perfect tool for self-study purposes since it discusses the research process in detail. Finally, more advanced scholars will find this book helpful since it introduces the methods for the verification of methodological assumptions on every stage of analysis.

Professor Joanna Rak
Political Science & Journalism, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan
March 12, 2020

My students have found this book easy to understand and well explained. They like the structure and examples. The activities at the end of the chapter make for a great way to embed what they have learnt. Have ordered copies for the college library and will put on essential reading

Ms Natalie Clark
Higher education, Norwich City College of FE And HE
November 26, 2019

an excellent textbook that will guide many students at different levels

Mr Richard Kotter
Geography & Environmental Management, Northumbria University
March 22, 2020

Very helpful for students to grasp the importance of scientific research, understand detailed concepts and being supported at adopting a scientific perspective towards social work issues.

Dr Barbara Johanna Lill-Rastern
Social Work, Management Center Innsbruck
September 27, 2019

Sage College Publishing

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