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Understanding the Social World
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Understanding the Social World
Research Methods for the 21st Century

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February 2016 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Understanding the Social World: Research Methods for the 21st Century is a textbook for the fast-paced, globally interconnected social world of the new century.  Bestselling author Russell K. Schutt rises to the research requirements of a social world shaped by big data and social media, Instagram and avatars, blogs, and tweets; and he confronts the research challenges created by cell phones, privacy concerns, linguistic diversity and multicultural neighborhoods.  Understanding the Social World is visually sleek, taking students across disciplinary and national boundaries and transcending past research debates by emphasizing mixed methods, concern for human subjects, and application of results.  Accessible, with timely examples and engaging exercises, this title brings a new and clear understanding to the practice and process of research.   

Interactive eBook also available—FREE when bundled with the print version!  

Your students save when you bundle the print version with the interactive eBook version. Order using bundle ISBN 978-1-5063-4031-9.  Learn more.  

Contributor to the SAGE Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award

Find out more at www.sagepub.com/sociologyaward

 
SECTION I. Foundations for Social Research
 
Chapter 1. Science, Society, and Social Research
The Value of Social Research

 
Avoiding Errors in Reasoning About the Social World

 
Types of Social Research

 
Quantitative and/or Qualitative Methods

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 2. The Process and Problems of Social Research
Social Research Questions

 
Social Research Foundations

 
Social Theories

 
Social Research Strategies

 
Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Designs

 
Social Research Standards

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 3. Research Ethics
Historical Background

 
Ethical Principles

 
The Institutional Review Board

 
Conclusions

 
 
SECTION II. Fundamentals of Social Research
 
Chapter 4. Conceptualization and Measurement
Concepts

 
From Concepts to Indicators

 
From Observations to Concepts

 
Measurement Alternatives

 
Levels of Measurement

 
Units of Analysis

 
Evaluating Measures

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 5. Sampling and Generalizability
Sample Planning

 
Sampling Methods

 
Generalizability in Qualitative Research

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 6. Causation and Experimental Design
Causal Explanations and Experimental Design

 
Quasi-Experimental Designs

 
Validity in Experimental Designs

 
Ethical Issues in Experimental Research

 
Conclusions

 
 
SECTION III. Basic Social Research Designs
 
Chapter 7. Survey Research
Survey Research in the Social Sciences

 
Writing Survey Questions

 
Combining Questions in Indexes

 
Designing Questionnaires

 
Organizing Surveys

 
Ethical Issues in Survey Research

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 8. Qualitative Methods
Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods

 
Primary Qualitative Methods

 
Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 9. Unobtrusive Methods
Unobtrusive Measures

 
Secondary Data Analysis

 
Big Data

 
Historical and Comparative Research

 
Content Analysis

 
Ethical Issues in Unobtrusive Methods

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 10. Evaluation and Mixed-Methods Research
Evaluation Research Basics

 
Questions for Evaluation Research

 
Mixed Methods

 
Ethics in Evaluation

 
Conclusions

 
 
SECTION IV. Analysis and Reporting of Social Research
 
Chapter 11. Quantitative Data Analysis
Introducing Statistics

 
Displaying Univariate Distributions

 
Summarizing Univariate Distributions

 
Crosstabs

 
Regression Analysis

 
Analyzing Data Ethically

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 12. Qualitative Data Analysis
Features of Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Visual Sociology

 
Systematic Observation

 
Participatory Action Research

 
Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Corroboration/Legitimization of Conclusions

 
Ethics in Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Conclusions

 
 
Chapter 13. Summarizing and Reporting Research
Writing Research

 
Ethics, Politics, and Research Reports

 
Plagiarism

 
Conclusions

 
 
Appendix A: Questions to Ask About a Research Article
 
Appendix B: How to Read a Research Article

Supplements

Instructor Resource Site
SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.
  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content
  • ?Tables and figures ?from the book are provided for your courses
  • Video and audio links which appeals to students with different learning styles
  • Researcher Interview Videos are originally produced by SAGE and feature stories from researchers
  • Research/Social Impact Links include articles from the Pacific Standard magazine, which reports on research and provides meaningful data and analysis
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles and SAGE encyclopedia articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically
  • Appendices
Student Study Site
SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. SAGE edge content is open access and available on demand. Learning and teaching has never been easier!

SAGE edge for Students
provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.
  • A customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Video and audio links which appeals to students with different learning styles
  • Researcher Interview Videos are originally produced by SAGE and feature stories from researchers
  • Research/Social Impact Links include articles from the Pacific Standard magazine, which reports on research and provides meaningful data and analysis
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles and SAGE encyclopedia articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically
  • Appendices

Responsible for teaching an undergraduate course that surveyed different research methods. Students found it very heavy on academic research, specifically sociology, with less emphasis than desired on use of research in corporate or policy environments.

Professor Ingrid Erickson
School Of Information Studies, Syracuse University
November 8, 2018
Key features

KEY FEATURES:

  • Engaging writing, clear descriptions, and contemporary examples speak directly to students about issues in their own lives and with language that is easy to understand to help them learn how research is done and reported.
  • The book reflects current research practices such as the increased attention given to visual methods, expanded use of web surveys, growing reliance on smartphones, and the use of social media in contemporary research.
  • Visual pedagogy draws students' attention to key points that they must master, including initial learning objectives, call-outs with definitions, exhibits, and multi-color layout to distinguish organization.
  • Ethics in research are the focus of an early chapter and then a section of each research design chapter.
  • "Careers and Research" and "Research in the News" highlights shows students career prospects and the relevance of the research methods course to their lives, both personal and professional.
  • Designed for instructors seeking much more succinct coverage of research essentials than Schutt’s comprehensive text, Investigating the Social World, or the brief version with Chambliss, Making Sense of the Social World.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3


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