Introducing social investigation: what is research and why do we do it?
The concern of this opening chapter and of this book as a whole, is with research as an activity. We are concerned with the process, procedures, theories and practicalities of doing research. The style we shall adopt, therefore, is an active style which
seeks to take the reader through the various stages of social research, not in an uncritical, step-by-step way which assumes that research is always neat and tidy, but in a way that shows that research can be challenging, confusing, frustrating but above all
very rewarding. Our starting point is one which assumes that
research is undertaken for a reason. The reasons may be many and varied. For example, we may be required to do a piece of research as part of a degree course, or we may be asked to do a piece of research for an organisation or a group that we belong to, looking into specific aspects of their work. We may choose to do research because of long-standing
basic reason remains the same.