Experiencing Social Research
This chapter provides social research experience from two different angles: published journal articles describing and reporting the results of research projects and interviews with the authors of those articles about the actual experience of doing research. It introduces what it is like to carry out a social research project and to some of the ways that various factors shape and influence decisions that researchers make throughout the research process. The choice of research approach is often influenced by researchers’ own personalities, training, department, or discipline. Perhaps the most important consideration when researchers make their decisions about research design is the purpose of the research. Contemporary social scientists must be very sensitive to issues of ethics as they design and carry out their research. The most immediate and obvious challenge is how to protect the privacy, dignity, and emotional well-being of the people who are to be studied.