Analyzing Quantitative Data: From Description to Explanation by Norman Blaikie

By Norman Blaikie

What uncomplicated wisdom and abilities do beginner researchers in social technological know-how require? How can scholars be helped to over-come `symbol phobia' or `figure blindness'? This beneficiant and regularly insightful publication is designed for social researchers who want to know what tactics to take advantage of less than what conditions, in functional study initiatives. It accomplishes this with out requiring an in-depth knowing of statistical thought, but in addition avoids either trivializing approaches or resorting to `cookbook' recommendations. one of the key positive aspects of the booklet are:- Accessibility- association of the extensive, usually bewildering array of tools of knowledge research right into a coherent and straightforward scheme of category: varieties of research and degrees of dimension- Demystification - the 1st bankruptcy unpacks usually taken-for-granted thoughts corresponding to `analysis', `data' and `quantitative'- situation of tools in actual study problemsThe booklet is a successful advent to the idea and perform of quantitative tools. it is going to speedy identify itself as crucial examining for college kids doing social learn through the social sciences.`With this e-book Norman Blaikie keeps his attractiveness because the prime rapporteur and raconteur of social learn technique. With many different introductory texts, facts research turns into simply an workout unto itself, and scholars (sometimes) learn how to struggle through the motions with no relatively figuring out why. After operating with Blaikie's textual content, beginner researchers will recognize why quantitative inquiry is necessary' - Ray Pawson, college of Leeds

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To be able to explain why people differ in their level of environmentally responsible behaviour, we need to first describe the range in levels of this behaviour. The first question is concerned with description and the second with explanation. qxd 1/10/03 10:37 AM Page 13 Social research and data analysis Research Questions To pursue such objectives, social researchers need to pose research questions. Research questions define the nature and scope of a research project. They: • focus the researcher’s attention on certain puzzles or issues; • influence the scope and depth of the research; • point towards certain research strategies and methods of data collection and analysis; • set expectations for outcomes.

The significance of the level of measurement for choice of method of analysis will structure the discussion in Chapters 3–6. What is Data Analysis? All social research should be directed towards answering research questions about characteristics, relationships, patterns or influences in some social phenomenon. Once appropriate data have been collected or generated, it is possible to see whether, and to what extent, the research questions can be answered. Data analysis is one step, and an important one, in this process.

It may also have been based on assumptions, and even prejudices, which are not readily discernible, or which are inconsistent with those a researcher wishes to pursue. qxd 1/10/03 10:37 AM Page 19 Social research and data analysis been included. Thirdly, the data may be coded in an inconvenient form. Fourthly, it may be difficult to judge the quality of secondary data; a great deal has to be taken on faith. A fifth disadvantage for some research stems from the fact that the data may be old. There is always a time lag between collection and reporting of results, and even longer before researchers are prepared to archive their data sets.

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