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Getting Started

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Getting Started: An Introduction to Research Methods follows on from the successful introductory text Social Science Research in New Zealand (Davidson and Tolich 1999, 2003). The text is aimed at university and polytechnic students who are approaching research methods for the first time. The text will also be of interest to those who wish to develop their social science research skills. Key areas covered by this text include: an introduction to social science research, common uses and different research methods, research design, sampling methodologies and qualitative and quantitative techniques, research best practice and ethics, and writing up results. To supplement the text the authors have also developed instructor resources: a series of PowerPoint slides and an instructor manual linked to each chapter.
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Table of Contents

Contents About the contributors Foreword Acknowledgements 1 How to read this book Goal One: The book outline Goal Two: Research methods and the proposal assignment Goal Three: Multiple audiences - who should read this book? 2 The world of social research Seeing the world in a different light Why understanding research methods is easier than you ever imagined 'One' pathway for research 3 A philosophical primer Turtles all the way down? The scientific dream The challenges to science The nature of scientific proof and belief Why science is privileged The relationship between research and science Social science: competing worldviews A subjective new pathway Where the book is heading: research and philosophy - a pragmatic view 4 Getting started The value of literature reviews Introducing the literature review process Library search for relevant sources Sifting the sources to and the most relevant research Assembling the summary notes into an annotated bibliography A free-writing detour 5 Designing research Inductive and deductive relationships between theory and research Linearity versus iterative research Validity and reliability Writing the literature review Closing the loop: generating your research hypothesis 6 Sampling Qualitative research, and non-probability samples Surveys and probability samples The sampling frame 7 Survey research What is a survey? The varieties of survey research Strengthening survey response rates What are the weaknesses of survey research? 8 Constructing and asking good survey questions Open-ended or closed questions Designing good survey questionnaires 9 Focus-group research The strengths of focus groups The limitations of focus groups Types of participant Running a focus group 10 Writing and asking focus-group questions Writing focus-group questions Beware of great focus-group questions

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