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Research Methods

What are three major factors to consider when evaluating the scientific merit of quantitative and qualitative studies?

Why is it important to review literature before identifying a research problem?

What factors are most important in determining a research design? The response should be relevant to particular area of interest.

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Dear Student,
The answer below is based on my viewpoint, studies and experience as a social scientist. I am giving you a concise discussion that will provide you clear grounds in understanding what the research method is about.

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones
Research Methods

In the social sciences, research methods fall between the category of qualitative and quantitative research. Why is this so? In the study of society - of human networks, one must always take into account the nature of the researcher and the object of study (Yates, 2005). The researcher is a part of the object of study as he is after all an active member of society, a social agent. Man cannot remove himself from society and study it objectively as a biologist or chemist does with his laboratory-based experiments. We must account for the fact that social networks are 'open systems' - variables cannot all be accounted for and to explain social phenomenon means taking into fact the idea that social research cannot be 'fully' controlled unlike the 'closed systems' in the natural sciences, engineering and emerging technology (biology, chemistry, robotics, genetics, etc.).

Quantitative and qualitative methods of study allow social scientists to look at the varied 'aspects' of society. What makes them scientific is that first off - they both follow the scientific method of inquiry ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides a definition of what research methods are, discussing the importance and differences of the qualitative and the quantitative methods in scientific research with a particular focus on the social sciences. The importance and process of literature review is also touched particularly in starting scientific investigations. Designing a research structure and implementing this design in the eventual research process is explained. The solution is written following the APA-format, references are provided. A word version is attached for easy printing.