Introduction to Social Research
The module, introduction to social research is crucial as it introduces a student to the process of understanding what is entailed in social research. The module is grouped into ten lectures, and eight of them are concerned with introducing a student to theoretical and practical issues involved in conducting an empirical social research. The remaining two lectures are concerned with the workshops that help a student to understand the discourse of academic writing and reading. This paper seeks to highlight the basic information of each lecture a student should expect while undertaking this module. ...view middle of the document...
Additionally, a student will gain knowledge of the best practices that most institutions are currently using to evaluate social research.
This lecture explores the philosophical underpinnings of the three major educational research paradigms, which include interpretive, scientific, and critical. The chief goal of this lecture is to outline and explore the relationship between each paradigm’s epistemology, ontology, methodology, and methods. This lecture will enhance a learner to understand that it is research that distinguishes social studies from the social sciences. Further, posits that whether publicly acknowledged or not, each social science project is underpinned some ontological, epistemological, and axiological positions. A learner will understand that ontology is the philosophical position concerning the nature of realty, while epistemology emphasizes on what that constitute valid knowledge and how such knowledge can be obtained. Additionally, this section will describe axiology as the philosophical position that looks out to place itself in research and theory. It will also come out clear that in an examination of epistemological paradigm, that philosophical questions of ontology are considered as perceptions about the realism or idealism and identified epistemological questions about the origin of behavior and nature of the materialism and mentalism.
A learner will benefit from this lecture by learning that these philosophical positions are the ones that inform the choices that are made in terms of the research design as well as data analysis techniques adopted in social science study. Additionally, this lecture will effectively inform the learner how these underlying philosophies promote cleverly the dominant Eurocentric perspective that mostly serves to destabilize endogenous systems for knowledge production. A learner will be introduced with the knowledge of drawing a divide between the concepts of realism and idealism on one hand and interpretivism and positivism on the other. Conclusively, this lecture will introduce students to the main philosophies that are adopted in social science research with the aim of providing alternative perspectives that more decolonial in nature.
Lecture 3: Is it Any Good? Assessing and Evaluating Social Research
This lecture introduces evaluation as a methodological area that is closely linked to, but not distinguishable from more traditional social research. A learner will understand that evaluation uses same methodologies used in traditional research, but since evaluation takes place within organizational and political context, it requires group skills, political dexterity, management ability, as well as other skills that social research does but depend on. A learner will learn that the general goal of most of the evaluations is to provide critical feedback to a variety of audiences including client groups, donors, sponsors, administrators, and other relevant...