Social scientists use a variety of methods to operationalize their hypotheses, test their questions, and generate primary data.
Your challenge is figure out a methodology that is appropriate to the research question you want to ask.
It may be that, as you were doing the background reading to find your question, you noticed the methods that were used by other researchers in your area. These models can be an excellent place to start. If you're not sure that the methods you have seen are a good fit for your question or don't fully understand what a particular method will involve, the items listed below might give you some guidance. And as always, consult with your instructor or project advisor whenever you have methodological uncertainties.
Faculty Recommended Core Resources
These methodology texts are recommended by the research advisors in the Social Sciences. Not all texts will necessarily work for all questions, but many will have valuable suggestions.
Sage Research Methods Collection
- Sage Research Methods Online
- The ultimate methods library, it has more than 1000 books, reference works, journal articles, case studies, and instructional videos by world-leading academics from across the social sciences.
- Users can browse content by topic, discipline, or format type (reference works, book chapters, definitions, etc.). SRM offers several research tools as well, including a methods map, a project planner, and video discussions of data collection and research methods.
Fieldwork/Methods in Pandemic Times
Digital Methods Primers
- Lupton, D., ed. (2020). Doing fieldwork in a pandemic
- This crowd-sourced Google document was initially intended to help researchers adapt their face-to-face fieldwork to something more "hands off" and appropriately distanced in the age of COVID-19. However, people have added useful material about "born digital" research (i.e, content already generated on the internet by online interactions). The document, no longer open for edits, identifies methods that researchers can use to generate social science data by alternative paths.
- Jowett, D. (April 20, 2020). Carrying out qualitative research under lockdown: practical and ethical considerations.
- Remote Research: Library Support for Qualitative Research (Harvard Library Research Guide)
- COVID-19 Resources for Sociologists (Spring 2020). Harvard University Contemporary Ethnography and Inequality Workshop.