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Introduction to Social Research

Pradeep Kumar Mishra

03 Jan 2019
Session - 1
Prepared for the class of MBA-HRM 2018-20, XAHR
To begin with….
Note down the topic on which you would like to conduct a research
What is Research
• Systematic Investigation
• May involve data collection and data analysis
• Coming out with some new findings not
known earlier

• Most Important: In order to qualify as

research all of the above must be done in
order to add to the body of knowledge
Social Research
• Research dealing with
– physical sciences – physics, chemistry, life sciences
– Social sciences – Sociology, Political Science,
Psychology, Management
• Social Research has the constraints of not
being subject to pure experimentation
• Features of science
– Standardized procedures for investigation
– Observable facts
– Falsifiability of theories
Types of Research
Pure Research vs. Applied Research
• Pure research is required for adding to the basic
knowledge irrespective of its immediate application
– Identification of a new particle/new species/new planet
– A new thought on organizational behaviour
• Applied research has some immediate implication
– Formulating a new molecule for eliminating HIV
– Effectiveness of knowledge management
– Impact of analytics on sales growth
Type of Research
Exploratory vs. Explanatory Research
• Exploratory Research
– Descriptive in nature
– Does not involve hypothesis testing
– Generally undertaken if not much is known about
the phenomenon
• Explanatory Research
– Includes looking at the relationship between
– Causal in nature
Type of Research
Action Research
• Includes active involvement in the change
• The researcher is a part of the action research
• Examples
– A teacher makes changes in pedagogy and tries to look
at its effect on students’ learning
– A manager brings in a new performance evaluation
system and measures its effect on employee’s
Other types of Research
• Multidisciplinary Research
• Field Experiments
• Field Research
Types of Research
Quantitative-Qualitative divide
• Research dealing with quantitative data
– Where variables can be measured
• Research dealing with qualitative data
– Where measurement is not an issue
• Quantitative vs. Qualitative divide is slowly fading away
– Research designs dealing with both quantitative and qualitative
– Need of the research rather than quantitative or qualitative
should be the focus
• Hence it is wrong to term ‘quantitative’ or ‘qualitative’
Types of Research
Positivist-Interpretive Traditions
• Positive Research
– Primacy of phenomenon
– Hypothesis testing emphasised
– Laws drawn from observable facts
– Objectivity: value-free
– Scientific statements, rather than normative ones
• Interpretive Research
– ‘Making sense’ rather than measurement
– Subjectivity is recognized
– ‘Human beings are distinct’ – from the natural
– Fundamental difference between physical and
human sciences/ behavioural studies
Wife’s point of view Husband’s point of view

Source: Babbie, 2004, pp.11

Deductive vs. Inductivism
• Deductive:
– A theory based on premises
– Primacy to logic; verification later
– Ex. Power Corrupts; Mr. A is in Power; hence Mr. A is Corrupt
• Inductive
– A theory based on observations
– Primacy to generalization from observation
– Ex.
– A is in Power; A is corrupt
– B is in Power; B is corrupt
– -----
– Mr. N is in power, N is corrupt
– Hence power corrupts
Epistemology vs. Ontology
• Epistemology:
– Deals with what constitutes a knowledge
– Provides guidance to methods
– Positivism, Interpretivism are epistemological
• Ontology
– Concerned with nature of social entities
– Objectivism, constructionism are ontological
Other terms
• Realism: The world exists independent of human
thought and perception
• Idealism: The physical world is someway related to
human thought and perception
• Critical Realism: Social science research is also
affected by human agency – understanding vs. reality
• Hermeneutics: theory of text interpretation
• Phenomenology: study of structure of consciousness
from first-person point of view
Thank You