Motives for social research: Social research can be motivated by policy guidance and program management needs, academic concerns, and charitable impulses. Policy and management motivations: an example would be that school officials may need information for planning distance learning programs. Academic motivations: Questions about changing social relations have stimulated much academic social science. ie. Durkheim linked social processes stemming from urbanization and industrialization to a higher rate of suicide. Personal motivations: Some social scientists who conduct research on the impact of computers and the internet feel that by doing so they can help to improve the quality of social relations, the effectiveness of schooling, or the conditions of institutionalized groups in their communities or countries.
Main types of Social research: Descriptive research: Defining and describing social phenomena of interest is a part of almost any research investigation, but descriptive research is often the primary focus of the first research about some issue. (Describing the scope or nature of the problem) Usually uses quantitative methods Ex. How many different activities do internet users engage in? Exploratory research: seeks to find out how people get along in the setting under question, what meanings they give to their actions, and what issues concern them. The goal is to learn what is going on here and to investigate social phenomena without expectations.
(why do people do this) Usually uses qualitative methods. Ex. How is identity established on online communities. Explanatory research: Many consider explanation the premier goal of any science. Explanatory research seeks to identify causes and effects of social phenomena, to predict how one phenomenon will change or vary in response to variation in some other phenomenon. (try to explain why this occurs) It often involves experiments or surveys, both of which are most likely to use quantitative methods.
Usually uses quantitative methods Ex. How does the Internet affect the role and use of the traditional media? Evaluation research: differs from other forms of explanatory research because evaluation research considers the implementation and effects of social policies and programs. Trying to find out if something actually works. Usually uses quantitative methods Ex. Does universal high-speed internet access change community life?