Discussion Questions

  1. Select a social issue that interests you, such as Internet use or crime. List at least four of your beliefs about this phenomenon. Try to identify the sources of each of these beliefs.
  2. Does the academic motivation to do the best possible job of understanding how the social world works conflict with policy or personal motivations? How could personal experiences with social isolation or with Internet use shape research motivations? In what ways might the goal of influencing policy about social relations shape a researcher’s approach to this issue?
  3. Pick a contemporary social issue of interest to you. Describe different approaches to research on this issue that would involve descriptive, exploratory, explanatory, and evaluative approaches.
  4. Review the strengths of social research. How convinced are you about each of them at this point?
  5. Review each of the research alternatives. Do you find yourself more attracted to a quantitative or a qualitative approach? To a positivist, postpositivist, or interpretivist philosophy? To doing research to contribute to basic knowledge or to shape social policy? What do you think about value freedom as a standard for science?