Discussion Questions

  1. Pick a social issue about which you think research is needed. Draft three research questions about this issue. Refine one of the questions and evaluate it in terms of the three criteria for good research questions.
  2. Identify variables that are relevant to your three research questions. Now formulate three related hypotheses. Which are the independent and which are the dependent variables in these hypotheses?
  3. If you were to design research about domestic violence, would you prefer an inductive approach or a deductive approach? Explain your preference. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of each approach? Consider in your answer the role of social theory, the value of searching the literature, and the goals of your research.
  4. Sherman and Berk’s (1984) study of the police response to domestic violence tested a prediction derived from rational choice theory. Propose hypotheses about the response to domestic violence that are consistent with conflict and symbolic interactionist theories. Which theory seems to you to provide the best framework for understanding domestic violence and how to respond to it?
  5. Review my description of the research projects in the section “Types of Social Research” in Chapter 1. Can you identify the stages of each project corresponding to the points on the research circle? Did each project include each of the four stages? Which theory (or theories) seems applicable to each of these projects?
  6. The research on battered women’s help seeking used an exploratory research approach. Why do you think the researchers adopted this approach in these studies? Do you agree with their decision? Propose a research project that would address issues in one of these studies with a deductive approach.
  7. Critique the Sechrist and Weil (2017) research on the police response to domestic violence from the standpoint of measurement validity, generalizability, and causal validity. What else would you like to know about this research so that you can strengthen your critique? What does consideration of the goal of authenticity add to your critique? How would you compare the strength of the research design and your confidence in the findings to the Sherman and Berk (1984) study?