Practice Exercises

1. Pair up with one other student and select one of the research articles available on this site. One of you should evaluate the research article in terms of its research strategy. Be generally negative but not unreasonable in your criticisms. The other student should critique the article in the same way but from a generally positive standpoint, defending its quality. Together, write a summary of the study’s strong and weak points, or conduct a debate in class.

2. Complete the Interactive Exercise for Chapter 2.

3. Now choose another article based on empirical research and diagram the process of research that it reports. Your diagram should have the structure of the research circle in Exhibit 2.11. How well does the process of research in this study seem to match the process symbolized in Exhibit 2.11? How much information is provided about each step in that process?

 4. Review the section in this chapter on literature searching. Now choose a topic for investigation and search the social science literature for prior research on this topic. You will need to know how to use a database such as Sociological Abstracts at your own library as well as how to retrieve articles you locate (those that are available through your library). Try to narrow your search so that most of the articles you find are relevant to your topic (or broaden your search, if you don’t find many relevant articles). Report your search terms and the results of your search with each term or combination of terms.