Social Research: Definition, Examples

social researchSocial research is a broad category within which there are many sub ­classes.

As defined by Young (1949), social research is the systematic method of discovering new facts or verifying old facts, their sequences, interrelationships, causal explanations, and the natural laws which govern them.

Social research is based on logic and empirical observations. Charles C. Ragin, a social researcher, writes in his book Constructing Social Research that “Social research involves the interaction between ideas and evidence.

Ideas help social researchers make sense of evidence, and researchers use evidence to extend, revise, and test ideas”.

Social research thus attempts to create or validate theories through data collection and data analysis, and its goal is exploration, description, explanation, and prediction.

It should never lead or be mistaken with philosophy or belief.

Social research aims at finding social patterns of regularity in social life and usually deals with social groups (aggregates of individuals), not individuals themselves (although the science of psychology is an exception here).

A traditional definition of social research appears below:

Definition of Social research

Social research is an inquiry to identify, explore, describe, understand, explain, evaluate, and predict social phenomena involving human behavior.

As it is implicit in the definition, social research involves the application of scientific methods through data collection, for understanding, studying, and analyzing the social life in order to modify, correct, or verify the existing knowledge as a system.

The information contained in the data would benefit society either through the direct application of findings to the amelioration of social ills or through the use of the findings to test theoretical issues in social sciences.

Examples of Social research

Here are a few examples of social research;

Example #1

Although dowry demand is illegal under Bangladesh Dowry Prohibition Act 1980, the practice still persists as a custom, especially in the rural areas of Bangladesh.

As a consequence of unpaid dowry, women are tortured by their husbands and in-laws, burnt by acid, or even murdered.

Despite serious growing concerns within government and civil societies, the practice of dowry has not decreased. In most cases, males’ attitudes were unfavorable.

Here it makes sense to undertake a study for exploring possible ways to eliminate discriminations towards women and girls due to dowry.

Example #2

Empowerment and autonomy are essential for the achievement of sustainable development.

The full participation and partnership of both women and men are required in productive and reproductive life, including the sharing of responsibilities for the care and nurture of children as well as for the maintenance of the household.

In Bangladesh, women’s empowerment is high on the priority list to uplift the social and economic well-being and empowerment of women.

At the individual level, education, employment, and exposure to mass media all exert considerable influence on the development of a woman’s personality and can help strengthen her position in the household and in society.

All three Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in Bangladesh in the past enquired upon this issue to assess the extent to which the women in Bangladesh lag behind men in educational attainment, literacy, employment, and exposure to mass media.

Example #3

Azad and Wahid (2010: pp. 1-12) examined in their paper entitled ‘Role of Civil Society in Combating Corruption in Bangladesh’ that corruption has emerged as a common enemy to the Bangladesh society in the last few years.

It has spread like an incurable disease which appears to be trickled down from top to bottom. This has assumed a pervasive character and occurred in all spheres of the public sector.

The authors, in their paper, explore the causes and consequences of corruption in Bangladesh. Alongside this, they examine the role of civil society in combating corruption in public sectors in Bangladesh.

Example #4

Based on secondary data, Wahid, Kabir, and Khan (2013: 87- 98) assessed the dynamics and causes of women trafficking and its impacts on a patriarchal society like Bangladesh in the era of globalization with a view to finding ways and means to eradicate this curse.

The results of this study indicate that trafficking has become a major issue of concern and that its intensity is growing day by day in Bangladesh.

It has also been found that the existing social structure, economic system, cultural conditions, and the geographical setting of the country are conducive to the trafficking of women and compel them to join the sex trade.

The study also confirms that the sex industry in Bangladesh is expanding because of globalization, which has ushered in sex tourism.

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