Research Methods for Social Sciences

Course Code






Course Objectives

This is a “learning by doing” course. Students are expected to pick up one research project right from the beginning of the class and carry it out through the whole semester. Basically, the course will be divided into the following four major parts: (1). Research design, (2). Data collection, (3) Data analysis and (4) Data Interpretation/Theory Construction. To provide students with comprehensive understanding of the subject, other research related methods such as public policy analysis, environmental impact assessment as well as the application of social indicators would also be introduced as time permits. It is hoped that by the end of the semester, students would learn not only the techniques of research but more importantly the necessary logical thinking paramount for becoming a good researcher.

Course Contents

  • Course Introduction:
    • Normative Research Vs. Empirical Research
    • Methodology Vs. Research Methods
    • Cross-Sectional Research Vs. Longitudinal Research
    • Quantitative Research Vs. Qualitative Research
    • Panel Study
  • Research Design:
    • Deciding A Research Topic
    • Variables
    • Hypothesis
    • Research Framework
    • Theoretical Framework
    • Conceptual Framework
  • Data Collection Methods:
    • Library Research
    • Secondary Data Collection Methods
    • First-hand Data Collection Methods
    • Participatory Observation
    • Field Study
    • In-depth Interviews
    • Survey
    • Scaling
    • Delphi Method
    • Focus Discussion Group
    • Experimental Design
    • Oral History etc