About this SectionThis section of the website contains information about research methods commonly used in the social sciences.
There is also information relating to specific modules of social science courses, including OCR and WJEC A Level Psychology and AQA GCSE Sociology.
Use the links to explore different aspects of conducting research.
Why different social scientists use different research methods:Different Purposes
It is important to choose the right method to collect data and this depends on what is being investigated.
For example, asking questions through an interview or questionnaire is best for finding out people's opinions or what they're thinking, whereas an observation would be better for investigating behaviour.
Some social sciences use some methods more than others, for example: psychologists are more likely to use lab experiments, whereas sociologists are more likely to use naturalistic observations.
This is because psychologists are generally more interested in trying to establish cause and effect relationships, which requires much more control over the research environment. On the other hand, sociologists focus more on society and it is more sensible to investigate this in the real world.
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