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Idiographic versus Nomothetic

While doing social science research the causal analysis may be done in two ways: idiographic and nomothetic. The nomothetic method adopts a macro or a larger view of the problem. This method basically concentrates upon the general patterns that exist and affect the event, situation or case in question. While using this method a researcher is more interested in knowing the common influences that affect a general class of actions for instance war or underage crime. Scientifically speaking a nomothetic method tries to identify some of the key factors that explain the most about the dependent variable which is being analyzed.

Using this method the researcher can give probabilistic outcomes of a particular situation for example the presence or absence of certain factors in the society would increase the likelihood of crimes occurring within the society. In contrast to the general explanatory nature of nomothetic method, the idiographic method deals with specifics i. e. a particular situation. Idiographic methods have a micro focus and are more limited in scope than the nemolitic methods. While using the idiographic method a researcher is interested in knowing and explaining the sequence of events that led to a particular outcome or event.

For example, the idiographic method may be used to find the reasons for the US-Iraq war or the reason for the crime committed by a particular teenager. As is expected in this case, the idiographic method has a much narrower scope and hence offers a complete explanation of the particular event. Idiographic research has usually been the factor which had encouraged further nomothetic investigation into specific areas of interest. Deductive versus Inductive theory construction A theory describes or explains the relation between two or more observations.

It not only explains the inter-relation between two related observations but can also try to explain how these observations may affect or cause changes in another concept. Theory is of two types: Inductive and Deductive. Inductive theory is based upon the results of a study or multiple studies and the theory is then made from the set of observations taken for the particular studies. When a researcher uses inductive approach, his focus is on how new observations may lead to the development of new theories, which are then tested within a sample testing framework.

Inductive reasoning hence moves from particular situation to general i. e. from a particular set of observations to a general environment pattern representing a relation among different events. For example, a social researcher may take the samples of criminal cases among people belonging to a particular community and then analyze the variables like economic or social factors in the situations to come up with a general theory. Deductive theory on the other hand is based on ideas and past research and is formed before any tests are made.

From a deductive theory, particular hypotheses are formed and tested. That means, for a deductive approach the researcher begins with a theory and then collects data to see if the theory can explain the new set of observations. Deductive reasoning hence starts from general ideas, knowledge or understanding of the social world from which particular theories are logically formed and tested. For examples, a social researcher may take a theory regarding divorces and reasons for it, and then tests specific cases to see if the theory can explain these cases. Ethics in Social Research

As in other areas of life, there are limits to what is acceptable as social research. Ethics are the used to decide what is right and wrong, rather what should not be done while doing any work, including social research. Unlike popular belief ethics is not always about morality however, it is the idea of what is right or wrong according to a group of people who are directly or indirectly affected by a particular action. Hence, anyone who is involved in doing social research must be aware or the said or unsaid agreements shared by the all the researchers while conducting a research on a topic.

Some such off-the-limits areas are given below: 1. Voluntary Participation – More often than not, a social research involves unwanted entry into people’s life. The social researcher must ensure that especially while dealing with a particularly sensitive personal area, the person agrees to participate free of any pressure or force. 2. No harm to participants – Many researchers consider that voluntary participation is impossible to follow especially in when concerning animals or children.

In all such cases, the researcher must make sure that there are no harmful effects of the scientific study on the participants 3. Anonymity and Confidentiality – While dealing with personal information, a researcher must make sure that the information given to him is not used for any purposes other than the research and that if the information is passed on to a third party for any purpose the participant must be aware and willing. Some sensitive personal information especially in cases of abuse like rape etc.

are usually collected under the conditions of anonymity, such promises must be kept Indexes Indexes are a type of composite measures of variables. Though they can be used for any form of social research they are used mostly for survey research and other quantitative methods. Indexes are ordinal and composite measures of variables. An index can be created by collecting scores given to individual indicators. For example, a researcher might prepare a set of statements related to importance of marriage and present it to a group of people.

The number of such statements a person agrees to or the number of people agreeing with a particular statement can be given as an index. Hence, indexes score people based on their responses. As is obvious from the example above, index score makes the comparison easier and is also useful for reducing the size of data such that it makes sense i. e. expressing a wide range of data in numerical form that is easy to analyze and understand. Making indexes from available data is comparatively easier and does not need the researcher to employ sophisticated techniques.

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