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A quick, free, somewhat easy-to-read introduction to empirical social science research methods

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A free, brief textbook to introduce students to the core concepts of empirical social science research methods, available in PDF (main download link below) and EPUB (additional file below). This textbook has been used as the main textbook in an undergraduate social science research methods course (supplemented by many in-class exercises and research reports) and as the basis of a review in preparation for graduate-level study in research methods and program evaluation. Contents: (1) Identifying the research question (and an aside about theory); (2) Conceptualizing and operationalizing (and sometimes hypothesizing); (3) Data collection structured by formal research designs; (3.1) Sampling; (3.2) Data collection methods; (3.3) Formal research designs; (4) Data analysis; (5) Generalizing and theorizing; (6) Evaluating research: Validity and reliability; (7) Research ethics; (8) Appendix A: More research designs; (9) Appendix B: Elaboration modeling; (10) Appendix C: Research Methods Glossary. A note to instructors: If you use this text in any way, whether as the primary text, a supplemental text, or a recommended resource, I ask only two small favors: (1) When you make it available to students, please always include a link back to the text’s download site, While you are free to download and distribute the text intact under the Creative Commons 4.0 license, my preference is that you point students to this website to download it themselves. Seeing the download numbers tick up is a treat, and I plan to add additional appendices over time, so the download file will be updated occasionally. (2) Please send me a quick email at letting me know you’re using it. I certainly welcome your feedback as well. Thank you, and best wishes for successful research methods instruction.

Material Type: Textbook

Author: Christopher S. Horne