• Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Readings

This collection brings together key articles and book chapters that provide an overview of research design for the social sciences, focusing on the purpose, nature, and types of research design – the architecture of research rather than the mechanics of running a research project. Emphasis is put on non-laboratory-based research designs that are typically encountered in the social sciences, those involving people rather than objects. The range of issues covered is impressive: the epististemology of social research design; the complex matters of causation and the logic of design; the importance of units of analsyis; the subjective elements of human behaviour and the role of qualitative and quantitative data.

This range of topics is the strength of this four-volume collection. It offers insight into the central concepts, ...

Editor's Introduction: Research Design – A Review
Davidde Vaus

A major weakness in both quantitative and qualitative social research is that too few researchers pay sufficient attention to the logic and structure of the data they collect. They neglect research design.

The purpose of a research design is to define the structure of the research so that the data can answer the research question in a convincing way. Research design provides the framework for answering the question “What data do I need to collect to answer the research question in a convincing way?” As such, research design is concerned ‘with a logical problem and not a logistical problem’ (Yin 1989 [1, p. 6). Once the required type of information is specified the subsidiary questions of sampling and ...

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