Scientific method and its importance to research

scientific method in the doctoral research process.

The scientific method has long been the preferred means of conducting research in most fields, including both social sciences and hard sciences. Because the scientific methods “demands that the procedures be objective,” as well as clearly stated in research papers, bias is minimized (Stangor, 2012). Moreover, the statement of procedures allows for replication of experiments, something that is integral to the peer review process. Replication is crucial for the validation of scientific research at the doctoral level and beyond.

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Doctoral students might develop cogent hypotheses in their research, and those hypotheses when proven over time may evolve into widely accepted theories in their field. However, repeated testing is the only means by which to solidify theories (Harris, n.d.). The doctoral student must be relatively detached from the results of research, and the scientific method enables detachment by highlighting ways the theory can be modified for future research. Initial hypotheses may need to be altered to conform to observations subsequently made during experimentation or through research published by colleagues. The scientific method during doctoral research ensures that the research is widely accepted by the community, and contributes to the chosen field.

Although empiricism remains the benchmark for the scientific method, there are many means by which doctoral research can be carried out to achieve desired goals such as reliability and validity in reporting results. For example, in the social sciences, qualitative research is considered valid even though it does not use empirical models for experimentation and hypothesis testing. Similarly, the case study method allows for the testing of hypotheses using methods other than experimental research designs. Empirical observations are still being carried out in both of these cases, which is why they fall under the rubric of scientific methodologies (“Introduction to Scientific Research,” n.d.). Implementing the scientific method in the doctoral process prepares the student for rigorous participation in their chosen field, through an introduction to the peer review process.

References

Harris, W. (n.d.). How the scientific method works. Retrieved online: http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/scientific-method9.htm

“Introduction to Scientific Research,” (n.d.). Chapter One. Pearson. Retrieved online: http://www.pearsonhighered.com/assets/hip/us/hip_us_pearsonhighered/samplechapter/0205701655.pdf

Stangor, C. (2012). Psychologists use the scientific method to guide their research. Retrieved online: http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/beginning-psychology/s06-01-psychologists-use-the-scientif.html

2.Babbie presents numerous theoretical paradigms which attempt to explain human social behavior. Discuss how knowledge of these paradigms may inform doctoral research. Reflect upon the doctoral research topic you have chosen or topics you are considering. Discuss how that topic(s) draws upon these paradigms.

Babbie’s theoretical paradigms continue to provide the foundation for sociological inquiry and critical thought. For example, Babbie (1990) notes that sociological research is not reductive; that “society cannot be reduced to its presumably component parts,” i.e. individual humans (p. 526). Moreover, Babbie (1990) points out that the scientific method can and should be used in the field of sociology because it replaces stereotypes and biased beliefs about the ways societies function and the implications of those functions. Babbie (1990) acknowledges the social construction of identity and norms, while also honoring diversity and pluralism. Moreover, Babbie’s (1990) analysis of sociological paradigms enables a discussion of social institutions, their structures, and their functions.

Core theoretical paradigms that attempt to explain human social behavior include conflict theory, structural functionalism, and feminism. Each of these paradigms may inform doctoral research by guiding inquiry into areas of interest. For example, a person interested in the implications of patriarchal social institutions on crime could approach the research topic from each of these perspectives to come up with three different hypotheses or hypotheses that blend these three paradigmatic views. Patriarchy is a structure serving specific functions, including the preservation of stability in social institutions. Because of patriarchal control of social institutions, half of the human population in patriarchal societies experience political, social, and economic disenfranchisement leading to widespread conflict and alienation. The researcher might also blend the tools of ethnography with sociology to study exceptions to the patriarchal rule in societies that are more egalitarian. If the focus of research is on criminality, then the research might show how patriarchy places undue pressure on men to commit crimes. Similar research into leadership might show how shifting gender roles dismantles patriarchal institutions and leads to more socially conscious and ethically responsible businesses.

References

Babbie, E. (1990). The essential wisdom of sociology. Teaching Sociology 18(4): 526-5.30

Babbie, E. (2012). The Practice of Social Research. Nelson.

References

Babbie, E. (1990). The essential wisdom of sociology. Teaching Sociology 18(4): 526-5.30

Babbie, E. (2012). The Practice of Social Research. Nelson.

Harris, W. (n.d.). How the scientific method works. Retrieved online: http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/scientific-method9.htm

“Introduction to Scientific Research,” (n.d.). Chapter One. Pearson. Retrieved online: http://www.pearsonhighered.com/assets/hip/us/hip_us_pearsonhighered/samplechapter/0205701655.pdf

Stangor, C. (2012). Psychologists use the scientific method to guide their research. Retrieved online: http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/beginning-psychology/s06-01-psychologists-use-the-scientif.html

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