Using quirky and sometimes irreverent examples to provide an overview of social science methodology, this new edition of the popular text has been substantially revised to include an in-depth consideration of current hot topics in the constantly evolving field of scientific research, including the trend away from 'hard' (quantitative) research to 'soft' (qualitative) research, advances in computerized analysis of statistical data, and the increasing focus on the cultural context of research.
Part One explores the strengths and limitations of common sense methods of solving puzzles and demonstrates how the scientific method significantly improves our ability to check the reliability and validity of theories.
Part Two introduces the reader to two pre-scientific methods of problem solving: the after-the fact and the before-and- after methods. After noting the strengths and limitations of these pre-scientific methods, the authors explain how the control-group procedure, the classic example of the scientific method, helps overcome the major limitations of the after-the-fact and before-and-after methods.
Part Three explores how scientists measure the internal and external validity of research results.
Part Four examines the methods scientists use to assess subjective information through qualitative research methods: questionnaires, interviews and attitudes and personality scales. Naturalistic observations and archival research extend the reach of social sciences into areas that more controlled research methods cannot go.
Part Five sets out the basic rules for tying numbers to objects and events, how numbers can be used to summarize and describe large amounts of information, and how mathematics helps us to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown.
Part Six charts an explosion of ethical challenges as science pushes its way into every nook and cranny of our lives. Chapter Fourteen focuses on how scientists may communicate their scientific news clearly and effectively.
Part Seven engages in a wide-ranging discussion of the history of science and explore how gender influences scientific research.
Neil McKinnon Agnew is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at York University. In addition to writing six editions of this popular psychology text, he has published over eighty publications in social science journals. His research in perception and information overload was received major grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Defence Research Board, and the Social Sciences Research Council. He set up and directed the Counselling and Development Centre at York University, one of the largest counselling programs in North America. In recent years, his research interests have focused on decision theory: how we make decisions under conditions of incomplete or unreliable information.
Sandra W. Pyke is University Professor Emeritus and a former chair of the psychology department at York University. She specializes in women's issues such as violence against women, gender differences, and feminist methodology. Her research focus is on the effects of the chilly climate on women's academic experiences in terms of their participation, time to completion of graduate degrees, attrition from graduate programs and perceptions of the supervision provided. She is a Fellow of CPA and APA, a past president of CPA, and a recipient of the CPA Section on Women and Psychology distinguished member award, and the CPA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Canadian Psychology as a Profession.