Characteristics of Social Research Customer first approach

Characteristics of Social Research

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How do you gain an understanding of human behavior? Their social life? Or the reason behind their action?

Social research is the field that studies and explores humankind in its social environment. Researchers use social research to improve their understanding of human nature to establish principles that cater to their various needs. 

Let’s start by understanding what defines Social Research. 

What is Social Research?

Social research refers to the systematic and organized investigation of a social problem that requires a solution. It is a kind of research used to investigate individuals, groups of people, and institutions. It contributes to our general body of knowledge by allowing us to identify new facts or even verify/test old facts. 

As Kenneth D. Bailey explains in Methods of Social Research, 1982: Social research gathers data to help us answer questions about various aspects of society, enabling us to understand society. 

Within this article, we will delve into the different characteristics and functions of social research. 

[Related read: Importance of Social Research]

Characteristics of Social Research

Characteristics of Social Research Customer first approach

Let’s take a look at the different characteristics of social research:

Aims to find Solutions: 

Social Research is generally used to find the cause-and-effect relationship between a social problem and its cause. This solution can be used to eliminate or reduce the prevalence of the social problem and enhance societal welfare in the process.

Used to make Predictions: 

Social research is used to develop generalizations, principles, and theories that allow us to make predictions of future occurrences. 

Requires Expertise: 

When conducting social research, the researcher is already familiar with the topic being studied and is likely an expert in that area. They are, therefore, well-informed about the research problem and about the previous investigations conducted on it.


Social Research is interdisciplinary in nature. 

Involves Working with Raw Data: 

Although social research can also employ the use of secondary data, it mostly involves working with raw primary data. This includes interviews, observations, surveys, and statistics. 

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Requires Current Information: 

As social research is generally conducted to find solutions to common or prevalent social issues, it is important that the data used is current and relevant to the times. For this reason, journal articles and conference papers are often important sources of data in social research. 

Carefully Designed Procedures: 

Activities conducted for social research can sometimes be random and unsystematic. However, these activities are often characterized using a carefully designed procedure that applies rigorous analysis. 

Recorded and Reported:

Social research is carefully recorded and reported. The report outlines every detail including any procedures used and any limiting factors identified. The results are presented in a manner of scholarly caution and restraint and are reported in popular forums, and sometimes in popular media. 

Requires Patience: 

It is important that social research is conducted in a patient and unhurried fashion. Researchers are unlikely to obtain reliable or useful results if they try to study social dynamics in a short time period. 

Objective, Logical, and Systematic: 

Social research aims to apply various tests to validate the procedures employed, data collected, and the conclusion reached. 

Function of Social Research

Some functions of social research are: 

  • To Discover New Facts or Verify/Test Old Facts: Social research allows us to discover new facts about social life, individuals, and institution. It adds to our current body of knowledge. It can also be used to test or verify old facts. 
  • To Improve Social Welfare: Social research allows us to identify the root of a social problem so that we can take appropriate remedial actions to improve social welfare. 
  • To Gain More Control over Social Phenomena: Social research helps obtain first-hand information about social dynamics and social institutions. This helps us gain more control over social phenomena. 
  • Development Planning: Social research provides a base for the planning and designing of developmental schemes and programs.
  • Systematic study of social life: It examines human behavior in social environment and collects data on diverse aspect of a person’s social life. The data helps research establish an interrelationship between these. 

[Realted read: Types of Social Research]

Explore all the survey question types possible on Voxco

Explore all the survey question types possible on Voxco

Summing up;

Every stage in a human life is a field of inquiry in social research. It collects meaningful information about human and their interaction with the social world to make decisions on a course of action. This concludes the characteristics and functions of social research. 

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