Objectives of social research1

Objectives of Social Research: A Path to Societal Understanding


Table of Contents

What is social research?

Social research is an approach adopted by sociologists and researchers to learn about people’s day to day lives and design the products that best suit their needs. 

Studying different people from different backgrounds will give you various thoughts on one topic. That is how much diverse you need to be while developing your products and services. A researcher starts a social research when he comes across a new market trend or while developing or upgrading an existing product. 

Example: calculating literacy rate of a country, census of a country, gaining knowledge of political understanding of people around a country. 

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What are different types of social research?

Given that there are various types of social research and their use as per the research problem, let us look at two major types which are commonly seen used among the researchers:

  • Basic research

Basic research or pure research, does not specifically aims at anything in a study. It just focuses on building knowledge on the topic or study the relationship between variables. It does not concern providing solutions for the research problems. Rather, it enhances the theories, ideas and conceptual knowledge of the topic. 

Basic research can be explanatory, exploratory or descriptive in nature and intrigued by researchers’ curiosity and intuition. As this research aims to amplify the subject knowledge, it can be said that basic research is the base of applied research. 

Example: A researcher conducts a study on how hypertension affects a person’s blood pressure. 

Pure or basic research is conducted when you want to understand a problem statement without getting into providing any solution for it. This is the major difference between pure research and applied research.

  • Applied research

As the name suggests, applied research provides solutions to the real-world problems. The solutions can be applied on the problems immediately. It is more descriptive in nature and it depends on pure research to gain knowledge on the research topic. 

Example: A software solution firm wants to provide a solution that will prompt a message every time someone tries to take a print from the office printer. This will make them consider the paper use and can be an initiative towards paper reduction. 

Applied research is used in everyday life problems as it can provide solutions in a short period and the solutions are easy to implement as well. 

Below table shows you the fundamental difference between basic research and applied research:

Objectives of social research2

What are the objectives of social research?

Objectives of social research3

After understanding the definition and major types of social research, let us take a look at what are the objectives and aims that it covers while conducting certain studies:

  • Discovery of facts and their interpretation 

While conducting social research, the researcher focuses on the research problem at hand. He will look for knowledge that will help him dissolve the problem. While conducting the experiments, he has control over the variables. After the experiment is conducted, the results will shed some light on the facts related to human behaviour. Interpretations of these facts mean extracting the juice from the results to satisfy the research problem. This will give you how the facts can provide a solution to the problem. 

  • Diagnosis of problems and their analysis

After stating the problem it is important to understand the cause behind it. Dealing with the problem from its root will help you diagnose it completely. It is always advisable to first look into diagnosis before going to find the solutions for a problem. This will get you closer to what the solutions to look for and how to handle them. 

You can make use of question maps for complex problems, which helps you to know your problem, extend the perspective regarding solutions, and conclude fairly. This will motivate you to think critically and creatively about the problem and reach out to more ways of gathering insights using brainstorming and reaching to people with creative ideas. 

  • Systematization of knowledge.

The word systematization means systematically organizing. In this context, it means organizing the knowledge gained from studying the existing material.

The key to the Systematization of knowledge includes analyzing the existing literature and extract useful insights from it. Following are some insights that Systematization of knowledge provides:

  • Analyzing the existing material in qualitative format. 
  • Identifying future directions for research. 
  • Presenting a convincing and comprehensive taxonomy. 
  • Control over social phenomena

According to brocku, a social phenomenon can be defined as “Social phenomena are considered as including all behaviour which influences or is influenced by organisms sufficiently alive to respond to one another.” 

Example: A seminar, a workplace, marriage all these can be categorized as a social phenomenon because all of them are observable acts in which people participate. 

Social research allows the researcher to have control over the variables that causes a change in the social phenomenon. When a researcher experiments, he tests his theories and hypothesis by changing those cause-effect variables to see what changes cause the phenomenon to occur. 

  • Prediction 

Prediction refers to fore-telling something based on observing its patterns using experiences and research. In social research, it allows product owners to study the customers’ preferences and what they will prefer to use in the future. 

Prediction research provides insights on the costs, effects, consequences of the variables that are under experiment. 

Example: A researcher discovered that eating too much oily food causes high cholesterol levels. Now he can predict the patient’s health depending on his diet and cholesterol intake.

Here, the researcher used the existing data on the patient’s health and diet. So we can say that predictive research is nothing but a process of analyzing existing data and predicting the possible outcomes of the experiments. 

Explore all the survey question types possible on Voxco

Explore all the survey question types possible on Voxco

  • Development planning 

After you have the results of your experiment and you have analyzed them and predicted the future outcomes, it is time to develop your product. Of course, it is going to be based on what you have achieved till now. You know what the customer wants and what they can want in the future. Develop the product in such a way that customers prefer your product over any other option. 

Plan how your product is going to solve people’s problems. Make sure your plan is systematically ordered to achieve a definite target audience. 

  • Social welfare 

Social welfare is the good or well-being of a group of people. It can be in terms of healthcare, daily life financial, etc. the issues which are dealt with on regular basis and which contribute the most to the social problems. When you undertake a social research problem to solve, it is more likely to fall into any of those categories. So it is your concern to make sure your product is solving those issues efficiently.  

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