Social research: All you need to know! social research

Social research: All you need to know!

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What is social research?

Social research is a type of research used when researchers and social scientists wish to learn about people and their communities in order to develop services and products that strike a chord with their target audience. 

This sort of research is required as different demographics have different priorities. People from the same location with different income levels would opt for completely different products and services. With globalization in the mix, social research software  is a necessity. Any new feature or upgrade in your offerings could receive a different reception depending on the demographic.

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What types of social research are there?

There are multiple ways through which one can design their Social research process. However, all social research studies have an element of either quantitative or qualitative observation methods. They can be used to measure a litany of social attributes like a census, crime, historical site investigation. 

types of Social research

Quantitative research

Quantitative research involves statistical analysis to gauge data collected though polls, questionnaires and surveys. The results of quantitative social research are numerical and quantifiable. Quantitative research is further split into experimental research, survey research, correlational research and causal-comparative research. 

Quantitative research is typically performed on a sample that represents what your target market is. It typically uses close ended questions. 

Qualitative research

This is essentially a method to collect feedback and data through discussions and open-ended questions. The main quantitative social research methods are: Focus groups, content analysis, case study research, one on one interviews and ethnographic research.

Usually qualitative research is conducted within the participants comfort zone and researches use several methods for gathering complex data.

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Primary research

Researchers conduct this form of research by themselves. A list of questions is prepared which can be customized according to the target demographic. These questions are distributed via polls, surveys and questionnaires. Primary research produces extremely accurate results, as data is collected directly.

Secondary research

In this form of research, data about a target audience has already been collected by a research agency. These agencies can be online communities, newspapers, multimedia evidence etc. In secondary research, after an analyst or researcher has decided a topic, they can use reports and research that has been made available by the sources listed above.

Social research methodologies

Depending on the context of your research and/or the type of demographic you wish to understand, there are several methodologies available via social research tools. Each has its own unique strengths, and often your research may necessitate using 2 or more of these methods together.

Interviews

Interview research is typically conducted face-to-face, via telephone or one on one online. These can be both formal as well as informal. One can consider it formal when they are directly organized by the researcher and can contain both closed ended and open ended questions arranged in a structured manner.

Informal interviews are a type of social research methodology in which the process is almost like a conversation with the subject. It allows interviewers to collect a lot of information in one go. 

Generally interviews are used in sociological research – like finding out about how much influence religion has in one’s life etc.

types of social research

Surveys

Surveys are a methodology in which pre-decided questions are sent to a pre-decided demographic. Typically the respondents represent a sample of the demographic which researchers want to find out more about. These demographics can be segmented by ethnicity, age, income levels etc.

Today’s social research tools allow surveys to be conducted across many channels – online, offline or telephonic. With advancements in technology it is now easier than ever to distribute surveys to ensure a wide reach. More data from respondents usually results in more accurate feedback.

Types of social research surveys

  • Cross-sectional surveys
  • Correlational surveys
  • Longitudinal surveys

Cross-sectional and longitudinal methods can be considered observational in nature, while correlational methods can be considered a non-experimental survey method. 

Observation

Observational social research involves the researcher being cognizant with the daily life of participating, in a bid to help them understand their decision making, their routines, preferences and more. These attributes are recorded over time to understand how things like a change in certain laws would make a difference in their life, or whether a new feature or product would gain acceptance.

Experiments

Experimental social research is that which researchers conduct to observe how changes in one variable affect another variable. This is done in a bid to understand cause and effect. Typically one usually has a theory to prove or disprove when conducting an experiment. Experiments can be done in a laboratory or via field research.

Must have features for a social research software

Omnichannel

Social researchers need to ensure they cover every demographic appropriately. Every demographic has their preferred means for contact. It can be different for millennials, for older people, for working professionals. Voxco’s omni channel social research tools empower researchers to collect feedback via all channels. These channels can be online, through phone and through face to face interviews.

Analytics

With Voxco, researchers can visualize their data on dashboards and uncover insights. Analytics tools come in handy for researchers when they wish to make sense of the data they have gathered. Data collection is critical for social research, but to get insights, researchers can leverage analytics tools to understand relationships between laws, policies, products and the audience or demographic they are intended for.

Flexible hosting

People would only partake in surveys if they were sure their identities and their responses were private and secure. For researchers, the security of their demographics’ responses is extremely important. With that as a key consideration, Voxco’s omnichannel social research software allows research organizations to conveniently store data on their own premises, in a manner which is fully compliant with their security protocols. Research agencies also have the option to store their respondent data securely on cloud based servers.

Incentivization

It is a tough task convincing respondents to take time out for surveys. This is especially true for lengthy research surveys, interviews or observational social research. For such respondents and scenarios, Voxco’s omnichannel research tools can conveniently and seamlessly integrate rewards into surveys via which one wants to conduct research. These rewards are presented once respondents have completed surveys. 

Incentives are an excellent way to ensure high survey completion rates, and generally gets people to sign up more easily for future surveys as well.

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