Rules for Social Science Research

Here are my Rules for Social Science Research.  These Rules tell researchers how to find out what’s really going on.

Also, these Rules can be used to evaluate research.  Information in journals, books, newspapers, blog posts, Twitter feeds, etc. that’s consistent with the Rules is reliable; otherwise it’s not.

                                           RULES FOR SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH:

                                          How to Find Out What’s Really Going On


                                      Prelude to Finding Out What’s Really Going On

RULE #1:   Don’t Rely on Self Reports

RULE # 2:   Don’t Use Metaphors

RULE # 3   Don’t Begin with the Past


                                                        General Orientations

RULE # 4:   Prioritize

RULE # 5:   Be Skeptical

RULE # 6:   Investigate Surprises

RULE # 7:   Assume Others Are As Smart As You

RULE # 8:   Consider Effects of Funding

 RULE # 9:   Use System Analysis Approach

RULE # 10: Be a Behaviorist


                                                                      Specific Procedures

RULE # 11:   Observe Something Doing

RULE # 12:   Construct Random Experiments

RULE # 13: Build and Test Formal/Predictive Models

RULE # 14:   Acquire Data from Multiple Sources

RULE # 15:   Use Content Analysis

RULE # 16:   Compare


                                                                    Before Taking Action

RULE # 17:   Accept Implications of What Is Known

RULE # 18:   Construct Descriptions that Provide Solutions


About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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