Explanations of social science inquiry give reasons as to why certain phenomena are the way they are. For instance, every individual goes through life trying to explain why things happen in a particular way and not another. Nomothetic explanation tries to explain a class or groups of situations, instead of explaining a single event or occurrence. This type of explanation is inclined towards the economic perspective of an event. In other words, it explains events economically with a single explanatory factor or few explanatory factors. Notably, instead of the nomothetic explanation settling for a full explanation of an event, it settles for a partial explanation. For example, an explanation can be given that better performance in an exam is because an individual studies in a group. This is attributed to the fact that every time the individual studies in a group, he or she does better on an exam than when studying alone. Besides, a football fanatic can give an explanation that his or her team performs better because it plays at home. This is because the football fan has realized that the team is better at home than on the road (Babbie, 2013).
Conversely, inductive explanation, also known as idiographic explanation is seen in a situation where individuals believe that they have fully understood the causes of a particular event. In this type of explanation, the scope of the explanation is restricted to or limited to the case which is at hand. The aim is always to give an explanation to one case fully though the explanation may be found to apply to different situations. For example, a student can argue that he or she failed in an exam because they had forgotten that the exam was scheduled for that specific day. Besides, a student can give an explanation that he failed in an exam because the exam was on his worst subject. Apparently, in comparison, the nomothetic explanation can help a student plan for study habits whereas the idiographic explanation may be convincing to the parole officer. However, the two explanations enable full understanding of particular groups (Babbie, 2013).
Social research also involves deductive and inductive research methods, thus we need to understand the difference between the two. The two research methods are known to play significant roles in our day-to-day lives. According to the inductive research method, an individual’s reasoning moves from the particular towards the general. The reasoning also moves from specific observations to the discovery of a pattern that is a representation of some degree of order among the events in focus. Unfortunately, the discovery does not give an explanation of why the pattern is in existence. The discovery only explains that the pattern exists. For example, when a student does better in an exam, he will try to ask himself why he does well in one exam while he does poorly in another, he might ask himself whether the exams he passes are afternoon exams or morning exams, and so forth.
Despite the reasoning, the students will still conclude or make a discovery that he passes his exams because he studies with others. In contrast to the inductive method of research, deductive research method moves from the general to the specific (Babbie, 2013). Essentially, the research method moves from logically expected patterns to the observations that give an explanation why the pattern occurs. With the research method, individuals begin by asking questions of ‘why’ to statements of ‘whether’ whereas the inductive approach moves from ‘whether’ to ‘why’. For example, when a learner asks why he keeps performing better in exams when he studies with others, he will have to add up the pros and cons of studying in a group in order to determine whether studying in groups is of benefit or not.
Before an actual study or research, a proposal should be written. Thus, a research proposal can be defined as a document with details that describes how a program that is proposed will be carried out. A research proposal has various elements. The first element is the problem or objective. Here, the concept to be studied is stated. Secondly, the literature review is part of a research proposal, and it develops or comes up with ideas of what is already known about the problem of study or research. Thirdly, the participants of the study forms part of the research proposal. This element identifies the individuals, who will take part in the proposed study. Measurement and data-collection methods determine the strategies or ways through which relevant information may be obtained from the participants of the study. Other elements of the research proposal include analysis, schedule, and budget. Essentially, a research proposal should have the mentioned elements for it to be effective (Ogden & Goldberg, 2002).
When writing a research proposal, it is important to include the annotated bibliography and the literature review. Annotated bibliography can be described as a summary of the references that will be used during the research. It plays an integral role in providing the reader with a detailed summary and evaluation of a particular source that is relevant to the problem of study. Conversely, the literature review is the part of a research proposal that develops or comes up with ideas of what is already known about the problem of study or research. Its purpose is to establish a theoretical framework of the research topic or problem, give definitions of terms and concepts, and identify other studies that support the topic of research (Ogden & Goldberg, 2002).
Babbie, E. (2013). The Basics of Social Research, 6th edition. Belmont CA: Wadsworth.
Ogden, T. E., & Goldberg, I. A. (2002). Research proposals: A guide to success. San Diego, Calif: Academic Press.