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What do you mean by social research? How is it different from ‘common sense’?

Social research is a systematic and scientific investigation that aims to study various aspects of human behavior, society, and social phenomena. It involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data to understand and explain social patterns, trends, and relationships. Social research uses a rigorous methodology to ensure objectivity and reliability in its findings, making it distinct from common sense, which relies on everyday knowledge, intuition, and personal experiences.

Understanding Social Research:

1. Objective and Systematic Approach: Social research is based on a structured and systematic approach, where researchers use specific methods, tools, and techniques to gather data. It follows a predetermined plan and employs various research designs, such as surveys, experiments, case studies, interviews, and observations. These methods help ensure that the data collected is unbiased and reliable.

2. Generalizability: It aims to draw general conclusions and make predictions about broader populations based on the data collected from a sample. The goal is to ensure that the findings can be applied beyond the specific individuals or groups studied.

3. Theoretical Framework: It often operates within a theoretical framework, which is a set of interconnected concepts and ideas that guide the study. Theories help researchers make sense of the data and interpret the results in a broader context. Common sense, on the other hand, often lacks such theoretical grounding.

4. Peer Review and Publication: It is subjected to peer review, where experts in the field evaluate the study’s methodology, findings, and conclusions before it gets published in academic journals or presented at conferences. This process helps maintain the quality and credibility of research.

5. Ethical Considerations: It must adhere to ethical principles to protect the rights and well-being of the participants involved. Researchers must obtain informed consent, ensure confidentiality, and minimize any potential harm to participants.

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Differences between Social Research and Common Sense:

1. Methodology: Social research employs rigorous and structured methodologies, ensuring that data collection is systematic and reliable. In contrast, common sense relies on personal observations, anecdotal evidence, and intuition without any formal methodology.

2. Objectivity and Bias: Social research aims to minimize researcher bias and subjectivity through controlled methods and statistical analysis. Common sense, on the other hand, is susceptible to biases and may be influenced by personal experiences and beliefs.

3. Sample Size and Representativeness: Social research often involves a carefully selected sample size to ensure it represents the broader population of interest. Common sense is based on limited personal experiences and may not consider diverse perspectives.

4. Generalizability: Social research seeks to draw general conclusions and make predictions about a larger population, while common sense tends to be more specific and context-dependent.

5. Replicability: Social research is designed to be replicable, meaning other researchers should be able to conduct a similar study and obtain comparable results. Common sense often lacks the standardized procedures necessary for replication.

6. Depth of Understanding: It delves deeper into understanding social phenomena by systematically exploring various factors and relationships. Common sense may provide quick solutions based on intuition but may lack a comprehensive understanding of the underlying causes.

7. Credibility: It undergoes rigorous peer review, enhancing its credibility and ensuring that it meets academic standards. Common sense does not go through such scrutiny and may be more susceptible to errors or misinterpretations.


In summary, social research is a structured and scientific process that seeks to understand human behavior and social phenomena through systematic data collection and analysis. It aims for objectivity, generalizability, and credibility through peer review. In contrast, common sense relies on personal intuition and experience and may lack the depth and reliability of social research. While common sense can be useful in everyday situations, social research provides a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of complex social issues and phenomena.

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