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Investigative Research
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Investigative Research
Theory and Practice



February 2018 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

With its unique modelling and mapping of social processes, Investigative Research offers an alternative approach to social research. This book guides you through the theoretical grounding and rules you need to effectively combine the evidence-based explanations of social behaviour and distinctive strategies of data collection associated with investigative research.

It helps you answer key investigative questions like:

  • How are models and maps of social reality crucial to the formulation of research problems and questions?
  • What are the main phases, challenges, and theories of investigative research?
  • How does investigative research compare with other research approaches, like surveys, case studies, grounded theory, and mixed methods?
  • How can you control the quality and validity of your investigative research?

With its clear focus on investigative research exploration, description, and explanation, this book gives you the solid building blocks needed to manage and integrate the theoretical and practical issues in your work.   

 
Chapter 1: Research Models, Problems and Questions
The Importance of Models and Maps

 
Closing Gaps in Knowledge

 
Influential Models of Social Reality

 
Should Models be Eliminative or Integrative?

 
Entangled Domains and Research

 
Restoring Lost Domains: Investigative Research Problems & Questions

 
Research Problems, Topics & Questions

 
Adaptive Method &Theory

 
Having a Solid Back-Story: Top Soil or Taproots?

 
Summary of Key Features of Investigative Research

 
 
Chapter 2: Dimensions, Quantity & Quality
Some Basic Dimensions of Research

 
Survey Research as Mono-Method

 
Theory-Testing Research

 
Qualitative Approaches

 
Action (or Transformative) Research

 
Using IR: Some Practical Suggestions

 
 
Chapter 3: Case Studies & Mixed Methods
Case Study Research

 
Mixed Methods

 
Using Investigative Research: Some Practical Suggestions

 
 
Chapter 4: The Limitations of Grounded Theory
Essential Differences between Investigative Research & Grounded Theory

 
Different Unfolding Strategies

 
Data, Concepts & Theoretical Discovery

 
Conceptual Generation & Theoretical Discovery

 
The Cul-de-sac of Not-Knowing

 
Discovery or Innovation?

 
Ground Theory Mark 2: One Step Forward & Three Back?

 
Constructionist Grounded Theory: An Even More Limited Version?

 
Practical Limitations of Constructionist Grounded Theory

 
Coding, Concept-Formation & Sampling in Investigative Research

 
 
Chapter 5: The Arc of Investigative Research
The Research Arc: Phases & Cycles

 
Models of the Research Process

 
An Overview of the Investigative Research Model

 
Cycle-Phase Dynamics

 
Flexibly Structured Adaptation

 
Problem Formulation & Orienting Scaffold

 
A Multi-Strategy, Multi-Method Approach

 
Phases of Research: An Integrative Framework

 
Complementary Aspects of Reality

 
Blending Life-world & System Phenomena

 
Research Design & Data Types

 
Data Analysis as Nascent Explanation

 
Constant Reformulation: A Concluding Comment

 
 
Chapter 6: Theory in Investigative Research
Variable Theory & Theory-Testing

 
Applied General Theory

 
Empirical Theory: Substantive & Formal

 
Orienting Concepts (Single or Multiple)

 
Emergent Concepts

 
The Deployment of Theory in Overall Research Strategy

 
Developing Theory in Investigative Research: An Overview

 
Modifying and Creating Theory and Concepts

 
Generic Research Outcomes

 
Cumulative Knowledge & Theory-Development

 
An Appropriate Model of Social Reality

 
 
Chapter 7: Networks & Domains: A Research Guide
Activities and Settings: A Central Pairing

 
Social Behaviour & Social Reality

 
Distinguishing Settings from Locations/Locales

 
Primary & Secondary Settings: Transition Zones

 
Networks & Social Domains

 
Organized Settings & Networks

 
Informal Settings & Networks

 
Research Questions for Networks and Domains

 
Matching Concepts with Empirical Indicators

 
Selecting Data Threads within Domains

 
Identifying Settings from Data

 
Variations in Organized Settings

 
Work Organizations as Social settings

 
Smaller ‘Organizations’ & Informal Settings

 
Selective Focusing

 
Examples of Selective Focusing

 
Causal Influence & Causal Explanation

 
One-Dimensional Causality: The Case of Gender & Intimacy

 
Intimacy & Situated Activity

 
Social Settings, Gender & Intimacy

 
Researching Causality

 
Research, Causality & Theory Building

 
 
Chapter 8: Continuous Quality Control
Quality Control: The Central Importance of Validity

 
The Research Process: A Two-Tiered Model

 
The Research Matrix (or Grid)

 
The Preparatory Phase

 
The Data Gathering Phase

 
The Analytic /Explanatory Phase

 
Conclusion

 

Derek Layder's advocacy of an holistic, context relevant approach to social research which is multifaceted, brings together many traditions of field-based studies in a coherent and imaginative way. His Investigative Research approach offers a framework for real-world explorations that is of value to many social scientists.

Professor David Canter
PhD. Director of the International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology, University of Huddersfield

Layder convincingly explains that becoming aware of how underlying maps of social reality influence design, analysis and findings is a perquisite for thoroughly reflective research. Moreover, he devises clear strategies for practicing "investigative research” that continuously integrate both data and theory in multidimensional ways. A true advancing of methodological reflection within social science.

Poul Poder
Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Copenhagen

Combining adaptive analysis with domain theory, Layder has developed an elaborate approach to investigating today’s social dynamics and complexity. This book provides a precise and reliable compass to doing research that both works and matters. 

Daniel Perrin
Applied Linguistics, Zurich University of Applied Sciences

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