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Social Science Essay

1648 words - 7 pages

According to the dictionary of Merriam-Webster, Objective is defined as "expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations". And the Cambridge Dictionary has the similar definition: “based on real facts and not influenced by personal beliefs or feelings.” It is obvious that to be objective, personal opinions on the research question or hypothesis have to be eliminated in the research design, research process and report method.
It is the aim of any kind of research to be objective, which means the result can show more effective information and can be generalized to more situations. Almost all the books about social science research method discuss the research should be objective, and more focus on how to be objective. They declare that the research method can determine the research results are objective or not (Fowler, 2009. etc.). In particular, the research methods such as randomly selected participants, Latin Square for inter-subject experiment levels arrangement, and double-blind experience, etc. are designed to make the research objective. It seems that the objectivity is an "automatic assumption if the tools are sufficiently scientific". (Cassel, 2002). However, the paper which discusses the probability of the research results are not objective can hardly be found.
Considering the research of social science focuses more on the complex human behaviours (Jackson, 2007), conflict study as one subject of the social science, in my opinion, is impossible to be objective. Because human behaviours are complex, which are effected by changing of mood or emotion, situations around themselves and the information from outside, the inter-personal interaction and so on, thus, besides the experience effects, the errors (or irrelevant effects) from human beings on the research, may both from the researcher and the subjects. The more people involve in the research, the less objective the research results will be.
There are three approaches in conflict research: the positivist approach, the interpretive approach and the critical approach. The positivist approach more focuses on the quantitative methods to deal with the numbers, like science research, to test the researchers’ hypothesis. However, interpretive approach prefers to use qualitative research method, and believes that the research should focus on the situation which individual is involved in. The critical approach attempts to improve social condition based on general theory. Because critical approach concentrates more on the changing of social condition instead of understanding the root of conflicts and its resolution, this approach is not objective based on its research method and purpose. Therefore, the argument always focuses on the first two approaches. It is obvious that the positivist approach pretends to eliminate the prejudice in the research design and results by using more scientific methods and...

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