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Investigative Research

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  

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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