Critical Thinking Exercises

Select an article from a social science journal, and discuss why, and how, the research presented in the article is important. Is the importance of the research well described in the article?

The discussion may focus on the scientific as well as the social importance of the research, emphasizing its importance for the development of a research area, for social science in general, for particular social activities, or for the society at large.

See ‘Why is social research important? in Chapter 1 of the book.


Compare the articles by Balderrama and Molina II (2009) and Yates and Ward (2015), which are used as examples in Chapter 1 of the book, with emphasis on the research process described in the articles.

The discussion may focus on similarities and differences between the elements of the research process and the chronological order of these elements, and these similarities and differences may be related to the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research.

See sections ‘Qualitative and quantitative studies’ and ‘Social science as a research process: organization of the book’ in Chapter 1 of the book.


Select a social science journal article on mixed methods research, for example one of the articles used as examples in Chapter 2 of the book, and discuss which types of data and methods are combined in the article, as well as how the data and methods are combined.  Why is it useful to combine different data and methods in the research presented in this article?

The discussion may focus on how qualitative and quantitative data are combined, and how different methods for collecting and analysing these data are combined.

See section ‘Combinations of methods’ in Chapter 2 of the book.