Julian Simon was known for his methodical, and often controversial, writings challenging conventional beliefs about overpopulation, pollution, disappearing farmland, and the scarcity of energy sources and raw materials. But throughout his works is a common theme: that responsible, unbiased research and examination of the data is indispensable to formulating a well-informed and accurate opinion. The Art of Empirical Investigation teaches student, professor, researcher, and those interested in ascertaining the truth about social issues just how to proceed.

The Art of Empirical Investigation is a textbook on the basics of social-scientific research. It discusses all the important empirical methods used in social science, and its examples, drawn from a wide variety of academic and applied fields, illustrate the use of each method in its most appropriate context. The actual decisions a researcher must make at every stage of a project are emphasized, as well as obstacles to knowledge--such as observer bias, deception, unreliability of data, and sampling costs--and how to overcome them. Presupposing nothing, the book introduces the reader to the foundations of empirical social-science research, regardless of a specific field. It also makes an important contribution to beginning researchers' understanding of an operational definition of causality, which cuts through philosophical obscurity and teaches the researcher how to decide whether or not a given relationship is causal.

part |2 pages

Basic Research Methods in Social Science

chapter 1|8 pages


part I|1 pages

Part One the Process of Social-Science Research

part II

Part Two Research Decisions and Procedures

chapter 7|19 pages

The Steps in an Empirical Research Study

chapter 9|19 pages


chapter 10|15 pages

Experiments: Pro, Con, and how to do them

chapter 11|14 pages

Designing Experiments

chapter 13|13 pages

Surveys: Pro, Can, and how to do them

chapter 15|16 pages

Classifying, Measuring, and Scaling

chapter 16|9 pages

Scaling Human Responses

chapter 17|21 pages

Data Handling, Adjusting, and Summarizing

part III|1 pages

Part Three the Obstacles to Social-Science Knowledge and Wags to Overcome them

part IV|1 pages

Part Four Extracting the Meaning of Data

part V|1 pages

Part Five Epilogue