The first four chapters of the fifth edition of Data Methods in the Social Sciences (DMS) provide a detailed analysis of two conceptual approaches to quantitative analysis. The first, called the qualitative approach, relies on empirical methods for testing hypotheses about characteristics of the external world as they are known or observed. This second approach, called the quantitative approach, relies on models and other tools to test the theoretical predictions of the qualitative approach. Both have been tested against empirical studies but have differing conceptions of what constitutes an acceptable range of estimates for a particular research problem.
An important feature of the DSS is that it now includes an extended classification system for empirical studies. The first two chapters address the different theoretical perspectives on methodology and then subdivide the subject into three broad categories. In the third chapter a survey of the literature on methodology is concluded. A research question is posed using the two previously mentioned perspectives. The chapters include a further discussion of some further issues concerning methodology and a comparison with qualitative studies of quantitative methods used in research.
The book contains 12 chapters dealing with a wide range of topics dealing with empirical methods and their applications. Some of the chapters deal with differentiating one research problem from another, showing how empirical techniques can be used to investigate similarities and Differences among existing data. These include comparisons of historical data with the present day, comparisons between diverse types of statistical analysis, and a chapter dealing with the design of experiments.
A clear section addresses methods used for detecting relationships among economic variables, examining the design of experiments, developing a database for the purpose of performing hypothesis tests and analyzing the relation between relationships among economic attributes and other factors. One chapter also reviews selected works by scholars in this area. This chapter concludes with a concise review of the various aspects of methodological approaches. It concludes with chapters dealing with conceptual modeling and research questions.
In the introduction, Halliday presents her definition of methodological approach and the problems associated with the application of scientific methods. She then gives some brief account of the various methods used to obtain quantitative data, including linear models, time trends, random sampling, principal components analysis and multivariate analysis. She also reviews selected literature dealing with selected topics such as sampling techniques, estimation of errors, the data set structure, measurement errors, non-parametric statistical methods and descriptive statistics.
The main chapters of the book deal with various topics related to the methodology of research. She reviews the various definitions of methodological power, testing of hypotheses, sample selection, design of experiments, measurement errors, the multivariate analysis and meta-analyses. She then reviews potential sources of error in the analysis of variance, differences in means and effect sizes, confidence intervals, interval estimates, pooled estimates, and variance estimators. She discusses potential sources of inconsistency in estimates based on non-parametric statistical analysis, such as non-differential measurement theory, non-parametric contrasts and designs, and multiple testing methods.
The main focus of the next chapter is to explain the various aspects of quantitative studies using meta-analysis, qualitative study and environmental quality management. The chapters include an introduction to meta-analysis, measures of quality and variance, estimation of results, meta-analyses of ecological data, and selected reviews of qualitative studies. The environmental assessment chapter focuses on identifying gaps in ecological assessment methodology. It reviews selected reports from the APMP and NHER. The environmental assessment chapter also reviews the role of NHER in environmental assessment.
The final chapter of the book reviews a list of selected papers that illustrate research problem solving methods. It concludes with a concise description of the main points covered in this text. The purpose of this text is to provide a concise and clear view of the historical development of scientific methodology. It does not attempt to establish a consensus on the various methods used in ecological research, but rather provides an overview of the various approaches to ecological research problem solving.