Social research is research conducted by social scientists, such as anthropologists, economists, psychologists and sociologists. It aims to understand human behaviour, mental processes, and how people interact in society. Researchers apply different statistical methods to data in order to do this. The objective of their research is to understand how and why people fare differently in life, and therefore how policies can be designed to help improve the lives of some.
A birth cohort study is one that follows a group of people that were born at a similar date or period of time – be it a day, month, year or decade, for instance. It follows these people throughout their lives, and collects data from them at particular ages. By following the same people over time, these studies are able to show how and why people change as they get older. Child of the New Century is a birth cohort study following people born at the turn of the new millennium.
Survey research involves collecting information from a sample of individuals through their answers to questions. Surveys are used in lots of parts of our society, for example by retail companies to understand shoppers’ preferences, in polls to reveal people’s voting intentions, and in studies such as CNC! They are carried out in different ways – including face-to-face, over the telephone, or on the internet.