Knowledge notes

What is social science?

‘Social science is systematic development of logic and evidence to help understand human behaviour in its social setting, including the nature of economic, political and community activity and institutions’, in forward by Prof Glenn Withers, President of the Academy of Social Sciences, in ‘The social sciences shape the nation’, at

What is the shape of a research paper? 

 A checklist for a literature review
  1. Is it funnel shaped? (start broad then narrow to this piece of research)
  2. Are there references that identify the broad nature of the problem?
  3. Does it report research done in the area, which leads to why this research should be done?(Justification of the research topic)
  4. Does it synthesise (not summarise) this previous research?
  5. Does it justify the choice of methodology/research design?
  6. Overall, does it show a command of the subject area?
  7.  Overall, does it show an understanding of the problem/topic?

From: Lasserre, K., & Moffatt, J. (2013). Building research capacity of medical students and health professionals in rural communities: leveraging a Rural Clinical School’s resources to conduct research skills workshops Australian Academic and Research Libraries, 44(3), 135-150. doi:10.1080/00048623.2013.831336V

Is it research or evaluation?

Or is it quality assurance (QA)? While in some cases the distinctions are clear, frequently the boundaries are blurred, perhaps because social science research and evaluation draw on the same social psychology roots. The National Health and Research Council define the differences between QA and evaluation as follows:
QA: the primary purpose is to monitor or improve the quality of the service delivered.
Evaluation: the systematic collection and analysis of information to make judgements usually about the effectiveness, efficiency and/or appropriateness of an activity.
Both QA and evaluation usually involve minimal risk, burden or inconvenience to participants. (
Research: the creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge. (