This practical introduction for first time researchers provides a bridge between how to conduct research and the philosophy of social science, allowing students to relate what they are doing to why. It does not provide a set of rigid recipes for social scientists as many methodology books do, rather it stimulates students to think about the issues involved when deciding upon their research design. By discussing standard approaches to research design and method in various social science disciplines, the authors illustrate why particular designs have traditionally predominated in certain areas of study. But whilst they acknowledge the strengths of these standard approaches, their emphasis is on helping researchers find the most effective solution to their problem by encouraging them, through this familiarity with the principles of various approaches, to innovate where appropriate. This text will prove indispensable for social science students of all levels embarking upon a research project, and for experienced researchers looking for a fresh perspective on their object of study.