A Methodological Blueprint for Social Sciences Research – The Social Sciences Research Methodology Framework


  • Norbert E. Haydam Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Pieter Steenkamp Cape Peninsula University of Technology


Social sciences research practice; research framework; research methods; sociological and methodological dimension; research strategy; research ‘onion’ approach


Most research practice constructs in social sciences are predominantly well defined and constructed,
yet many authors hold different interpretations of certain key terms and concepts, causing a degree of
confusion, overlap and uncertainty. The term ‘qualitative research’ is such a case in point. Not only does this
concept show different interpretations by many authors, but there is also uncertainty about how this concept
relates to exploratory research or other contemporary social research practice concepts. It is also unclear
whether a longitudinal research approach can be applied to qualitative research or related concepts. In order to
provide a clear perspective on the above-mentioned dilemma, the authors recommend the application of the socalled
social sciences research methodology framework, which follows Saunders’ (2009) research ‘onion’
approach. This proposed framework provides an uncluttered and unambiguous guide to social sciences research
methodology with relevant social sciences methodologies and constructs clearly positioned in a structured and
simplistic way. The research employed was fundamental in nature. Inductive rational philosophical reasoning
was used, and a theoretical analysis was applied through a systematic literature review of published text. In the
end, the framework provides a unified understanding of most social sciences research constructs and at the
same time acts as an aiding tool in the evaluation of all academic work, thereby enabling various examiners to
provide clear and unambiguous guidance to contributors and students alike.

Author Biographies

Norbert E. Haydam, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Senior Lecturer, PhD, Marketing Department, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences

Pieter Steenkamp, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Senior Lecturer, PhD, Marketing Department, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences


Babin, B. J. & Zikmund, W. G. (2010). Essentials of Marketing Research. 6th ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices. Textbooks Collection.3. Global Text

Project: Florida.

Bryman, A.; Bell, E.; Hirschsohn, P.; Dos Santos, A., Du Toit, J.; Masenge, A.; Van Aardt, I. & Wagner, C. (2011). Research

Methodology. Business and Management Contexts. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Churchill (Jr), G. A.; Brown, T. J. & Suter, T. A. (2010). Basic Marketing Research. 7th ed. Australia: South Western.

Cooper, D. R. & Schindler, P. S. (2006). Marketing Research. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

De Vos, A. S.; Strydom, H.; Fouche, C. B. & Delport, C. S. L. Research at Grass Roots. 4th ed. Pretoria: Van Schaik


Dillon, W. R., Madden, T. J. & Firtle, N. H. (1994). Marketing Research in a Marketing Environment. 3rd ed. Illinois: Irwin.

Fink, A. (2005). Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks. California:

Sage Publications.

Garbers, J. G. (ed.). (1996). Effective Research in the Human Sciences. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Hair, J. F. (Jr); Wolfinbarger, M. F.; Ortinau, D. J. & Bush, R. P. (2008). Essentials of Marketing Research. Boston:


Haydam, N. E., Slabbert, A., & Uken, E.A. (2011). From Quantum Physics to Quantum Marketing Research Practice – A

Monistic View. Proceedings of the 32nd SAMRA Conference. Southern African Marketing Research Association:

Vanderbijlpark, 1 to 3 June, pp. 1-32.

Iacobucci, D. & Churchill (Jr), G. A. (2010). Marketing Research. Methodological Foundations. 10th ed. New York: South-


Labaree, R. V. (2019). Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Types of Research Designs.

https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/researchdesigns [21 August 2019].

Maree, K. (ed.) (2007). First Steps in Research. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mouton, J. (2006). Understanding Social Research. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Remeniyi, D. R.; Money, A. M. (2004). Research Supervision for Supervisors and their Students. Curtis Farm: Academic

Conferences Limited.

Rooney, T.; Lawlor, K. & Rohan, E. (2016). Telling Tales. Storytelling as a Methodological Approach in Research. The

Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods. 14(2), pp. 147-156. [Online at www.EJBRM.com].

Salkind, N. L. (1991). Exploring Research. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Saunders, M.; Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. 5th ed. Essex: Pearson Education


Saunders, M.; Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research Methods for Business Students. 6th ed. New York: Pearson

Education Limited

Shao, A. T. (2002). Marketing Research: An Aid to Decision Making. 2nd ed. Cincinnatti: South Western.

Vogt, P. W.; Gardner, D. C. & Haeffele, L. (2012). When to Use What Research Design. Guildford Press.

Welman, J. C.; Kruger, F. & Mitchell, B. (2005). Research Methodology. 3rd ed. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, A. (2019). Marketing Research. Delivering Customer Insights. 4th ed. London: Red Globe Press.


Barker, R. L. (2003). The Social Work Dictionary. 5th ed. Washington DC: NASW Press.

Davison, A. C. (2008). Statistical Models. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Finin, T. & Morris, G. (1988). Abductive Reasoning in Multiple Fault Diagnosis. http://repository.upenn.edu/cis reports/693

December 2011].

Glass, G. V. (1976). Primary, secondary, and meta-analysis of research. Educational Researcher, 5(10), pp. 3–8.

Gulbrandsen, M. & Kyvik, S. (2010). Are the Concepts Basic Research, Applied Research and Experimental Development

Still Useful? An empirical investigation among Norwegian academics. Science and Public Policy, 37(5), pp. 343–353, June.


Haidich, A. B. (2010). Meta-Analysis in Medical Research. Hippokratia. (Suppl. 1) pp. 29-37, Dec.

Henn, M.; Weinstein, M. & Foard, N. (2009). A Critical Introduction to Social Research. 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications.

Linstone, H. A. & Turoff, M. (eds). (2002). The Delphi Method. Techniques and Applications. Newark: Addison-Wesley


Okoli, C. & Schabram, K. (2010). A Guide to Conducting a Systematic Literature Review of Information Systems Research.

Sprouts. Working Papers on Information Systems, 10(26). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/10-26.

Paterson, M. & Higgs, J. (2005). Using Hermeneutics as a Qualitative Research Approach in Professional Practice. The

Qualitative Report, 10(2), pp. 339-357, June.

Porter, S. E. & Clarke, K. D. (1997). What is Exegesis? An Analysis of Various Definitions. Handbook of Exegesis of the

New Testament. Porter, S. E. (ed.). Leiden: New York.

Seyedghorban, Z.; Matanda, M. J. & LaPlaca, P. (2016). Advancing Theory and Knowledge in the Business-to-business

Branding Literature. Journal of Business Research, 69(8), pp. 2664–2677.

Shelby, L. B., & Vaske, J. J. (2008). Understanding Meta-Analysis: A Review of the Methodological Literature. Leisure

Sciences, 30(2), pp. 96–110.

Shuttleworth, M. (2008). Abductive Reasoning. http://www.experiment-resources.com/abductive-reasoning.html [2

December 2011].

Teddlie, C & Tashakkori, A, (2009). Foundations of Mixed Methods Research. Intergrating Quantitative and Qualitative

Approaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishing.

Terre Blanch, M.; Durrheim, K. & Painter, D. (eds). 2009. Research in Practice- Applied Methods for the Social Sciences.

Rondebosch: Cape Town University Press.

Thanuskodi, S. (2010). A Bibliometric Study. Journal of Social Sciences, 24(2), pp. 77-80.

Gliner, J. A.; Morgan, G. A. & Harmon, R. J. (2003). Meta-analysis: Formulation and interpretation. Journal of the American

Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(11), pp. 1376–1379.






Interdisciplinary Dimensions of Communication Science