In many undergraduate courses in social sciences, the acquisition of the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out research is separated artificially from the process of learning the substantive content of the discipline. The widespread existence of courses on research methods is testament to this, and while courses on theoretical issues or substantive areas of a discipline may treat the ways in which empirical enquiry proceeds as intrinsic to the knowledge being discussed, this is by no means the rule. Thus research methods are very often seen as distinct from the knowledge they aim to develop; sometimes the distinction becomes a deep gulf. For the many researchers initially trained in this way, the idea that comparison and control are the basic building blocks of research design will be much less familiar, and our emphasis on the inseparability of theory, concept and method may even seem novel.
Frank Bechhofer & Lindsay Paterson. 2000.
Principles of Research Design in the Social Sciences. Routledge.