Traditional Scientific Method in the Social Sciences

At SoundRocket we apply the scientific method to your scientific methods.

Survey research itself is a science that needs to be studied.  The traditional scientific method in the social sciences provides researchers with a road map for contributing to the sciences.  At first glance, one may believe that survey research is only involved in the “Collect Data” step—a reasonable conclusion given the current state of the field—but a conclusion that can be disastrous if taken blindly.

Give the science of surveys a voice in your research and avoid these common mistakes: 

  1. Results cannot be used because the purpose of the current study was lost.
  2. Inconsistencies in study replication leave comparisons with previous literature and research lacking.
  3. The required data to test your hypotheses was not collected.
  4. Sources of error during data collection (sample coverage, sampling, nonresponse, survey instrument, respondent environment & interpretation, interviewer effects, etc.) reduce data usefulness.
  5. Processing errors (coding processes, data editing & validation, weighting errors, etc.) impact your ability to appropriately analyze and interpret the data.
  6. A lack of documentation and transparency reduce the likelihood that you and others will repeat and cite your work.

The SoundRocket Method

SoundRocket builds a culture of science in even the most operational aspects of your research.  We do this by applying the SoundRocket Method.


The most important stage of the SoundRocket Method.  If your research team does not understand how you intend to use the results of your research, we cannot ensure that you will be able to meet your expectations.  We build an understanding of your study goals, we ask questions about priorities, and we assist in documenting these goals with you.  If the research is new for you, this is a time to build your foundation—if this is part of an ongoing inquiry, then this is a time to share and reflect on the earlier steps in your research adventure.  


From the foundation laid down in the Use phase of the SoundRocket Method, we collaborate with you in building your next research study.  Much like a rocket launch, when a social science study proceeds, there is often a “point of no return”, where financially or scientifically an adjustment would damage the research itself.  Before we reach this point, we embark on a detailed process of study preparation, and thorough review.  The culmination of this effort is a thorough check of all 12 study domains, as described in Our Science.


Data collection often feels like the time to sit back and relax—the study has launched, and it is time to celebrate and wait for the data.  We expect that our research collaborators can afford to have this luxury.  However, this is a critical phase of the SoundRocket Method, and it gets our full attention.  We monitor your study so that you can focus on your science and what comes next.  During Collect, we put to work what we learned during the Use and Prepare phases to make informed and quick decisions to ensure that the study remains on track and poised to succeed.
Social science research is entering a phase of highly responsive research designs.  Aggressive monitoring and flexibility characterize all SoundRocket data collections.

Return to use

The cycle would not be complete if in our delivery of the results of the Collect phase, we did not focus once again on the next phase of the SoundRocket Method—Use.  Lessons learned during Prepare and Collect become part of the Use phase going forward, so that they may be built upon as your research proceeds.