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I came across the following paragraph in a social science book:

An approach, in simple terms, may be defined as a way of looking at and then explaining a particular phenomenon. It also covers within its fold every other thing related to the collection and selection of evidence followed by an investigation and analysis of a particular hypothesis for an academic purpose. Thus, an approach "consists of criteria of selection - criteria employed in selecting the problems or questions to consider and in selecting the data to bring to bear; it consists of standards governing the inclusion and exclusion of questions and data."

I'm trying to figure out the meaning of "approach" in social science research from the above paragraph, and having studied only very basic English my entire life, I'm not sure if I have understood the text in bold correctly or properly.

The line "collection and selection of evidence followed by an investigation and analysis of a particular hypothesis for an academic purpose" is confusing because I thought collection and selection of evidence happens after a hypothesis is proposed and not before that as suggested by the line.

Also what does "in selecting the data to bring to bear" mean?

Further, could you please paraphrase the text in bold in simple English as that will really facilitate my effort to fully and correctly understand the word "approach"?

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Yeah, I agree that, that paragraph's quite hard to understand. As you've told, the collection and selection of evidence happens after a hypothesis is proposed where you went wrong is how you understood that line. If you look closely:

"collection and selection of evidence followed by an investigation and analysis of a particular hypothesis for an academic purpose"

You'll find that the collection and selection of evidence is not followed by an hypothesis but it's followed by the investigation and analysis of the hypothesis.

And in this line:

"in selecting the data to bring to bear"

It means "in selecting the data to bring to operation" to be more clear it means "in selecting the data that has to be brought to operation".

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  • so, what do you think the author means by the word "approach"? Thank you for replying. :) – adieng Dec 24 '20 at 14:04

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