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"?