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There are two main reasons for carrying out research into society. One is ‘descriptive’, to discover the facts: What is gypsy life really like? How many people are poor? The second reason is ‘explanatory’, to find the causes of particular forms of group behaviour: Why are people prejudiced against certain ethnic groups? Why are young people more likely than older people to be involved in crime? Often research will seek to discover answers to both types of question: how? and why?
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