Social science methods such as surveys, observations and content analyses are used in market research, studies of contemporary history, urban planning and communication research. They are all the more needed by sociologists and empirically working political scientists. Whether in the context of evaluating a prevention programme or for surveying health behaviour or for a study on social mobility, the confident handling of the social science instruments is always a prerequisite for obtaining reliable results. This book provides important information for users and developers of these instruments. It deals with the theoretical foundations of the methods, the steps in the conception and implementation of a project, the many variants of data collection, the methods to be used in the selection of study units, as well as the principles to be observed in the evaluation and documentation of the findings. With the help of numerous examples, a particularly clear presentation is achieved. In the fourth, updated edition, river sampling has now been included in the selection process, digital methods are increasingly presented and, against the background of the new data protection regulation, research ethics and data protection are also updated.