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Social Research Methods-Lecture 1-2, 2010

By Charlie Owens,2014-05-28 14:28
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Social Research Methods-Lecture 1-2, 2010

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     XUE Jianhong Ñ???ºê Fall 2010, Northwest A&F University Î???Å?ÁÖ?Æ???óÑ? 2010ÄêÇï??Ñ?ÆÚ

     Social Research Methods

     Part I: Foundations

     Why do we care about research methods? 1-1 The language of research 1-2 The rationale of research 1-3 Validity of research 1-4 Ethics in research 1-5 Conceptualizing 1-6 Influential Factors

     Why Do We Care about Research Methods?

     The need of human decision making The process of learning Problems with our mental models

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1a Research vocabulary

     Theoretical vs. empirical Theoretical: social research is theoretical, meaning that much of it is concerned with developing, exploring, or testing the theories of ideas that social researchers have about how the world operates. Empirical: based on direct observations and measurement of reality.

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1a Research vocabulary

     Probabilistic: based on probabilities. Causal: pertaining to a cause-effect relationship

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1b Types of studies

     Descriptive studies are designed primarily to document what is going on or what exists. Relational studies look at the relationship between two or more variables. Causal studies are designed to determine whether one or more variables (e.g., a program or treatment variable) cause or affect one or more outcome variables.

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1c Time in research

     Cross-sectional: a study that takes place at a single point in time. Longitudinal: a study that takes place over time.

     Repeated measures: two or more waves of measurement over time. Time series: many waves of measurement over time.

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1d Variables

     Variable: any entity that can take on different values. For instance, age can be considered a variable because age can take on different values for different people at different times. Attribute: a specific value

    of a variable. For instance, the variable sex or gender has two attributes: male and female.

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1d Variables

     Independent variable: the variable that you manipulate. For instance, a program or treatment is typically an independent variable. Dependent variable: the variable affected by the independent variable; for example, the outcome.

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1d Variables

     Exhaustive: the property of a variable that occurs when you include all possible answerable response. Mutually exclusive: the property of a variable that ensures that the respondent is not able to assign two attributes simultaneously. For example, gender is a variable with mutually exclusive options if it is impossible for the respondents to simultaneously claim to be both male or female.

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1e Types of relationships

     Relationship: refers to the correspondence between two variables. The nature of relationship

     Causal relationship: a cause-effect relationship. Third-variable problem: an unobserved variable that accounts for a correlation between two variables. Caution: spurious relationship (spurious correlation or spurious regression).

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1e Types of relationship

     Patterns of relationships Positive relationship Negative relationship

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1f Hypotheses

     Hypothesis: a specific statement of a prediction. Alternative hypothesis: the hypothesis that you support (you prediction). Null hypothesis: the hypothesis that describes the remaining possible outcomes. One-tailed vs. two-tailed hypothesis

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1g Types of data

     Quantitative data: data that appears in numerical form. Qualitative data: data in which the variables are not in a numerical form, but are in the form of text, photographs, sound bytes, and so on.

     1-1 The Language of Research

     1-1h The unit of analysis

     Unit of analysis: the entity that you are analyzing in your analysis; for example, individuals, groups, or social interactions. Hierarchical modeling: the incorporation of multiple units of analysis at different

levels of a hierarchy within a single analytic model.

     1-2 The Rationale of Research

     1-2a Structure of research

     The hourglass metaphor for the research process

     Begin with broad questions. Narrow down, focus in. Operationalize. Observe. Analyze data Research conclusion Generalize back to questions

     1-2 The Rationale of Research

     1-2a Structure of research

     Components of a study Research problem: general problem. Research question: the central issue being addressed in the study, which is typically phrased in the language of theory.

     1-2 The Rationale of Research

     1-2a Structure of research

     Major components in a causal study: The research problem The research question The program (cause) The units The outcomes (effect) The design

     1-2 The Rationale of Research

     1-2b Deduction and induction

     Deductive: top-down reasoning that works from the more general to the more specific

     Theory Hypothesis Observation Confirmation

     1-2 The Rationale of Research

     1-2b Deduction and induction

     Inductive: bottom-up reasoning that begins with specific observations and measures and ends up as general conclusion or theory.

     Theory Tentative hypothesis Pattern Observation

     1-2 The Rationale of Research

     1-2c Two research fallacies

     A fallacy is an error in reasoning, usually based on mistaken assumptions. Ecological fallacy: occurs when you make conclusions about individuals based only on analyses of group data (Robinson, 1950). Exception fallacy: occurs when you reach a group conclusion on the basis of exceptional or unique cases.

     1-3 Validity of Research

     Validity: the best available approximation of the truth of a given proposition, inference, or conclusion. Cause construct: your abstract idea or theory of what the cause is in a cause-effect relationship you are investigating. Effect construct: your abstract idea or theory of what the outcome is in a cause-effect relationship your are investigating.

     1-3 Validity of Research

     Four types of validity

     Conclusion validity: is there a relationship between two variables? Internal validity: is the relationship a causal one? Construct validity: did you implemented the program you intended to implement? And did you

    measure the outcome you wanted to measure? External validity: if there is a causal relationship between the construct of the cause and the effect, can you generalize this effect to other persons, places, or times?

     1-3 Validity of Research

     The validity staircase

     Validity

     External Construct Internal

     Can we generalize to Other persons, places, times?

     Can we generalize to the constructs?

     Is the relationship causal?

     Conclusion

     Is there a relationship between the cause and effect?

     1-4 Ethics in Research

     1-4a The language of ethics

     Voluntary participation Informed consent Confidentiality Anonymity Right to service Institutional review board (IRB)

     1-5 Conceptualizing

     1-5a Where research topics come from?

     Practical problems in the field Literature in your specific field Requests for proposals (RFPs)

     1-5 Conceptualizing

     1-5b Feasibility

     Trade-offs between rigor and practicality How long the research will take to accomplish? Ethical constraints? Cooperation needs?

     1-5 Conceptualizing

     1-5c The literature review

     Tips for conducting the literature review

     Concentrate your efforts on the scientific literature. Do the review early in the research process.

     1-6 Influential Factors

     Influences on the conduct of social research

     Theory

     Practical consideration

     Epistemology ÈÏÊ?ÂÛ

     Social research

     Values

     Politics

     Ontology ??ÌåÂÛ

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