Lecture 1 Research Strategies 09/17/2013
Monday 1011:30 LE118 Tuesday 12:302 CB3102
Quantitative (fall term) and Qualitative (winter term) strategies.
The main differences are
1the way theory is used in research (way to approach research, process)
Sources of information include internet, books, parents, teachers etc.
The are factors that influence these types of information. Take for example the Internet,
to much information
limit on what is available
out of date Theory: explanation of observed regularities or patterns
Helping to understand the core aspects of human communication and behavior
What is the process?
What is (or should be) considered acceptable knowledge?
Can the social world be studied ‘scientifically’? ( are we able to determine an equation that will show a
certain action or emotion as a outcome?)
Is it appropriate to apply the methods of the natural sciences to social science research?
What are we going to study?
What kind of object exist in the social world?
Do social entities exist independently of our perceptions of them?
Is social reality external to social actors or constructed by them?
Quantitative Strategies (DPO)
deductive ( theory>data>theory) literature> research> create new theory
positivist epistemology = scientific method
nature is orderly, we can know nature, knowledge is superior to ignorance, natural phenomena have nature
causes, nothing is selfevident, knowledge is derived from experiences.
Nothing is self evident it must be proven
objective Ontology = social phenomena confront us at external facts Qualitative Strategies (IIC)
Inductive: data>theory>data Observation/interpretation>Creation of a theory> what hasn’t been answered
goes back to observation
positivism over simplifies the social world
Object of study are social productions (art, poetry, music)
What is a research design?
A structure or framework to guide data collection and analysis
Are you searching for causality, understanding or generalization of the population
research questions▯ research design▯ research method
Often dictated by the client as to what specifically they are looking to find.
Quantitative research methods
Measurement of social variables
Common research designs: surveys and experiments
Numerical and statistical data
Qualitative research methods
understanding the subjective meaning held by actors (interpretive epistemology) Common methods: interviews, ethnography, textual analysis
data are words, texts and stories.
Influences on the conduct of research begin with your research question, value of the research (how
important is it), practical consideration ($$$), reliability, validity.
A quantitative strategy would be best for…
effects of internet on IQ
How gangs socialize new groups members
what makes students successful
who is god
Epistemology referse to
what is being studies
what process is being used
theory being used
none of the above
Positivism is the basis of…
scientific method theory
all of the above
Which comes first..
none of the above
History of Quantitative Methods of Communication
Understanding Human Nature
Science as a discipline evolves I the 1800’s (Math, physics, chemistry). Sociology adopts Scientific
Methods in the 1890’s, scientific approach to studying human behavior. Philosophers began to
develop the field and felt that perhaps scientific method could help explain human behavior. The
way stimulus affects human behavior.
Early Communication Research
The industrial Revolution we see urbanization/modernization (changing the relationship of work), migration,
bureaucracy contracts, innovation, Social differentiation, Psychological isolation. It becomes a melting pot
of different cultures and customs. The beginning of institutions in society (schools, hospitals etc.). People
are educated to read in schools which increases the range of those capable of thinking and developing
thoughts. Machines are able to print at mass. Early studies founded on conception of mass
society in the early 19 century.
Magic Bullet Theory
H.G. Wells War of the Worlds (1938)
Brought together a basic understanding of human nature and social order from the end of the 19 century
to mid 20 century.
There was a concern of the impact of Mass communication on Mass Society.
Rockefeller organization paid for a program at Princeton to study the circumstances to study this impact.
Why did people panic? What kinds of short term effects where there? What were the long term effects of
this panic? They spent 10 years analyzing the impact of radio on the masses. 30 % thought it was real and
felt panicked, disturbed or frightened by the story.
Hollywood and the movies (Payne Fund Studies)
WW2 Propaganda Films
Lazersfeld Election Campaigns
Mass media reinforces preexisting vires
Mass media mobalizes the undecided toward their demographic cohort
Media campaigns resonate with those already reached
Personal influence predominates over media influences via twostep flow. History of Quantitative Methods of Communication
Effects research is modified 9 gatekeeper/ Agenda settings/Uses and Gratification Theory
Frankfurt school, made up of theorists, looked beyond a stimulus and response calculation. Not everyone
is a blank slate and this type of theory assumes that we are. The only thing that is measurable is the
measure of persuasion.
Effects research oversimplifies the way we consume media.
We can’t study the effects of research using SR theory
Blame placed on the individuals for lack of knowledge
Only looks at the effects intended by the sender
Views the message as neutral
Cultural Studies Critique
Following Frankfurt theorists: Gramsci, Eco and Barthes
They Agree with Critical Studies on the topic of research and ADDS cultural variation must be considered
Behavioral Science Critiques
You might think behavioral scientists would approve of empirically testing media effects but they also had
Weaknesses in research design, sampling and statistical producers
Media effects presumes that media is the stimulus causing the effect
Post Modernist Critique
Neumann: Illustrates the flaws of empiricism and positivism and argues that there is no objective reality only
Research must be focused on the individual.
Evolution of Effects Research History of Quantitative Methods of Communication
continues today… elaboration of content, audience activity and media production, OSOR (O stands for
the way in which we are adding or elaborating to the concept of the effect of stimulation to reaction).
The industrial revolution created which of the following change in society: Urbanization
What is the name of the institution where critical theory emerged: Frankfurt school 09/17/2013
Literature published on the study. WE use this to help us better understand the understanding of the time.
Concepts and their measure
Categorizing the organization of ideas and observations abstract
Building blocks of theory
Provide explanations of social phenomena
Represent social phenomena we want to explain or to be explained.
Produced by the operational definition of a concept
Common sense understandings of the form a concept might take
Concept may have different dimensions
Single indicator Measures
Hypotheses and Variables
Hypothesis Conjectural statement of a relationship between 2 or more variables.
VariableAn indicator or measure that has more than one value
Causality vs. correlation
Errors in causal reasoning
Spurious, Intervening and Reinforcing relationships
Universal vs. Statistical generalizations
Reliability ( will it measure a concept repeatedly)
Validity (Is the measure actually a measure of the concept) Designing Questionnaires 09/17/2013
Remember your research questions
Decide exactly what you want to find out
Imagine yourself as a respondent (do they understand the question because they will answer either way,
this will effect reliability)
Different modes (telephone vs. in person/mail vs. internet)
Identify yourself and Introduce the research
who you are/ who is funding the research/the purpose/respondents selection/ contact# (anonymity or
Provide clear instruction (tick the box, fill the box etc.)
Consider question order (start with easy general questions and lead into heavy ones, demographics asked
last such as age, money, education)
Use filter questions where appropriate
Ensure quality interviewing
Closed and Open questions
Other types of questions
Attitude (beliefs, values and knowledge)
Writing The Questions: Specific Rules
Technical, jargon and acronyms Designing Questionnaires 09/17/2013
Very general questions
Negative terms (‘not’ ‘never’)
Ensure that respondents have the requisite knowledge
Symmetry between closed questions and answers
Create a balance between positive and negative responses to a question
Don’t rely on respondent’s memory
Include a “don’t know” option
likert scale ( strongly agree disagree)
Thurston Scale (support don’t support) place yourself on ruler
Semantic Differential Scale (outgoing shy) ( introvertedextroverted)
How to ensure good results
Piloting and pretesting questions
check that the research instrument works
open questions can generate fixed choice answers to include in the final study
using existing questions
spreadsheets of “cells” into which you enter data
Columns represent variables
Rows represent cases Univariate Data Analysis 09/17/2013
EXAM: December 21 , 2013 7pm Univariate Data Analysis 09/17/2013
Think about what tupe of data analysis you want to do. Decisions about sample size and method can affect
the kinds of analysis you can do.
Levels of Measurement
Nominal (collecting sets of distinct categories or names least rigorous, least amount of research we
can achieve ex. Political parties, countries, ethnic or religious groups)
Ordinal (response categories with order to them or order ex. Strongly a