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Lecture 5

POLI SCI 3N06 Lecture 5.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLSCI 3N06
Professor
Todd Alway
Semester
Fall

Description
Political Science 3N06 2013 Lecture 5: Designing a Research Design Your literature review allows you to refine your research question literature review is not an annotated review it’s a research essay studying and writing about a topic you are interested  where is it week  what is it missing  read actual lit reviews  next week in tutorial; talk more about it you do not answer your research question What happens next? Hypotheses  Having developed a clear research question o Your research proposal will ultimately contain one (or several) hypotheses  Tentative answers to your research question  Answers that you will then test against the evidence  Different types of research questions often call for different types of hypotheses (see Halperin and Heath)  Regardless, hypotheses usually state a relationship between two types of variables o Independent  is x it comes first  our cause o Dependent  the effect  why  comes second not first Research question: what is the relationship between democracy and development? Hypotheses: an increase in development causes on increase… give reasonable reason as to why you are looking at these variables the variables have to correlate with one another; could be positive; increase in one variable increases the other variable there has to synchronized movement the cause must come before the effect we are not clear to which comes first  To say that two variables are causally related, certain conditions have to hold 1. The variables must correlate with one another o Although the association is rarely 100% 2. The cause must take place before the effect o If the dependent variable occurs before the independent variable then you may be confusing effect for cause 3. The relationship between the variables must be non-spurious o If a third variable accounts for the correlation, then the apparent causality is not real o it is not by chance o this other variable that is causing variables to come together o variables are surrounded by other variables o there is an underlying variable  experimental methods to control What do your variables actually mean?  You know what you want to look at  The question is how will you know it when you see it?  You need to clearly define your variables o there are all kinds of meanings of definitions  A two-step process o Conceptualization – specifying what you mean by a given variable  in words; what we exactly mean  Many terms have no obvious and accepted definition  Democracy?  Terrorism?  Define what you mean by the term  Your conceptual definition may or may not capture the “objective” essence of a phenomenon (think constructivism here)  But it does need to clearly and unambiguously articulate what you mean by the term o Operationalization – linking the conceptual definition of your variables to observable data  How will you identify or measure the variables?  How will you see economic growth, prejudice, alienation, democracy, terrorism, etc.?  What data will indicate their presence/absence?  h
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