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Lecture 5

2D06 Lecture 5 "Methodological Approaches in Sociological Social Psychology: Part II".docx

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McMaster University
Sarah Clancy

Fox 1 Lecture 5 SOCIOL 2D06 Wednesday, October 16, 2013 Methodological Approaches in Sociological Social Psychology: Part II  Experimental VS Non-Experimental  Sociological social psychology employs both experimental and non-experimental forms of research  Experimental - control and test group; scientific -ex. drug experiments Experimental Research -involves the use of control and test groups -people are subjects rather than participants -involves pre-tests and post-tests -pivotal part of experimental research -non-experimental research can involve this -pilot testing the research before going through with it to give you comparative time intervals (T1, T2 => comparison of data results) -random assignment into control and test groups -to maintain the integrity of the study  Experimental Research: A Case Study in Sociological Social Psychology -O’Brien and Hummbert’s 2006 study of “A Senior Moment” or a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?” (Casey, 2006) -do seniors justify their actions by this quote or is it something that they’re fulfilling in themselves? -control group and test group: -conducted memory test (word recall) on older individuals -presented with a list of words and then it was taken away; they were then told to recall or write down the words that they had recently seen -when competing against older individuals (those over 70), participants could only recall 12 words -internalization of values of competing against the same age group, so they may not remember a large amount of words either -when competing against younger individuals, participants could only recall 14 words -when they were in a group with younger people, it was almost motivation to recall more words -colloquial phrase of joking about ‘senior moments’ might be a self-fulfilling prophecy!  Non-Experimental Methods -quantitative methods -most commonly in the form of survey research Fox 2 Lecture 5 - test attitudes, values, beliefs, personality traits, etc to assess interactions and relationships with people and whether they are influenced by others and social structure in society -qualitative methods - interviewing (variety of different types), focus groups, observation, narrative analysis -archival/secondary research (sometimes grouped with qualitative research) - content analysis, etc., to analyze themes, etc -mixed methods - combination of qualitative and quantitative  Quantitative Methods: Advantages of surveys: - sample large number of individuals -takes longer to gather data in quantitative vs qualitative data - less time-consuming process -have to take this with a grain of salt -some surveys are expanded over a large period of time => longitudinal studies; but most people use it as a quicker method to get their results and analyze data - data analysis is “easier” than analyzing/transcribing interview data -it’s easier to load information into statistical software and get a nice print out of charts, graphs, models, etc., at the same time, you need people with expertise to deal with these softwares - can be checked for validity and reliability through software programs like SPSS -....of your research questions to validate data -more difficult for quantitative data because it is hard to develop meaning to variables - easier to pilot test -giving it to a small group of people to get feedback; they may tell you problems with survey -ex. too long, etc., to help you come up with a better, refined survey - tries to eliminate issues before they happen Disadvantages of surveys: - confusion -questions people may not understand and may not be interested in - double-darrelled questions -a question that has two questions in one and you don’t know which question to answer - generalizability/validity -if you’re not doing a large survey, you cannot generalize it to the population, making it less valid -ex. creating a survey for 20 people and trying to relate data to whole population of Canada - you cannot do this because your sample is too small Fox 3 Lecture 5 - social/cultural barriers -by giving an english based survey, you bias the survey in that everyone speaks english, but in a multicultural country, that is not the case -the survey has to be applicable to all possible people who are participating - response rates -sometimes people don’t want to answer surveys because they’re too time- consuming -half way through, some people may trail off and not answer the rest of the questions in the survey -some people will have a “brain drain”.... which is caused by the survey being uninteresting and boring -this effects the response rates and accuracy of the survey  Case Study in Quantitative Methods: -“Childlessness in Australia: Dr. Bronwyn Harman” -...ECU’s school of psychology and social sciences -available at edith cowen university -why are people childless? - anonymous online survey of (in)voluntary childlessness - snowballing and social media (twitter) to gather participants - involuntary - 50% were infertile; 22% left it too late to have a child - voluntary - 30% said they might have a child later - they could potentially become a part of the 22% above because they may wait too long; 7% disliked children; some just didn’t want one -we fall into a sense of security that people can be created at any time due to IVF - this is not good -women are judged by how they mother - so it is difficult to judge women without children -* she used both qualitative and quantitative data - involuntary and voluntary - you tend to be more negatively viewed when you’re involuntary because that is seen as a defect (something is wrong with you) - used methods to figure out how people feel and what they’re opinions are on voluntary and involuntary childlessness - values, beliefs, and understandings were found through one on one qualitative interviews -personal stories developed, follow-up questions allowed researcher to get more information - * know that how her research is a quantitative research example  Qualitative Methods: Advantages: - opportunity to discuss issues personally with individuals Fox 4 Lecture 5 -getting at information that a survey or quantitative forms of inquiry cannot - more flexibility - still have to abide by protocols (not putting the subjects at risk) -participants have a voice -opportunity to work with communities - working in a small group is more widely accepted -employment of unique and tailored methodological tools and techniques - ex. peer researchers are people working in communities -they could be interested in poor people and they find poor people in the community and allow them to become a part of the study and research process -a disadvantage could be that sometimes because it is a peer, it could be that they’re giving you an answer that you wish to hear Disadvantages: -present more ethical concerns - ex. the childlessness case study - because we are dealing with actual people and their lives, we have to make sure that we are be
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