HSCI 307 Lecture Notes - Null Hypothesis, Dependent And Independent Variables, Content Analysis

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HSCI 307 Lecture #4 Tuesday, Feb. 1st, 2011
Study Designs: The Time Dimension
x Cross-sectional
-one point in time, less robust, is a snapshot of the current ore previous state of knowledge;
x Longitudinal
- over time, different populations at different times (e.g. every 5 years in populations with
alcohol and drug consumption), time series, panel
-cohort: Similar to a panel study, but observing over time a category of people who share a
similar experience at one time period, e.g. Birth cohorts; allows you to asses change at a
population and/or an individual level, good for both clinical practices and those that cover a
broad range (e.g. homeless individuals with mental problems over 5 years-some getting housing,
some using drugs, some having physical health problems, etc. to see how these factors influence
mental health and how individual health status changes over time).
-If following a child into adulthood, the adult will have to re-consent once they become a legal
x Case study
-over time; Draws on the logic of analytic rather than enumerative ivµ]}vVuvZZÇ[
and how do we understand it).
-Considers specific context of the case in detail rather than looking for patterns in a large
number of cases.
Types of Data Collection Techniques
Quantitative data
x Experiments
-Researcher/scientist manipulates the conditions for some participants but not for others and
compares group responses to assess whether the condition made a difference; refers primarily
to a randomized controlled experiment; populations are as similar as possible except for the
one factor you wish to control in the study, e.g. drug trials (you either get the drug or the
placebo, or old drug vs. new drug).
x Surveys
-Researchers systematically ask a large number of people the same questions.
-Answers are recorded and analyzed with statistical methods. Frequently used in descriptive or
explanatory research to understand an issue/research problem
-produces quantitative data to provide a sense of knowledge on the topic
x Nonreactive Research
-Compared to reactive research such as experiments or surveys where participants are aware of
their participation in a study, participants in non-reactive research are not aware that
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HSCI 307 Lecture #4 Tuesday, Feb. 1st, 2011
information about them is being used in a study ~µ][Z]oµZ]v(}u]}v]v}
being identified to the individual).
-Includes: unobtrusive research (observations, e.g. reviewing medical records), examination of
statistical information/documents and secondary analysis.
Content analysis
-a technique for examining the content, or information and symbols, contained in written
documents or other communication medium (e.g. legal documents,
newspaper articles, etc.)
-This is non-reactive because the creators of the content do not know whether anyone will
analyze it or not.
-Most often used for descriptive purposes, but can be used for exploratory or explanatory
Secondary analysis of existing data
-a re-examination and statistical analysis of quantitative data that has been gathered
Field research
-The researcher directly observes and records notes on people in a natural setting for an
extended period of time (e.g. years, months, etc. depending on study).
-Most often conducted on a small group of people
- Typically begins with a loosely formulated idea or topic then gets elaborated further
throughout the course of the study
- Proceeds with researcher selecting a group or site to study
-Researcher gains access (permission) then adopts a role within the group and begins observing
for a period of several months to several years (e.g. boss at a manufacturing firm, elders in a
tribal community, etc.) to reduce tensions among groups.
-Data includes detailed notes on a daily basis (field notes) that speak to the observations you
are most interested in as a researcher.
Historical-comparative research
-Researcher examines data on events and conditions in the historical past and/or across
different cultures.
-Researchers may focus on one historical period or several, compare one or more cultures, or
mix historical periods and cultures.
-Approach combines theory with data collection
-Usually draws on a mix of evidence
Quantitative Design Issues
Language of variables
Types of variables
x Independent variable (IV): The cause variable, or the one that identifies forces or conditions
that act on something else.
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