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Lecture 1

FMST 210 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Eugenie Bouchard, Rebecca Marino, Kim Clijsters

Family Studies
Course Code
FMST 210
Maria Weatherby

of 4
Chapter 1: Lecture Template (1 of 2)
I. Five Research Methods
1. Case Study – a method that involves obtaining an in-depth analysis of a single “case” – for example
- a single individual, school, private/public corporation or institution, a geographical place, etc.
Why are case studies considered problematic methods of conducting research (according to some)?
2. Observational Study – a method that involves observing people, animals, or any phenomenon.
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Naturalistic studies involve observing things in their natural or unaltered environment (to maximize
ecological validity – or – the authenticity of data).
Lab studies involve observing things in a controlled environment. Specifically, researchers set up the
environment to expose particular reactions/responses.
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3. Survey – a method that involves measuring participants’ responses to specific questions or
questionnaires. Participants are asked to simply answer the questions (i.e., participants self-report). If
researchers elect to investigate whether there is a relationship between responses to two or more
questions in the survey, then they typically calculate a correlation, which conveys the nature and
size of the relationship.
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What is the difference between a positive and negative correlation? 
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Which correlation indicates the strongest relationship between two variables?
4. Experiment – a method that involves manipulating (changing) the independent variable (IV) to see if
this change results in a change to the dependent variable (DV).
Independent Variable (IV) – the presumed causal variable that is manipulated by the researcher.
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Dependent Variable (DV) – the characteristic or behaviour that is (expected to be) affected by the
change the researcher makes to the IV.
In an experiment, researchers manipulate and measure variables. Specifically, researchers manipulate
the IV and measure the effect that this has on the DV. Conversely, in a survey, researchers measure
variables only (via questions). Similarly, in an observational study (either naturalistic or in a lab),
researchers measure variables only (via direct observation).
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How do researchers “manipulate” or change the IV?
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5. Quasi-Experiment –like an experiment, a quasi-experiment enables a researcher to test a causal
hypothesis/research question. In addition, a quasi-experiment involves manipulation of the IV and
measurement of the DV. However, there is one difference between an experiment and a quasi-
What is the difference between an experiment and a quasi-experiment?
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What is the difference between random assignment and random selection?
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Is random selection necessary in an experiment or a quasi-experiment?
Note: If you are still not clear about the difference between random assignment and random selection,
II. Practice Questions (to check your understanding)
Imagine you are a graduate student in education that is interested in researching the topic of bullying.
You make an appointment to speak with your advisor to find out how to proceed. Your advisor states
that the first step in conducting research is to select a relevant research question. She also states that
finding a relevant research question takes time because you must read the existing literature on
bullying in order to determine a relevant research question. You begin your literature search by
looking for published review papers (meta-analyses) but you can’t find any. This means you must
locate, read and analyse ‘individual’ research studies just to help you determine a relevant research
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As you read the existing published literature, you discover that there are several case studies on
bullies, victims and by-standers describing their ‘lived’ (real) experiences in great detail and
complexity. Next, you find several published naturalistic studies on bullying in unsupervised
playgrounds, hallways, and cafeterias, which describe interactional patterns between bullies, victims,
and bystanders. Then you locate numerous correlational studies (surveys), which investigate the
relationship between bullying and other variables (such as peer status, self-esteem, school tolerance
of violence, and various child and parental factors).
One published survey reports a correlation between student knowledge about bullying and rates of
“bullying”, “passive by-standing”, and “victimization”. You find this intriguing. Because “correlation
doesn’t equal causation” was stated at least 20 times in your undergraduate courses, you are careful
not to infer a causal relationship between these variables. Rather, you decide to look for
‘experimental studies’ that are better designed to test causal relationships between variables. You
locate quasi-experimental studies but not any ‘true’ experimental studies. The good news is that this
literature review has proved useful. You have identified a relevant research question (i.e., identified
variables) and you have determined what research method you will use (i.e., an experiment).
You decide to share your research question and rationale for the experimental method with your
advisor. She is thrilled about your proposed study and tells you that she has worked with two
elementary schools in the lower mainland and that she will contact teachers at the school to see if
they would be willing to allow you to come into their classroom to conduct a bullying workshop.
After one month, students from the following classrooms have agreed to participate in your study
(teacher and parent consent obtained as well):
Armstrong Elementary
Mr. Roger Federer Grade 3 n=25
Ms. Rebecca Marino Grade 6 n=25
Ms. Kim Clijsters Grade 3 n=25
Mr. Milos Raonic Grade 6 n=25
Seaforth Elementary
Mr. Vasek Pospisil Grade 3 n=25
Ms. Eugenie Bouchard Grade 6 n=25
Mr. Frank Dancevic Grade 3 n=25
Ms. Aleksandra Wozniak Grade 6 n=25
Answer the following questions:
1. Identify the suspected independent variable(s) and dependent variable(s) in your study.
2. Would you predict a positive or negative relationship between the IV(s) and DV(s)? Explain.
3. What procedure(s) will you have to follow to ensure you use the experimental method?
4. How will you manipulate the IV?
5. What variables do you need to measure? How could you measure each variable?
6. How many participants will you have in this study? Restated, what is the sample size (or n)?
7. Did you randomly select your participants? Explain.
Identify the suspected independent variable(s) and dependent variable(s) in your study.
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Would you predict a positive or negative relationship between the IV(s) and DV(s)? Explain.
find more resources at
find more resources at