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week 10 Readings

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Mary Jo Nadeau

Chapter 10 (all) SOC221 – Reading Notes Nonreactive Quantitative Chapter 14 (all) Lecture 10 – Nonreactive Methods Nonreactive Qualitative Nonreactive Quantitative Research – Chapter 10 • Nonreactive: measures in which people being studied are unaware that they are in a study Nonreactive Measurement o The Logic of Nonreactive Research  Unobtrusive Measures: another name for nonreactive measures. It emphasizes that the people being studied are not aware of it b/c the measures do not intrude o Recording and Documentation  Follows logic of quant measurement Quantitative ContentAnalysis o What is ContentAnalysis  Technique for gathering and analyzing the content of text  Content: refers to words, meanings, pictures, symbols, ideas, theme or any message that can be communicated  Text: a general name for symbolic meaning w/i a communication mediu measured in content analysis  Uses objective and systematic counting and recording procedures to produce a quant description of the symbolic content in a text  Coding: The process of converting raw information or data into another form for analysis. In content analysis, it is a means for determining how to convert symbolic meanings in text into another form, usually numbers (see coding system); in quantitative data analysis, it is a means for assigning numbers; and in qualitative data analysis, it is a series of steps for reading raw notes and assigning codes or conceptual terms (see axial coding, open coding, selective coding). o TopicsAppropriate for Quant ContentAnalysis  Cannot determine the truthfulness of an assertion or evaluate the aesthetic qualities of literature  It reveals the content in text but can’t interpret the content’s sig  Useful for 3 research probs: • Probs involving large volume of text • When a topic must be studied ‘at a distance’ o Historical docs, writings of someone who died, etc • Reveal messages in a text that are difficult to see w/ casual observation o Measurement and Coding  General Issues • Coding System: set of instructions or rules used to explain how to systematically convert the symbolic content from text to quant data  Units • Can be a word, phrase, theme, plot, character, etc  What is measured? • Uses structured observation: o Method of watching what is happening in a social setting that’s highly organized and follow systematic rules for observation and documentation • Frequency: means counting whether or not something occurs and, if it does, how often. • Direction: noting the direction of messages in the content along some continuum (neg, pos, supporting, opposed, etc) • Intensity: strength or power of a message in a direction • Space: the size of a text message or the amount of space or volume allocated to it. Measured by counting words, sentences, paragraphs, or space on a page. o Coding, Validity, and Reliability  Manifest Coding: researcher first develops a list of specific words, phrases, or symbols and then finds them in a comm medium • Is highly reliable b/c the word or phrase either is there or not • Unfort, it doesn’t take the connotations of the words/phrases into account  Coding Frame: an exhaustive list of all possible values that codes may take in content analysis  Latent coding: researcher identifies meaning such as gen themes or motifs in a comm medium • Tends to be less reliable than manifest coding • Is more valid  Intercoder Reliability • Always check for consistency across coders if using more than one • Etc o How to Conduct Content Analysis Research  Question Formulation  Units of Analysis  Sampling • Often use random sampling  Variables and Constructing Coding Categories • Must define variables • Select manifest and/or latent coding • Recording sheet: Page on which a researcher writes down what is coded in content analysis. o Inferences  Content analysis cannot reveal the intentions of those who created the text or the effects that messages in the text have on those who receive them Existing Statistics/Documents and Secondary Analysis • Social Indicators o Measuring the quality of social life so that such info could influence public policy o Asocial indicator is a measure of social well-being used in policy  Ex. Unemployment rate • Locating Data o Locating Existing Stats  Gov’t or int’l agencies and private sources  Data libraries or data centres w/i library systems of CDN unis o Secondary Survey Data  Reanalysis of previously collected survey or other data that were originally gathered by others • Limitations o Researcher may use secondary data or existing stats that are inappropriate for his/her research question o Researcher doesn’t understand the substantive topic o Fallacy of misplaced concreteness: When a person uses too many digits in a quantitative measure in an attempt to create the impression that the data are accurate or the researcher is highly capable. o Units of Analysis and VariableAttributes  Finding the appropriate units of analysis is a problem o Validity  When the researcher’s theoretical def doesn’t match the gov’t agency or org that collected the info • Ex. Diff definitions  When official stats are a surrogate or proxy for a construct in which a researcher is really interested  Researcher lacks control over how info is collected • Systematic arrors • Errors in org and reporting of info • Errors in publishing info o Reliability  When official defs or method of collecting info changes over time o Missing Data  Sometimes certain data were never collected Issues of Inference and Theory Testing • Inferences from Nonreactive Data o Ability to infer causality or test a theory is limited o Can only show an association among variables Ethical Concerns • Primary concern is privacy and confidentiality of using info gathered by someone else • Another is that official stats are social and political products o Objects of pol conflict and guide the direction of policy Nonreactive Qualitative Research – Chapter 14 Historical-Comparative Research • Comparative Research: employs any type of data analysis method but is concerned w/ comparing two or more units, such as countries or cultures • Research QuestionsAppropriate for H-C Research o Useful for addressing big questions  Ex. How big insts, such as medicine, have developed and changed over two centuries o Suited for examining the combos of social fac
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