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Lecture

GGR271H1 Lecture Notes - Social Science, Institute For Operations Research And The Management Sciences, Nomothetic


Department
Geography
Course Code
GGR271H1
Professor
Matti Siemiatycki

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Introduction to Data sources and Methods – Week 2
Epistemological positions- a branch of philosophy concerned with
what constitutes knowledge and how knowledge is acquired.
Positivism
oScience is the basis of all the laws that explain human
behaviour
oOnly scientific testing can lead to knowledge
oTheory generates hypotheses that can be tested
oScience is value free
oDistinction between science and normative statements
oAdvocates using the methods of the natural sciences in
the study of social reality
Intrepretivism
oSeek to understand human behaviour
oCannot separate the researcher from the researched
Understand human role in their own surroundings
oResearch should be action oriented: research informs
and shapes social change
oRequires the social scientist to grasp the subjective
meanings that people attach to their actions and
behaviours
Ontological Positions –a branch of philosophy concerned with the
nature of reality: whether social entities are considered objective and
external to social actors, or are they social constructions built up
through perceptions and actions of these actors
Objectivism
oSocial phenomena exist beyond the reach of individuals
oOrganizations have rules and regulations that possess
an external reality

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Constructivism
oSocial phenomena and their meaning produced through
interactions
oNo pre-existing order
oResearcher presents only reality of the world
Nomothetic explanations
Used by those who subscribe to the natural science/
quantitative methods
An explanation that applies to all of humanity
Has to satisfy 3 criteria
oCorrelation
The proposed cause and the proposed effect vary
together
oTime order
Ther proposed cause must precede the effect in
time
oNon-Spuriousness
Try to determine whether some third factor is the
cause of the correlation
Qualitative researchers aim for less generalizing definitions
Seek to produce a rich description of a person or a group
Rather than to discover general laws and principles
oThese are called idiographic explanations
Detailed story of the people studied that is based
on empathetic understanding
Data Sources

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Interviews/questionairres, letters, corporate documents, etc.
Structured Observation- technique where the researcher follows
explicitly formulated rules for the observation, categorization, and
recording of behaviour
Strengths
oExamine underlying issues not found with surveys
oExamine the gap between stated and actual behaviour
Weaknesses
oEthical considerations
oInaccurate coding imposed on human behaviour
through error
Perhaps and innapropriate observation schedule
was selected?
oNot able to understand intentions behind observed
behaviour
oGenerates many many small bits of data that can cloud
an analysis of themes
Primary Data – data collected directly by researcher
Advantages
oCan tailor data collection specifically to research
question
oEnsure quality required in data collection
Disadvantages
oTime consuming
oCan be costly
oRun into ethical considerations, its obtrusive into
peoples lives
Secondary Analysis of Data – the analysis of data collected and
produced by other researchers.
Advantages
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