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University of Toronto St. George
Margaret Gassanov;

Surveys and Quantitative Surveys12152012 10300 PMOutline So you want to do a survey Youll need toAsk a question and come up with some testable hypotheses Decide how youre going to administer the survey Get a samplehow big should your sample be Design survey questions Put them together into a surveyadminister it Analyze your dataWhat youve been doing all this timesurveys assumptions and paradigms what is a surveyDatacollection method RespondentsUniform questionnaireProbably most common source of quantitative data in sociologyOften use probability sampling methods to allow for clearer conclusions from quantitative analysisSurveys are not experiments A form of probability sample is used Paradigmatic AssumptionsAggregation makes structure visible Positivist The objective truth is out therewe can measure sociological concepts meaningfully we can isolate the causal effects of individual variables Focus on nomothetic explanations Focus on frequencies of variables or relationships between variables Interested primarily in the usual pattern not variation or the exceptions maybe its not the problem with the person maybe its something about the area ie if everyone tripping on same step not the person its the step not just the individual who drops out of high school but maybe the group or neighbourhood that causes the problem very positivistic Some ultimate truth to be found objective reality Take the concepts we need and measure them Can isolate how variables cause thingsThese are all aggravate assumptions Interested in how things mutually work ask a research question Useful for descriptive and explanatory research can ask either The following are examples How many high school students smoke What proportion of adult Canadians areunemployedHow does income affect couples likelihood of divorceWhat is the relationship between frequent exposure to violence and depressionNot as useful for exploratory research This questions are determined a head of time as they are preset we cannot use it to probe or explore need to know the options because they are closeended ie need to know all the clubs at uoft to ask what clubs people joinsome idea of what will happenDerive one or more hypotheses this step is not always necessaryNot always possible or necessary if your research is descriptiveState hypotheses as comparisons between people who have different values on the independent variableH1 People who have had frequent exposure to violence are more likely to be depressed than people who have little or no exposure to violenceH2 The more violence a person has been exposed to the higher his or her depression score will beThese compare those who have high exposure vs low exposure Derive one or more hypothesesSometimes there are reasons that suggest one hypothesis and equally compelling reasons to support anotherH1 Couples with higher combined incomes are more likely to divorce than couples with lower combined incomesH2 Couples with higher combined incomes are less likely to divorce than couples with lower combined incomesWhat could cause this H1 people more independent so they can support themselves H2 low income lead to more stress more conflict and therefore high divorce rates Survey ModeSelfadministeredProsNot too costlyMore time to give wellthought answers People may feel more comfortable giving truthful answers to sensitive questions No interviewer characteristics to affect the answers ConsLower response rateBias only people who feel strong about an issue may be answeringCannot clarify questions or probe answersNo information about the physical or psychological condition in which survey was completedIf you have to phone to remind people or send out more reminders can make it costly Different interviewers can illicit different effects they behave in subtly different ways
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