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Structuring Inquiry: Designing a research project

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Loretta H O

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Lecture 3 May 22, 2012. Designing a study Two main components of research design: Main purposes of research design are: 1. Specifying what you want to find out, then… 2. Determining the best way to do so Issues to consider We are looking at 4 issues today. I. Purpose of research II. Causation III. Unit(s) of Analysis and Unit(s) of Measurement IV. Time dimension V. Setting the Stage: The purposes of pure research Important to determine the purpose(s) for your research. There are 3 purposes of research: 1. Exploration the goal is to explore topic that you are not familiar with, when you are doing exploratory research it is really research in a topic that researchers are not that familiar with. There needs to be some sort of mystery there for some that you want to explore. A topic where is no research been done about the topic. For instance if you want to research about modern technology such as Facebook, internet and digital divide and so fort, these topics are good for exploratory research because there is not much done about these topics. To examine a new interest and to develop a better understanding you use exploratory research because it leads to better understanding. Example: What does religiosity in Canada look like right now? So there is a lot of work about religiosity in Canada right now, we are not debating about religiosity but this is not the same, this is a a topic that lend itself to exploratory research because you can look at research that has been done on this topic 10 years ago and how religiosity look like, but you can research that thing might have changed because of different concepts. There can be changes. You do not know where you go. (think about the picture on slide 5). *These research purposes mean different things to inductive vs. deductive researchers. So when you are saying you want to do exploratory research, it might be something different that if you want to do a deductive project, compared to if you are going to say you want to do Inductive project, it can mean different things although the general idea is exploratory research. How does exploratory research look like for a deductive researcher? Pilot study, when you are a deductive researcher and you want to do exploratory research you often times start off with a pilot project which are often done when want to deal with a lot of topic you do not want to spend a lot of money doing research that you do not know what you are exactly looking at, if this is worth while, deductive study is usually a large type of survey study. Deductive researchers rely on pilot studies, and when they do a pilot study what they are actually doing is exploratory research, they are getting actually a small sample of people together to fill out a survey or questionnaire to provide the researcher an idea whether or not to explore, something that they want to look in further or there is something that they want to describe or explain later on. Pilot study is really a good way for deductive researchers, to uses this exploratory method. For inductive researchers exploratory research means different thing, so for them as you recall when you are doing inductive research you are going in there not with a very clear idea what you want to find but you are really letting time in the field and experience talking to people, kind of topic or question will organically grow from that exploratory part, or a theory will grow. You are really going in the field with the hope that something will appear, so when this is really a researchers approach in exploration inductive thinking really is internal part of your research. Or you might actually take the exploratory approach and say that you want to build your project around that topic, you are going to research about these people if I do not know much about the topic, this this is the reason why I want to go to the field and do a research. 2. Descriptive Research: in contrast to exploratory research where you searching without knowing what you are exploring in Descriptive research you know what you are looking at, for instance the clip are on slide 7 shows that people are at the gallery and people know what they are looking at those painting and what ever they are, and they are standing in front of a painting and they are trying to describe it, they might be asking in their heads questions or they might be asking or try to describe a social phenomenon. The metaphor for descriptive research is that you know what you are looking at there is a topic at hand. For instance question such as how education system work in Canada, so there is a lot of research done about this topic so you already know a lot about it, people have done work in it and you want to describe more. Or pattern in work, you can research how organization motivate their employees, this types of research is very good because it allows you to anchored your research on the topic that you already know what you are not going to research or not you are describing you are making the research more richer you are not introducing a brand new phenomenon. Example, If you are going with the idea of religion you go in to the field and describe it further and the example question What role does religion play in Canadians‟ lives? Here we know what we are looking at and we are kind of assuming that there is a role, what we are doing is try to destruct the role a little bit further. For deductive and inductive researchers they are really interested in the questions of who what and when did it happen. What is different though is what kinds of answers are satisfactory. Deductive researchers the type of answers that they are looking to each of those W questions they are very direct meaning that there is only one or 2 words that can constitute the findings when you are trying to answer that question Assume you are researching the question “ what role does religion plays in Canadians lives? A deductive researcher would be satisfied when s/he finds answer to who (Canadians) when (now) what (religion) where in the Canadian context how declining in importance. However, for an inductive researcher even though they might also be looking at when, who, where and how, deductive researchers demands some sort of fit description. So, a qualitative data that is done really well taken inductive approach they really taken the time to approach each case. For instance who maybe they look at one case study lets say Moslim women, Christian group women and so looking deeply into a story and tell you what to expect it is almost sort of reading a novel. You get the sense of the context how many people are understanding what led them to practice religion what kind of people surround themselves with, you have a lot more answers at the end than if you were doing deductive approach. Inductive research you get answers to those W questions but hose answers are a lot more detailed and a lot more rich where you get a story out of it Where in deductive approach you do not get a story out of that , you are looking more just a trends. 2. Explanation: This one is the most sophisticated and challenging to do. Because you have to first really anchor good what is in the field and what has been done, you need to know the literature quite well and so if you are doing explanatory research project presumably you are going to offer new insight and expiation. So what this means is that you are going to indicate what is not explain and therefore you are offering a new explanation. You suppose to explain why you While descriptive studies answer questions of „who, what, where when and how‟, explanatory research seeks to answer “why” (B and B). Researchers in explanatory research try to come up with causal explanations. e.g. Why is there a growth in participation in Islam in Canada? (deductive) e.g. Why are second generation Muslim women returning to the veil? (inductive) the types of answers that a researcher is looking for, they are looking for general trend types of answer, you are not looking so much at the context or individual situations or conditions so much you are just drawing conclusion, survey data is useful in this approach because you take survey and crunch some numbers and you will see some broad trend for instance you can say people are not going to church because of a.b.c factors so it might be for instance in the example of religious organizations that they are too busy, or that people are far from the institutions. Generally 2 to 3 explanation is possible from one research question. On the other hand if you were to take an inductive approach and do an explanatory research within inductive approach, you would still be trying to explain some sort of phenomenon but will do so where you are trying to get answers which are more richly detailed. Example of question that you can ask in an inductive explanatory manner; Why are second generation Muslim women returning to the veil? As and inductive researcher you would not want to answer this question with one or 2 words. The research in this area for instance are very detailed very rich, they usually explore the case studies of one or few women and these women tell their stories it could be many different factors that these people return to the veil you get very interesting insight that you might not even have anticipated, a lot of times these women are second generation their parents might not even wear the veil and these women did and they have their interest in to tell. As inductive researcher your job will be to tell, well the women return to veil due to fashion trend or so. So it it is a long story. The break down is basically, If you were an deductive researcher and doing an explanatory research method you are really interested in isolating causal relationship like in a typical research article using deductive approach is that you are really trying to isolate 3r relation cause. In inductive explanatory approach you will get at the end a sense, after reading the article you should be able to see the pattern if an author is good and the the try to link cases should give a very fit (descriptive) explanation for why certain phenomenon occurs you can not test basically test whether something is inductive or deductive under this explanatory tradition, but what is possible is if you were asked by a friend by an article about, if you read point 1, 2, 3, that is deductive if you were looking for many explanation like story is inductive. Purposes of applied research: The research in this class we are doing peer research. Sociology tend to run its research through applied research because sociology by definition study society so a lot of times what happens in an institution like U of T, the research gets used for the policy purposes or implication. Two purpose of applied research 1. Change or 2. improve the world, peer research can be taken a step further towards applied research to see whether the project will improve the world. Compatible paradigms with applied research are conflict and feminist paradigms, these two paradigms will see that there is an issue with inequality and these issues need to be addressed. Where on the other hand for instance in functionalist paradigm yes there are inequalities but it does not really matter because people play different roes in society, because it is not something that functionalist will see as an issue. Any time you are dealing with an issue is that needs to be changed is you are dealing with feminist or conflict paradigm also about Social justice. In the paper you are required to lay out what the purposes no matter what sort of research you are doing. II. Causation: Causation in the social sciences is a little bit different than causation in the natural science. Scientific Cause-Effect Model refers to causation that is used in natural sciences. In the Scientific Cause-Effect Model the main difference is that free will does not exist. It is have to realize free will and emotion to determine we can not really say Events are a result of causes that determine them. Example: student strikes you can always say that maybe protest happen because people felt upset or they wanted to do this. That would be a very simplistic way of looking at it at least in a sociological sense because you are not taking into account different sides you are looking at the individual which is part of the story. When social scientist look at the issues of causation, they are really looking at the conditions that make people act different way and observe types of free well. Or you can take it a bit further since there is a sociology called the sociology of emotions you can look at how certain conditions (structural conditions) in society might effect someone to act in a particular way, or what condition in society those structural conditions might make someone certain way. Rather than predict the occurrence of an event you predict the conditions of an event under which an event occur. Conditions (social factors) what this assume is that how we are trying to deal with Free will and emotions or agency (free will the old ideas of to active survey. Individuals do have agency, free will, act certain way, feel certain way. What social scientist are interested in how structural conditions create or shape that agency. Example: reasons for drop out in high schools are: school is boring maybe, hates school or is not feeling it. As a social scientist you need to move beyond the individual level and look at what are the social conditions that are impacting this person to feel this way and act this way to drop out. There can be social condition such as that there maybe condition that he lives in a neighborhood where there are not good structure to encourage children to stay focused in school. Maybe there are no enough resources to get help and so fort. There are individual agency but there are structures also that can shape how people act. Tenets of the modified cause-effect model there are 4 tenets in social science: 1.Cause- effect is not a simple relationship; there can be a cause that leads to an effect there are chains of causes that explain events. Example; In natural sciences you might have smoking weed leads to cancer, so there are two factors smoking and cancer, the social science allows a series of causes, one cause leading to an effect and that effect in turn leads to another cause and another effect. For instance you might have the notion that higher educational attainment leads to better health outcomes, as social scientist we allow the possibility that it is not a direct education health type of relationship, it might be because higher education you lead to better job and benefits, better hours better pay you are able to afford better medical treatment. Because you are able to afford better medical treatment you have better outcomes. There are series of event that lead to a result. We need to keep in mind that 1.people are affected by different social conditions that is why they act differently. The type of condition that you observe is really dependent on the social structure that they are based with. The third one is difficult, when we are talking about the causation we hesitate we do not see researchers that use the word cause 3 variables, Rather than using cause there is a relation. When researchers rapport the Finally 4.probabilistic language is used is rather than predictive. So instead of saying higher education will lead to better health outcome, social scientist will often say that educatio
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