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Chapter 10.docx

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Margaret Gassanov

Chapter 10: Unobtrusive Research - Unobtrusive research: methods of studying social behaviour without affecting it. This include analysis of existing statistics, content analysis and comparative research - Durkheim study is example of analysis of existing statistics - In content analysis, researchers examine a class of social artifacts that are usually written documents such as newspaper editorials - Historical and comparative research is one in which the main resources for observation and analysis are historical records Analyzing Existing Statistics - The method of using existing statistics is particularly significant because existing statistics should always be considered at least a supplemental source of data - Can also provide the main data for a social scientific inquiry - An excellent ex. Is classic study of Suicide by Durkheim Durkheim’s Study of Suicide - Social stability and integration seemed to be a protection against suicide - He began confident that religion played a important role in matter of suicide - Suggested many suicides are a product of anomie or “normlessness” or a general sense of social instability and disintegration - Catholicism , as a far more structured and integrated religious system, gave people a greater sense of coherence and stability than did the more loosely structured Protestantism Units of Analysis - Unit of analysis in analysis of existing statistics is often not the individual - Most existing statistics are aggregated; describe groups - Durkheim avoided danger of ecological fallacy (drawing conclusion from group level to patterns on individual levels) o His general conclusions were based as much on rigorous theoretical deductions as on the empirical facts o Retesting conclusions in a variety of ways; the replication of findings added weight of evidence in support of his conclusions Problems of Validity - 2 characteristics of science used to hand issue of validity: o Logical reasoning o Replication - If all tests see, to support hypothesis, then the weight of evidence supports the validity of the measure Problems of Reliability - Process of recording keeping affects the records that are kept and reported and therefore, the data available to researchers. (other examples on pg. 291-292) - Investigating the nature of the data collection and tabulation may enable you to assess the nature and degree of unreliability so you can judge its potential impact on your research interest Sources of Existing Statistics - One of most valuable sources of data for Canada is Statistics Canada, the statistics bureau of the federal government o Organized into 3 broad subject matter areas: demographic and social, socio- economic, and economic - Examples on pg. 293-294 Content Analysis - Content analysis: a social research method appropriate for studying human communications, such as books, magazines, websites, songs, poems, or paintings Topics Appropriate to Content Analysis - As a mode of observation, content analysis requires a thoughtful handling of the “what” that is being communicated. - The analysis of data collected in this mode, as in others, addresses the “why” and “with what effect” Sampling in Content Analysis - Units of Analysis: even if you plan to analyze some body of textual materials, the units of analysis might be words, themes, characters, paragraphs, items (such as books or letters), concepts, semantics, or combinations - Sample selection depends largely on what the unit of analysis is - We may often subsample –select samples of subcategories –for each individual unit of analysis - Once you have become clear about units of analysis and the observations best suited to those units and have created a sampling fram
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