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CMST 2A03 (10)
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CMST 2A03 Quiz: 2A03 test #3 review

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Department
Communication Studies
Course
CMST 2A03
Professor
Terry Flynn
Semester
Fall

Description
CHAPTER 9: METHODS OF OBSERVING PEOPLE Qualitative Research Methodology • Qualitative research that involves interaction rather than textual analysis often involves dealing with people and observing their reactions and statements in response to some stimulus (ex. something in the environment over which you have no control) • Hocking, Stacks, McDermott: Qualitative observational research methods can be divided into 3 areas that are differentiated by the amount of control you have over the research situation and the number of people you are observing: 1. In-depth interviews (expensive but important method) 2. Focus groups (less expensive but less in-depth) 3. Participant observation (least used in PR, costly but very useful) In-Depth Interviews • An in-depth interview is long, follows a schedule of questions and is a method in and of itself • Most controlled situation but most expensive, a researcher sits with another individual and asks specific questions that often provide the lead for follow-up questions of definition, policy and value (ex. a Barbara Walters TV interview) • Relies on systematic observation where the research carefully constructs question in the form of a discussion guide/interview schedule not include pricing questions where necessary based on historical/documentary research • Advantages of in-depth interviews: a. Allows the interviewer to get an understanding of not only the problem being research but also the person being interviewed b. Allows for introspection on the part of the interviewee and can still provide the interviewer control over the type of questions asked and the order of those questions • Disadvantages of in-depth interviews: a. High costs b. Heavy time commitments c. Difficulty in gaining access d. Large amount go historical/documentary research necessary to conduct a good interview e. Doesn’t allow for generalizability to larger populations Conducting the In-Depth Interview • 3 steps: 1. Setting the location 2. Creating the interview schedule 3. Analyzing the data • Nonverbal elements such as location and surrounds may impact the interviewee (ex. a lack of a secretary/phone/computer may be a filter or certificates/trophies may be a trapping) and can be used to establish a bond between interviewer and interviewee Neutral locations (ex. hotel/meeting rooms) make the interviewee more comfortable, the key is • to conduct the in-depth interview at the interviewee’s location Interview Schedule • In-depth interviews are conducted via an interview schedule with few close-ended questions prepared and the 2 types of questions are: 1. Funnel 2. Topical ▯1 • Funnel questions moves the interview from one particular question to the next based on the response to the funnel question (ex. taking the question from general to specific, seeking a basic understanding of what the interviewee knows about the problem/situation) • Topical questions moves from one set of prepared questions to another (ex. moving from what an interviewee saw to what they thought and what their ramifications were) • Probe questions seek greater understanding of responses to funnel/topical questions (ex. why do you think this occurred?) • Sticking to an interview schedule provides control necessary to direct the interview Analysis • Analyzing the data recorded from the entire session • Qualitative analyses rely on the background data gathered prior to the interview and are subjective in nature, often requiring the subjective evaluation of what was said and how it was said • Quantitive analyses examine the data and reduce them to numbers wherever possible, usually also employing content analysis • Identifying significant responses to questions must be cited in the final report as they provide further understanding and clarification • Case studies often use in-depth interviews Focus Groups • A focus groups is a controlled group discussion in which the group leader (moderator) skillfully asks questions to the group and then probes for better understanding and agreement among group members • Less controlled but quick and inexpensive method to get answers and allows questions to be directed and is used primarily to get an answer to questions of definition, value or policy • Advantages: a. Quick and cheap (only if the researcher doesn’t need to obtain data that can be generalized to a larger group) b. Allows members to build on each others answers and gain a better understanding • Disadvantages: a. Potential over reliance on the moderator’s ability to control the group b. Heavy commitment in time c. Voluntary nature of participant involvement Conducting the Focus Group • Involves 7 steps: 1. Choose type of focus group (tradition or known group) 2. Select and train staff (moderator and assistant) 3. Create discussion guide 4. Select your participants 5. Set up the room to meet 6. Conduct and record session 7. Transcribe and analyze data • There should be at least 2 focus groups conducted for each segment (the second group is used to establish whether the first group’s responses are representative of the population segment, if they aren’t a third group is run) • 4 areas for costs of running focus groups: 1. The moderator (between $1000-$5000 a group) ▯2 2. Actually running the focus group (ex. recording; always tell participants upfront that they will be recorded then describe what will happen to the recordings after the data have been analyzed) 3. Transcribing the focus group (about 40% of research costs) 4. Participant selection (compensation for participation) Types of Focus Groups • Most common type brings the selected individuals together in small groups based on parameters defined by a particular problem, this is formed through random selection of participants from a larger population or through a call for volunteers • Known group focus groups are used when researching in an organization where you want someone from each level to participate • Advantages of a known group focus group are that all levels of the organization are represented and the participants are selected for particular reasons (ex. they represent factions) • Disadvantages for this type are that participants are interacting with people who may be their superiors they may tend to keep their attitudes and opinions to themselves out of fear of retaliation and will answer anonymously and that this type of group is more expensive to run • Virtual focus groups are easier, faster and less expensive to run but the outcome will not be as good because the moderator and interactants are not in the same location being exposed to the same variables; person-to-person interaction offer the best outcomes Staffing & Discussion Guide • A focus group minimally requires a moderator maybe an assistant, sometimes a stenographer is hired to record but if a known group technique is employed then at least 3 additional assistants will be employed to help the moderator summarize the written answers • Discussion guides usually consist of: 1. Introductory statement 2. 10 questions divided into 4 types: a. Introductory (serve as icebreakers) b. Key (concentrate on what the focus group is exploring) c. Probe (moderator’s prepared questions) d. Transition (provide a break and transition between introductory and key questions) Participant Selection and Recruitment • Random sampling all participants in a population have an equal chance of being chosen but this doesn't mean that potential participants will show up; when random sampling the “Rule of 10” is employed: For every participant you need contact 10 • The number that will actually show up will be determined by: 1. Interest in the topic 2. What respondents will receive for participating • Random sampling will result in a volunteer focus group which makes this method a qualitative research method Focus groups should have between 5 and 12 members and preferably never more than 15 • Conducting the Focus Group • The room should be comfortable and not have potential distractions such as windows with views to an airport ▯3 • Only first names should be used to help maintain confidentiality, if a 2 way mirror is being used participants should be notified • Steps for conducting focus group: 1. Moderator uses scripted introduction 2. Moderator uses icebreaking question to allow participants to share experience and get their names and have their voices recorded 3. Transitional or key question 4. 5 minute break 1 hour into session • 2 problems moderators face in focus groups: 1. Non-participants 2. Overly communicative/dominant participant Analyzing the Data • Analysis occurs in the 3 phases: 1. Moderator and research discuss what the moderator felt was the outcome (these review sessions should be taped) 2. Tapes are played and transcribed if necessary 3. Discussion are systematically analyzed and a 3-5 page summary of each focus group is written and used in the final analyses, anonymity is given to all participants Focus groups have 2 limitations: • 1. You cannot generalize from them to larger groups or publics or audience 2. They are dependent on the skill of the moderator and their ability to work with the participants • The data gathered in focus groups are important in understanding why and how well things are perceived, since in-depth interviews are so expensive; focus groups are being used with greater frequency in public relations research Participant-Observation • Participant-observation is the ultimate qualitative method that is seldom used in PR research • Least controlled, most expensive, time consuming and least insightful method but allows you to get to know the publics being studied Participant-observation helps answer questions of definition, value, and policy when • approached systematically • Advantages of this method are that is provides you with an understanding of how people behave in their day-to-day activities, provides you with an understanding of how people perceive the organizational roles, rules and routines when approached systematically • The main disadvantage of participant-observation is that it is costly and takes too much time to approach • PR will employ this method internally and when working with long-term clients Conducting Participant-Observation • Conducting a formal, systematic participant-observation study requires that you: 1. Understand the expected rules, roles and routines for your environment 2. Participant in the daily activities of those you are observing and take notes 3. Compare the observations noted to those expectations • Rules are written and unwritten behaviours that are expected on the job (ex. dress codes), sales set forth the norms of conduct ▯4 • Roles are formal and informal; formal rules (ex. rank and duties) are assigned and informal roles are assigned by or taken by others (ex. cheerleaders and quarterback), formal and informal roles make compliment or contradict each other • Routines are the typical things that are done, they reflect the interaction of rules and roles (ex. having lunch in the coffee room at 3PM everyday) • The participant-observer engages in conversations and observations daily, observing, remembering their observations and later record them on a timely basis unfailingly • An analysis of this data would look for interactions that indicate subtle changes in roles, routines and rule breaking • Typical observations may point to potential intervention strategies and serve to drive tactical public relations strategies • *The participant-observation method provides true environmental scanning or monitoring data; it requires communicative interaction and a keen eye for subtle changes • *What was observed may lead you to conduct in-depth interviews or focus groups or pursue a formal research method, such as surveys or polls CHAPTER 10: SAMPLING MESSAGESAND PEOPLE Quantitative Research Methodology • One of the major differences between quantitative and qualitative methodology is quantitative methodology’s ability to generalize to a larger population • This is particularly true with survey and poll methods where we draw representative samples from larger populations and then attempt to generalize results back to the larger population • Some quantitative methodologies permit one to generalize findings because of the way the methodologies select research participants or materials • Sampling is the science of systematically drawing a valid group of objects from a population reliably • 3 different ways of collecting respondents or content: 1. Conduct a census of the population 2. Conduct a non probability sampling of the population (can’t generalize because the sample is not randomly selected but is relied upon population members available) 3. Conduct a probability sampling of the population (can generalize because it is within an agreeable degree of error randomly sampled from the population) Sampling • Public relations research often includes survey and polling methods for gathering information about a public’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour or the message content to be studied • One problem with public relations research is the excessive amount of non-probability samples and the increased errors that come with them, this problem can be avoided by carefully planning needed research within a campaign or program • Scientific (probability) sampling occurs when the selected group of people or messages represents the entire population from which it is drawn and allows for generalization of the selected group to other members of the larger group • Nonscientific (convenience) sampling occurs when the selected group of the people/ messages doesn't represent the entire population of people/messages and allows for descriptions based on the people/messages actually studied (ex. interviewing only festival goers on the 1st day of the festival doesn't account for the other people attending the other 2 days of the festival) ▯5 • 4 elements to every type of sampling technique that define and establish the parameters of surveying: 1. Universe (general concept of who/what will be sampled) 2. Population (the message types/people being sampled) 3. Sampling frame (a list of all the messages/people to be surveyed) 4. Sample (consists of the actual messages or people chosen for actual inclusion in the research) • The completed sample consists of those messages selected and analyzed and the people who actually responded to the survey Errors Encountered in Sampling • 2 other sampling elements are: 1. Coverage error 2. Sampling error • Coverage error is the error produced in failing to have an up-to-date sampling frame from which to sample (ex. using an outdated contact list) • Sampling error is the error produced when you don't sample from all the members of the sampling frame, it occurs when messages/people are inadvertently selected from a subset of the population Sampling error can be estimated but only for samples selected through scientific probability • sampling • Measurement error is the error found when people misunderstand/incorrectly respond to questions and can be statistically estimated and taken into account Reducing Coverage Errors • Coverage errors are often unseen and unprofitable and are a result of poor/incomplete documentary/historical research, they also result in problems with sampling frame and an insufficient of messages and/or people Dillman suggests that any sampling procedure should include a coverage analysis of potential • sample frames • The primary coverage error problem lies in incomplete/out of date sample lists ▯6 • Dillman suggest that 4 questions be answered when conducting a coverage analysis: 1. Does the list contain everyone in the population? 2. Does the list include names of people who are not in the study population? 3. How is the list maintained and updated? 4. Does the list contain other information that can be used to improve the sampling? • A major problem occurs when you must sample from a population for which there is no sampling frame listing available; this generally occurs when you sample from the general population and not one that is defined by some association, company, or directory (ex. 25% of a phone directory may contain unpublished numbers Reducing Sampling and Measurement Errors • Sampling errors occur when the sample drawn from a population does not accurately reflect that population; these errors are generally reduced through probability sampling and can be estimated by statistically determining how large a sample needs to be to result in “acceptable” sampling and measurement error • Anymore than 5% of people miss-sampled is a sampling error and the quantitative results of the population will be no more than 5% of what we would expect to find in the population (no more than 5% measurement error) Sampling Types • Census: Occurs when you contact every member of a population, in census the universe, population, sampling frame and sample are all the same; census has no error - you have missed no one • To overcome potential census problems, public relations researchers can turn to ways of sampling that take into account possible bias from the outset or allow us to estimate how much error we either have or must be willing to tolerate; non-probability sampling is the best for estimating the amount of error that will be accepted or has been obtained Non-probability Sampling • Non-probability sampling is conducted when you do not have access to every unit in a population of people or messages When non-probability sampling is employed, you are restricted to saying, “based on what or • whom we sampled, their responses were this” • You cannot generalize to the larger population, only to the sample you observed. It’s not that non-probability samples are unrepresentative of the population but the problem is that we will never know just how representative they are • Used web dealing with children, conducting participant-observation or when your access to materials is limited ▯7 Probability Sampling • Probability sampling occurs when every individual/messages in a particular population has an equal change of being selected for the sample, regardless of any particular biases held by a researcher • The key to probability sampling is found in the random selection of potential messages or participants • Public relations researchers employ four different sampling strategies when they sample from a population: 1. Cross-sectional sampling: a single sample is randomly drawn from the pop. under study 2. Trend sampling: sampling different people from the pop. over time 3. Panel sampling: randomly selecting a sample from the population and then follow its members over time 4. Cohort sampling: sampling different people over time but only those people who meet certain characteristics • Probability sampling, regardless of what strategy you choose, allows you to generalize to the population it was drawn from within certain degree of error • The single determiner of how much certainty you have regarding sample confidence and measurement error is sample size (the number of people selected who actually completed the research) Normal Curve • The normal curve is a statistical tool that tells us what confidence we can have in our sampling and the accuracy of our measurement (in terms of the percentage of units selected at random from a larger population) based on the true population percentage • With enough samples from a population the sample’s distribution is said to be “normal” and equally distributed • The distribution of samples becomes more evenly dispersed or distributed and less skewed • The average for all the sampling will begin to estimate the true population characteristic as it is a statistical law that can be used in determining sample size • Babbie suggests that we should establish 95% as our confidence interval for sampling because we want to be no more than 5% wrong when inferring to a population and the fact that a 95% confidence interval happens to be about ±2 standard deviation from the population characteristic in each direction Sampling Error • Factors that determine correct sample size are: a. Budgetary considerations (the bigger the more costly) b. Time constraints c. Resource constraints d. Prior research may contain clues to how large the sample size should be e. The precision and accuracy are determined by the stage of research or importance to the overall campaign or program • When we say we are willing to accept or tolerate so much error in sampling, we are saying that we expect no more than that amount of error (ex. when we set a 95% confidence interval, we are saying that no more than five units people or messages will be miss-sampled; there may be fewer, but no more than five miss-samples) ▯8 Measurement Error • Measurement error represents the amount of random error found in any measure and may be due to failure to understand directions, failure to complete a measure, poorly written or asked questions, etc. • With sampling confidence you can establish how much accuracy at a minimum you are willing to accept/tolerate • The normal standard is 95% confidence in measurement, or accepting no more than 5% random measurement error • As you reduce each source of error, however, you increase the number of units required to be sampled from a population Calculating Sample Size • Sampling assumes 2 thing: 1. We want to be extremely conservative in estimating error 2. We are looking at the entire population not some subset of it Q = population size C = sampling confidence required E = measurement error allowed p = expected outcome Simple Random Sampling • Easiest way to sample from a population, you must have identified alan population member then each unit is selected from drawing it from the population pool • The bucket se
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