SSH301 Final Exam Review

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Ryerson University
Social Sciences and Humanities
SSH 301
Patrizia Albanese

SSH301 – Social Research and Qualitative Methods FINAL EXAM REVIEW Lecture 6 - Unobtrusive Research - Studying social behaviour without affecting it - Does not involve direct contact with human subjects - Usually not requiring ethical approval/ethics review - Three examples  Secondary data analysis  Historical research  Content analysis Using Existing Data - Primary vs. secondary data o Primary data: data from original sources  Examples:  Eye witness accounts  Tape recordings/transcripts of interviews  (Your own) survey results  Original letters and other original documents  Your ads or commercials in content analysis o Secondary data: data gathered by government, private agencies or other researchers for their own purposes  Later made available for others to re-analyze for different purpose or research  Examples:  Stats Canada: NLSCY, Census, GSS - Aggregate vs. raw data o Individual level/raw data: data where information is available about each subject/case in the study (ungrouped, in raw form) o Ex. what did each person eat for breakfast, what score each student got on a test o Requires:  A code book: a document explaining the data  A data set: spreadsheet of responses - Aggregate/grouped data o Data that have been amassed into clusters o Percentages (%) or rates ( /1000, /100,000) o Ex. A summary of raw data > 30% of people didn't eat breakfast today Historical Research - Goal: o To reconstruct and understand people and events that happened in the past o To map and understand change over time o Trace social patterns and social forms o Mostly qualitative o No clear-cut steps to follow - Comparative case studies o Select cases; compare (similarities and differences) - Time series analysis o Map 2 or more variables graphically over time to see if patterns emerge Content Analysis - Content analysis: the analysis of text - Content: words, meanings, pictures, ideas, themes, or messages that are communicated - Text (& images) as subject o Anything written, visual, spoken, that serves as a medium of communication  Ex. books, newspaper & magazine articles, ads, speeches, films, lyrics, photos, art, national anthems, etc. o Involves, objective, systematic and transparent counting or recording (or textual coding)  Objective: not influenced by personal feelings  Systematic: involving a system, method or plan  Transparent: clear and obvious to others o Compare content (without bias) across texts, a systematic look for patterns in the messages - Content analysis involves: o Sampling (relatively large number of texts, not 1 or 2) o Operational definitions for abstract constructs (beautiful, thin, sexist, positive/negative) o Precise, objective measurement, coding (not superficial, impressionistic) - What is measured? o Words: use of specific words and frequency of use reveal emphasis, style and overplay or underplay  Use of emotive words  Look for word pairs o Subjects and themes (more interpretive): underlying messages, recurring themes and patterns o Value position: how it's write about (sympathetic or hostile) o How are things measured?  Frequency: how often (count)  Direction: does content move on continuum (positive to native, supportive to oppositional)  Intensity: strength or power on message  Space: size of text, word, images and placement (from, behind, corner, page #, end) - Manifest & latent content o Manifest: surface content (ex. count number of times, or lines, or colours, etc.) o Latent (or semantic analysis): underlying, implicit meaning (ex. sexual undertones, implied power differences) - Coding o Turning observations into measurable variables to reveal messages o Transforming raw data into standardized form o Create a coding system: a set of instructions or rules on how to systematically observe and record content in the text o ** Inter-coder reliability  Consistency across coders o Coding system has a coding schedule and coding manual  Coding schedule: findings table (a form onto which the data are entered)  Coding manual: instructions to coders containing all possible categories for each dimension (or variable) being coded  A guide on how to interpret what is seen  Requirements:  Clear unit of analysis  Clear interactions  Mutually exclusive  Exhaustive categories Lecture 7 - Qualitative Interviews and Focus Groups Qualitative Interviewing: - What is it? o A way to collect data from a relatively small number of people o A conversation with a purpose o A formalized conversation o Respondents have freedom to respond in their own words; as they please; in detail o You direct flow, but study participant has control too o YOU THEM 1) Is naturalistic and holistic and interactive - In everyday social settings (not a lab) 2) Respects humanity/wholeness of participants - "Their" story is important 3) Focuses on context and live experience - The situation; the circumstances 4) Is emergent/evolving and complex - Their stories develop your understanding 5) Is fundamentally interpretive - Look at/for deeper maiming 6) Increasingly critical (emancipatory) goals - Research for change 7) Often involves participants as researchers - Collaboration: participatory action research Variations 1) Unstructured - You bring a list of topics, not specific questions 2) Semi-structured - The most commonly used - You go in with a list of questions - Can change the order and insert questions - Sub-questions - Ex. Mistry's ethnography in gr. 11 - Helps keep it conversational but you have clear questions 3) Structured - Rigid protocol/interview schedule - Least conversational - Strictly follow sequence of questions Researcher must 1) Reflect on the research conducted - throughout the study 2) Be sensitive to own social identity & its impact on the study 3) Recognize knowledge is subjective - participants as knowers 4) Pat attention to HOW people are represented in the analysis (attention to THEIR voice) - Like a good talk show host Interview schedule/guide/protocol & steps - Interview guide/schedule - List of topics or questions 1) Brainstorm 2) Identify themes, issues concepts 3) Create topics or questions  Open-end questions (common in interviews) vs. close-ended questions (used most in surveys) 4) Place in sequence 5) Get feedback from "pros" and mom 6) Ethics review 7) Pre-test 8) Improve 9) Go to it… make improvements as you go, if allowed Open-ended; close-ended questions Interviewing and troubleshooting 1) Contact and appointment 2) Location: safety, comfort, privacy 3) Consent form 4) Equipment in good order (batteries/tapes) 5) In interview - Remember your purpose (be focused) - Be relaxed; affirmative; respectful - Demonstrate "aware hearing" (react appropriately) - Your appearance/dress (appropriate to situation) - Ask, guide, probe, but don't lead - 'Thank you' 6) Make field notes afterwards - Troubleshooting i. Probe vs. lead - Probe: a push for (non-directive elaboration - Lead: a directed response (avoid this) ii. Silent subjects - Probe, re-word, don't get impatient iii. Chatty subjects - Don’t cut them off - Steer them back to the topic Analysis of qualitative interviews - Transcribe interview and field notes - Look for patterns and trends - Look for exemplary quotes… while protecting identity Benefits/Strengths - Rich, in=depth info/data - Validity is high - can probe, etc. - Can clarify unclear responses as you go Weaknesses - Often non-probability sampling, so generalizability is low - Time consuming and very expensive - Low on reliability - can have different reactions and responses to different interviewers (male vs. female for example) Strength: validity, weakness, reliability, generalizability Focus Groups - What are they? - A group interview, typically under 10 people - Participants respond to interviewer AND to each other - How are they used? How do they work? - Used very often in market research and political research - Used in developing new programs - Used in evaluating programs and policies - Used for decision-making and negotiation research - Can be structured on unstructured - 1 to 2 hours in length - 1 to 2 moderators, to make sure no one participant dominates… moderator guides - Up to 10 relatively homogenous subjects - Audiotape and/or videotape for accuracy in analysis - Extra ethical concerns - You "promise" confidentiality to them - They must promise it to each other - Sign consent not to disclose infer of others - Strengths and weaknesses (reliability) - Empowers subjects (collective testimony; break silence) - Not as uncomfortable as one-on-one - Build on each other's responses - Relatively quick and cheap compared to interviews - Potentially not a natural setting (feels like a lab) - Dependent on research subjects - Challenges around reliability Lecture 8 - Field Research/Participation Observation You do it all the time! What is it? - On the spot recording of social life - Researcher goes to the people, in their natural setting - Focus on context - Is interpretive (read into; infer) - Researcher does not provoke reactions, rather seeks to observe "real life" Aims of Field Research - To discover and describe patterns of social life as they occur naturally - To understand a group member's own point of view (verstehen, in their shoes) - To get a more complete picture of a group's way of life - To describe and account for patterns on social interaction from the perspective of participants What’s studied: practices, episodes, encounters, and roles - Practices: norms (folkways > routines, mores) o Folkways: a practice, custom, or belief shared by the members of a group as part of their common culture o Mores: customs and conventions embodying the fundamental values of a community - Episodes: disruptions of daily routines - Encounters: who? How? Greetings? Space? - Roles: expectations, manifestation of power - Relationships: dyads? Triads? - Groups/lifestyles/subcultures: "in", "out", dress, symbols, language - Organizations: positions, interactions, communication, control - In all of the above, pay attention to o The spoken and unspoken (body language, etc.) o Explicit and tacit/implicit Structures and Unstructured observations - Structure observation (systematic observation) o Have explicit rules outlining what behaviour to b observed and recorded > each person will be studied the same way - Uses rigid observation schedule (with clear and coded questions) and coding sheet (method for recording - Less common - Unstructured observation - Record detailed narrati
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