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POL2156 Midterm: 1st Midterm Review

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Political Science
Stephanie Mullen

Lecture 1: Ethics Objectives 1. Understand the ethical considerations for social science research 2. Understand the elements that must be included in an informed consent form 3. Understand the key professional ethical consideration in each step of a research project Threats - intrudes the private sphere - delves into deeply personal experiences - concerned with deviance and social control - impinges on the exercise of coercion or domination Risk to the Researcher - Physical safety - Legal action (referring cases to the ethics board) - Stigma associated with unpopular topics 3 Ethic Pillars 1) Confidentiality and anonymity a) Information about participants must remain confidential and be kept a secret b) Participants remain anonymous or nameless in reports 2) Informed Consent a) What is the nature of the research? b) What activities will the participants have to be involved in? c) Provide contact information to your office and the ethics board d) Any risks to which participants might be exposed to e) State that participation is voluntary f) Right to withdraw g) Guarantee that all information will remain confidential and anonymous h) Place for the participant to sign and date signifying their agreement to participate 3) Right to Withdraw Ethical Considerations - Only ask what you need to ask - Restrict oneself to questions that can be justified by the theoretical underpinnings of the study - Most ethical issues arise before data analysis begins, or after it has been completed - Do not change the wording of open ended questions - Do not change phrases in an interview - Interviewees can review their quotes but not change the essence of their response Lecture 2: Theories and Paradigms Objectives 1. Know how theories influence research 2. Learn how the person and fields an influence theory 3. Know how theories can influence every step of research Classical Paradigms - Paradigms are fundamental models or frames of reference we use to organize our observations and reasoning. - Each makes assumptions about the nature of social reality - Each suggest different kinds of theories and inspire different kinds of research Paradigms - Early positivism - Associated with quantitative research - Society is a phenomenon that can be studied scientifically - Society can be observed and then explained logically and rationally - Conflict Paradigms - Marxism (class conflict) - Socialism (gender, class, ethnic struggles, etc.) - Social behaviour was seen as the process of conflict Influence of Paradigms - Changes based on the research method you choose - Quant or qual? - How to define variables - Personal variables - Political Party: depending on what party you are working with you may see certain issues through a particular lense. - Factional by Issue: researching a particular issue (ex. Gun control), you will probably have your own opinion - Country differences: developing countries, etc. - Power Relations: researching first nations communities, etc. Lecture 3: Qualitative vs. Quantitative Objectives 1. Understanding the steps of research design 2. Understanding how quantitative and qualitative research differs by each step in research design 3. Understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative research Research Design - Provides the glue that holds the research process together - Shows how all components contribute to coming up with the final conclusion - Steps: 1) Identify the Problem a) Exploratory Research: what questions fall into this category of research? a.i) Qualitative b) Descriptive Research: who, where, when, and how b.i) Quantitative: survey b.ii) Qualitative: observation c) Explanatory Research: why research questions c.i) Questions about causality = quantitative 2) Hypothesize the cause of the problem a) What is the purpose? b) Quantitative = to explain and predict, to confirm and validate, to test theory c) Qualitative = to describe and explain, to explore and interpret, to build theory 3) Provide clear definitions of the concepts (variables) 4) Operationalize the concepts (indicators)
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