GGR271 Midterm study .docx

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Matti Siemiatycki

GGR271 Mid-term study Why do research? -Understanding/Explaining the social world -systematic research IS different to opinion or journalism Quantitative Methods – those that seek to create generalizations about the social universe through numerical abstractions -deductive approach to the relationship between theory and research, theory testing is a prime objective Tends to be deductivist (hypothesis testing) and objectivist (assuming over-arching social reality) and incorporates a natural science model (one influenced by positivism – natural science) Qualitative Methods – a set of data-gathering techniques, means of analysis, and modes of thinking that shun the emphasis on quantification, a strict distinction between the observer and the observed, and overzealous generalization. Inquiry that uses mainly words, images, and other non-numerical symbols as data and involves little or no quantification Determines how individuals interpret the social world. Tends to be inductivist, (theory after data collection) constructivist and interpretivist (subjectively based) False Duality? – Much of social research uses both quantitative and qualitative. -Poles, not absolute categories Characteristics of ‘good quality’ research •Appropriateness of approach •Relevance – Does it matter whether we look at this or not? •Feasibility – Can it be done? •Accuracy –Will research produce true findings? •Objectivity – Will it be a fair and balanced picture? •Reliability – If we did it again would it still be the same? Would peoples answers be the same? (Replication – are others able to repeat all or parts of the study?) •Internal Validity – Accurate, Honest (is there confidence that the cause and effect relationships are indeed as represented in the research) (is the independent variable responsible for the dependent variable? Other causes?) -independent variable (occurs first) affecting -> dependent variable (cause of independent) •External Validity – Can this be applied to a wider setting? (do findings actually reflect that of a population/real world?) (is the research design or setting too artificial) Empiricism – School of thought Empirical – Collection of Data Two Epistemological Positions -Epistemology is the study about what we can know and how we can acquire that knowledge. Positivism Interpretivism -(TYPICALLY QUANTITATIVE) (TYPICALLY QUALITATIVE) -Natural science methods of social -Knowledge is local and subject to research (chemist/physicist) change -SCIENCE -SOCIAL SIENCE -Value free -Multiple truths and voices -Theory generates hypotheses -seek to UNDERSTAND human behavior -cannot separate the researcher from the -basis for the formulation of laws that researched EXPLAIN human behavior -distinction between science and -Research should be action oriented normative statements Two Ontological Positions -Ontology is the study of how we exist, two contrary forms of ontology. Objectivism Constructivism -(TYPICALLY QUANTITATIVE) (TYPICALLY QUALITATIVE) -Social phenomena have an existence -Social phenomena and their meaning independent of social actors or their produced through interactions (No pre- perceptions. existing order) -Social phenomena exist beyond the -Researcher presents only one reality of reach of individuals the world -(eg. Organizations have rules and -social phenomena and their meanings regulations that possess an external are continually being created by social reality) actors -Pre-existing, to be discovered Positivism – Natural science methods of social research (same approach as a chemist or physicist) Value-free External reality which is perceived uniformly Theory is use prior to research – DEDUCTIVE Data and observations are used to produce laws Interpretivism – Knowledge is local and contingent Multiple truths and voices Interpretation and meanings of the world Viewed by actors is most important aspect of social reality There is no world outside the language and concepts we use to describe it Qualitative Methods -Interviews -Focus groups -Case studies -Ethnography/digital enthography Explore ways to carry out high quality research Structured (Systematic) Observation: Strength and Weaknesses A research method in which the researchers follow explicitly formulated rules regarding not only what they should look for, but also when and where and how they should record what they have observed Strengths Weaknesses 1. Examine underlying issues not 1. Ethical Considerations accessible through a survey 2. Inaccurate coding imposed on (some questions impossible to human behavior ask/answer) 3. Not able to necessarily 2. Examine gap between state and understand intentions and actual behaviour motivations 4. Small bits of data may obscure big picture Primary and Secondary Data Primary Data -collected by investigator Advantages Disadvantages -Can tailor data collected to research -Time consuming and costly questions -Obtrusive: Ethical considerations -Ensure high quality, reliability and consistency Secondary Data -Data collected and processed by sources other than the researcher -Have not been produced specifically for the purpose of social research -Preserved so that they may become available for analysis (government documents, stats in corporate documents, views in media reports web pages etc.) Advantages Disadvantages -Enables research into topics difficult to-No control over data quality or access by primary research variables -Unobtrusive method – lower change of -Authenticity harm -Large data sets often difficult to become -lower time and cost, more data analysis familiar with -high quality dataset -absence of key variables, difficult to fill in blanks Criteria for assessing evidence quality •Authenticity: is evidence genuine •Credibility: free from error or distortion •Representativeness: is evidence typical of its kind, if not, is the extent of its uniqueness known •Meaning: Is evidence clear and comprehensible Academic vs Popular Sources (pretty self explanatory) Peer review process – double blind peer review (reviewer does not know author and vice versa) Hierarchy of Source Quality (1. Being lowest) 1. Opinion (newspaper editorials, magazines etc.) 2. Factual articles in popular magazines/newspaper 3. Expert Reports (government commissioned, NGO, interest group etc. 4. Non Peer Reviewed Journals 5. Double blind, Peer reviewed Journals (does not mean everyone agrees) Basic Research vs Applied Research Basic Applied -Research for the development of -Research done to answer a question for knowledge the benefit of an institution, individual, -Theory development or movement. Research Design: Provides a framework for the collection and analysis of data -express causal relations -show interconnections over time -understand behavior within given social contexts -infer from small samples to large population Research Method: A technique for collecting data. -Many techniques available (eg. In-depth interviews; survey focus group; etc) Research Designs 1. Experimental Design – Two groups are established and compared before and after an event/intervention. (Experiment group and control group) (Ethical issues – potentially dangerous/withhold cure) 2. Cross Sectional Surveys – The collection of data on more than one case at a single point in time in order to produce a body of data that facilitates comparison and examinations for associations. More than one case, Single Point in time, Data to facilitate comparison
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