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GGR271H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Inductivism, Antipositivism, Blind Experiment

Course Code
Matti Siemiatycki
Study Guide

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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?)

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-independent variable (occurs first) affecting -> dependent variable (cause of
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
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.
- Natural science methods of social
research (chemist/physicist)
-Value free
-Theory generates hypotheses
-basis for the formulation of laws that
EXPLAIN human behavior
-distinction between science and
normative statements
-Knowledge is local and subject to
-Multiple truths and voices
-seek to UNDERSTAND human behavior
-cannot separate the researcher from the
-Research should be action oriented
Two Ontological Positions
-Ontology is the study of how we exist, two contrary forms of ontology.
-Social phenomena have an existence
independent of social actors or their
-Social phenomena exist beyond the
reach of individuals
-(eg. Organizations have rules and
regulations that possess an external
-Pre-existing, to be discovered
-Social phenomena and their meaning
produced through interactions (No pre-
existing order)
-Researcher presents only one reality of
the world
-social phenomena and their meanings
are continually being created by social
Positivism Natural science methods of social research (same approach as a
chemist or physicist)

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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
-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
1. Examine underlying issues not
accessible through a survey
(some questions impossible to
2. Examine gap between state and
actual behaviour
1. Ethical Considerations
2. Inaccurate coding imposed on
human behavior
3. Not able to necessarily
understand intentions and
4. Small bits of data may obscure big
Primary and Secondary Data
Primary Data
-collected by investigator
-Can tailor data collected to research
-Ensure high quality, reliability and
-Time consuming and costly
-Obtrusive: Ethical considerations
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