POL322: Assignment #1 (15%)
Evaluation of Research Methods
Due October 15 , 2012 at the beginning of class
For this assignment students are to choose one of three sets of readings. Each set consists of two
readings on a similar topic, yet using different research methods. Your task is to describe,
compare and evaluate the methods used. While you are free to do the write-up in a style of your
choosing , below is a framework that may be of use:
-Introduce topic under investigation
-How do the articles differ in their focus?
-Introduce research hypotheses, including DV and main IVs
B. Description of the Research Methods
-Describe methods used
-What are the strengths of each study’s methods?
-What are some weaknesses of each study’s methods?
-Do the articles complement each other or speak past each other?
-Which article is more convincing methodologically for the topic and why?
-How would you attempt to alleviate/minimize weaknesses of the studies?
-What research method might you offer to address the topic at hand?
Along the way, you may want to address the following questions for the methods used:
1. What kind of experimental design was used? Explain the set up of the study.
2. What alternative explanations might the study be susceptible to? Explain.
3. What is more convincing: demonstration or generalization?
4. What sample was used? Sample size? Who are they generalizing to?
5. What was the question wording of the DV? How well does it match the conceptual idea
6. What type of administration of the survey was applied? What problems does it raise?
7. What topic is the focus: Who? To whom? How? With what effect? Or, why? Explain.
8. What level of content is being measured: Manifest or latent?
9. What quantitative approach was adopted in undertaking the content analysis?
Broader things to think about:
1. Identifying the designs used
2. Identifying the units of observ