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Margaret Gassanov;

SOC200- Last Lecture- Unobtrusive Data Collection Unobtrusive Observation/ Trace Data Why Use Unobtrusive Data Collection? - Can be quantitative or qualitative. - Can be exploratory, descriptive or explanatory - To avoid affecting the phenomenon being studied - Recall the dreaded Hawthorne effect o When the people being studied are aware of this and act differently - Unobtrusive Measures = ways of studying social behaviour without affecting it in the process. (observation without interference) - Unobtrusive observation/trace observation or content analysis - To conduct research with limited resources - Surveys, interviews, and ethnography take a lot of time to plan and sometimes money to complete other kinds of data collection require human subjects review. Some kinds of unobtrusive data collection do not. - Secondary data analysis and Depending on the exact research design possible: content analysis, trace analysis Some questions can’t be answered by survey, interview, experiment or ethnography - Things are over. People are dead. o Thus you can’t really ask questions to further your research you may only work with what you have. - Historical and comparative research Because you can’t collect data the data you need to figure out what data you will collect and what it means - Choosing a research setting - Describing research setting - Understanding findings - Secondary data analysis Why Use Unobtrusive Data Collection Because you can’t collect data the data you need to figure out what data you will collect and what it means - Choosing a research setting - Describing research setting - Understanding findings - Secondary data analysis Unobtrusive Observation/Trace Data - Trace data = indicators left behind by the concept/behaviour of interest (kind of like evidence) - E.g.Garbage contains traces of drinking - behaviour, recycling behaviour, dietary patterns - e.g. Carpet wear or dirt is an indicator of popularity of a museum or store exhibit HOWEVER, trace data can be flawed because there are many variables which could affect the evidence you’re examining. Ex. You are examining someone’s drinking patterns and you see a bottle of wine in their recycling, is this because they drank it themselves or had company, it sat around, and eventually they threw it out. Trace Data To conduct this kind of research: 1. Conceptualize a construct 2. Define the construct operationally: How the researcher systematically notes and records observations 3. Rule out reasons for the observation other than the construct of interest. Unobtrusive Observation/Trace Data 1. Interest in a museum exhibit: Number of people who view an exhibit and the time they spend there. 2. Operationalization: Size and wear‐level of worn spot on the carpet. - Example at the ROM, look at the carpet and judge how warn out it is. Assign it an operationalization number. 3. Rule out other explanations: Was some carpet and not other carpet changed recently? Do exhibits differ dramatically in size? - These problems must be considered to evaluate other reasons for this evidence rather than acknowledging only the facts which support your research. Content Analysis - Uses objective and systematic recording procedures to produce a description of the symbolic content in a text o Study of recorded human communications (written, tape recorded, etc.) o Does not require you to talk to anyone - A researcher can use this to compare content across many texts o One set of data can be applied to multiple research questions. BUT you must be cautious of what research the data was originally used for as it may have resulted in skewed results that must be taken into account. - Can be qualitative or quantitative o See how people perceive something (ex. such as religion) Content analysis and sampling - Content analysis is useful for dealing with large amounts of text→ Use sampling… - Make use of any conventional sampling technique: random, systematic, stratified… - What is your unit of analysis/observation?... - Select the population to be sampled from and design your sampling frame o E.g. whichTV stations, what time period? Quantitative Coding Coding: transforming raw data into a standardized form… - Coding system: A set of instructions or rules for how to systematically convert the symbolic content from the text into data ƒ Characteristics of text that can be coded: 1. Frequency – How often does it occur? 2. Direction – The direction of messages along some continuum (e.g. positive/negative) - essentially is it being said with a negative or positive connotation. 3. Intensity – The strength or power of a message 4. Space – The amount of space allocated to a message An example of this is any time in a speech they say ‘god’ or ‘creator’. You can code this to determine the amount of religious content in the speech. HOWEVER, coding can have its faults in this as you must account for the context the word is being used in, is it being used as an expression (example: someone says “Oh God you believe that?”- this is not actually pertaining to religion however coding would still count this as religious content. This pertains to the ‘intensity’ portion) Manifest and Latent Coding Manifest Coding - Coding the visible, surface content of a communication - E.g. counting the number of times the words love, kiss and hug appear in movies to determine how romantic they are… This concept is strictly quantitative because it is counting the number of times something is present without acknowledging content. This can miss things. This has reliability. Latent Coding - Coding the underlying, implicit meaning of a communication - E.g. making an overall assessment of how romantic a movie is in comparison to others… Latent coding is when you’re forced to figure out what it actually means and what is implied. You cannot just number things you must now look at the context it is used in. This concept lacks in reliability but makes up for it with validity. Reliability versus validity o Manifest coding will be lower on validity o Latent coding will be stronger on validity and weaker on reliability o Best to use both whenever possible Manifest & Latent Codes What Codes do you use? Relating to news broadcasts.. Manifest Coding would be used when analysing: - Type of crime - Stage of crime - Length of story Latent Coding would be used when analysing: - Reporting of the crime motive - The amount of emotion used in the broadcast o Was it reported coldly? Or with feeling? - Police response to the crime Latent coding is useful here because you cannot manifest code sympathy. There is no set numerical value which can be given to sympathy in every case. Qualitative coding (Indexing) - Data can also be analyzed qualitatively - Use indexing s
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