Chapter 2 – Development of human sexuality.docx

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University of Guelph
Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 2100
Cindy Clarke

Chapter 2 – Research Methods Empirical: derived or based on observation and experimentation The scientific method is a systematic way of gathering scientific evidence and testing assumptions through research. It has a number of elements: 1. Formulating a research question 2. Framing the research question Hypothesis: a precise prediction about behaviour that is often derived from theory and is tested through research 3. Testing the hypothesis 4. Drawing conclusions Goals of the Scientific of Human Sexuality  Describe, explain, predict, and control the events  Descriptions is a basic objective of science. To understand sexual behaviour, for example, we must first be able to describe it. Therefore, the description of behaviour precedes understanding.  Researchers attempt to relate their observations to other factors, or variables, that can help explain them. Variables: quantities or qualities that vary or may vary  Researchers may attempt to explain varaitions in the frequency of coitus by relating or correlating, coitus with demographic variables Demographic: concerning the vital statistics (density, rac, age, etc) of human population  Theories provide framewokrs within which scientists can explain what they observe and can make predictions  Sex researchers study factors that may predict various types of sexual behaviour  Furnishes information that people may use to help themselves or others make decisions about their own behaviour Populations and Samples: Representing the World of Diversity Population: a complete group of organisms or events  Focus on specific population groups (populations of interest or target populations Sample: part of a population  Representative sample – a research sample of participants who accurately represent the population of interest Generalize: to go from the particular to the general Sampling Methods Random Sample: a sample in which every member of a population has an equal chance of participating Stratified Random Sample: a random sample in which known subgroups in a population are represented in proportion to their numbers in the population  Another problem is that sexual research is almost invariably conducted with people who volunteer to participate  Volunteers may differ from people who refuse to participate Volunteer Bias: a slanting of research data that is caused by the characteristics of individuals who volunteer to participate, such as willingness to discuss intimate behaviour Methods of Observation Case Study: a carefully drawn, in-depth biography of an individual or a small group of individuals that may be obtained through interviews, questionnaires, and historical records  Not as rigorous a research design as an experiment  People often have gaps in memory, especially concerning childhood events  Potential for observer bias  Clinicians and interviewers may unintentionally guide people into saying what they expect to hear Survey Method: Questionnaire Vs. Interviews Surveys: a detailed study of a sample obtained by means such as interviews and questionnaires  Advantages of allowing face-toface contact ang giving the interviewer the opportunity to probe – to follow up on answers that seem to lead toward useful information  A skilled interviewer may be able to set a respondent at ease and establish a sense of trust or rapport that encourages self-disclosure  Questionnaires can be administered to many people at once, and respondents can return them unsigned (Anonymitity may encourage respondents to disclose intimate information)  Used only by people who cannot read and record their responses  Interviews can be used even with people who cannot read or write  None fully represents the Canadian population at large  Most people consider their sexuality to be among the most intimate, private aspects of their lives  Surveys are being conducted onling through the internet  Research participants were more likely to fully complete an online survey than an equivalent traditional paper-and-pencil survey Kinsey Reports Alfred Kinsey interviewed 5300 males and 5940 females in the US between 1938 and 1949,  Asked a wide array of questions on various types of sexual experiences, including masturbation, oral sex, and coitus that occurred before, during, and outside of marriage  Did not represent the general population  People of colour, people in rural areas, older people, the oor, and Catholic and Jews were all underrepresented in his samples  Staticians concluded that there were systematic biases in his sampling methods but that it would have been impossible to obtain a true probability sample from the general population  His estimate that 37% of the male population had reached orgasm at least once through male-male sexual activity was probably too high  To reduce the tendency to slant responses in a socially desirablr direction, participants were reassured that the interviewers were not passing judgement on them  Interviewers were trained not to show emotional reactions that the people they interviewed could interpret as signs of disapproval Reliability: the consistency or accuracy of a measure Incidence: a measure of the occurrence or the degree of occurrence of an event Validity: with respect to tests, the degree to which a particular test measures the constructs or traits that it purports to measure The NHSLS Study  National Health and Social Life Survey of Americans was intended to provide general
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