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Non-Experimental Research Part 1:
Observational, Archival, and Case-Study Research
- Non-experimental research differs from experimental research in:
- degree of control
- manipulation vs observation
- Must forfeit some control in order to obtain data
- Qualitative research: non-experimental research that asks questions regarding how
people make meaning on the world
- Correlational research: non-experimental research that measures two or more vari-
ables to determine the degree of relationship between them
- most research is correlational to some degree
- Correlation does not prove causation
- Observational research: study method in which the researcher observes and records
ongoing behavior but does not attempt to change it
- Archival research: study method that examines existing records to obtain data and test
- disadvantage: limited to questions asked by previous researcher, and subject to bias-
es presented previously
- Case study: exploratory study of an existing situation as a means of creating and test-
ing a hypothesis
- Survey: assessing public opinion or individual characteristics by the use of question-
naire and sampling methods
- Hermeneutics: the principles of interpretation of a text’s meanings
- focuses on meaning as opposed to causation. What does this mean, not why
- Naturalistic observation: subject’s behavior is disturbed as little as possible in order to
obtain accurate data
- Unobtrusive research: researchers do not intrude on the behavior being studied
- Non-reactive research: emphasizes that subjects do not know they are being studied
- Physical trace: unobtrusive measure of behavior that uses physical evidence
- Laboratory observation: a type of observation that occurs in the laboratory rather than
in the field
- Participant-observer research: observational research in which the observer partici-
pates in a group in order to observe behavior
- Problems in participant-observer research:
- by entering the group, observer changes it to some extent
- ethical concern of invasion of privacy
- Archival data: factual information in existing records
- one challenge is finding specific articles that have relevance to your topic, and once
they are found, preparation is vital before visiting archive
- Narrative case study: a viewpoint expressed by telling and listening to stories that com-
municate meaning
Recording Methods in Non-experimental Research
- field notes
- be systematic [checklists, notebooks]
- be selective [limit sample]
- make use of recording devices
Content Analysis
- Manifest content: the content of a text or photograph as indicated by measuring the
frequency of some objective word, phrase or action
- problem with interpretation and operationalization of terms
- Latent content: the content of a text or photograph as measured by the appearance of
themes as interpreted by the researcher
- subjective
- Use at least 2 coders to improve reliability
- Method: broad term, including logic of design and steps to carry it out
- Procedure: what researcher does to translate design into action
- Protocol: list of all the steps that a subject goes through in a study
- Pilot study: tentative, small-scale study done to pretest and modify study design and