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Chapter 2

Sociology 2206A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: External Validity, Cohort Study, Experiment

Course Code
SOC 2206A/B
Stacey Hallman

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- quantitative research often explain a phenomenon in terms of causes
and effects that are expressed in laws and principles
- nomothetic explanations have to satisfy three criteria of causation,
three conditions to satisfy in order to be plausible
a. correlation: the proposed cause and the proposed effect have
to vary together
b. time order: the proposed cause must precede the effect in
c. non-spuriousness: alternative explanations for the correlation
observed have to be ruled out’ literally means illegitimate
- quantitative researchers choose research designs that help to satisfy
these three criteria
- qualitative researchers aim for different kinds of explanations
seek to produce rich description of a person or group based
on the perceptions and feelings of the people studied rather
than to discover general laws and principles
will choose a design that will produce idiographic explanations
- Quantitative researchers use cause and effects to explain principles
and laws
these laws are general and meant to be applied to people who
are not apart of the study as well
o called nomothetic approach
three criteria that needs to be satisfied in order
for explanation to be considered acceptable:
correlation: proposed cause and effect have
to vary with one another
time order: cause cannot precede the time
non-spurious: alternative explanations ruled
quantitative researchers choose
designs to satisfy these criteria’s
- Qualitative researchers seek to produce a rich description of a person
or group based on the perceptions and feelings of the people studied
rather than to discover general laws and principles
not meant to explain other situations for others
it simply helps explain
o called idiographic explanations

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these involve stories or description of people
studied based on empathic understanding
- variable is simply a characteristic or attribute that varies, such as
gender, income, fondness for mathematics, or athletic ability
three prominent criteria:
o Reliability
Quantitative concerned whether concepts are
If replicable it is reliable
o Replicability
o Validity
Concerned with integrity of the conclusions
generated by a piece of research
Construct Validity
Refers to whether a particular
indicator actually measures what it is
supposed to measure
Measurement validity is related to
reliability; if a measure of a concept is
unstable and hence unreliable
Internal Validity
Raises issue of how confident you can
be that the independent variable
really does have an impact on
dependent variable
External Validity
Qualitative tends to fill requirement
because it takes on natural stance
o Naturalism refers to style of
research that seeks to minimize
the use of artificial methods of
data collection
Concern that can results be
generalized for people beyond the
ones in the study
Some qualitative researcher agree it is inappropriate to apply
the concepts of reliability and validity to their research
o Lincoln and Guba recommended trustworthiness as a
criterion of how a good qualitative study is:
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