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Chapter 3

chapter 3-nature of Quantitative Research.docx

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Sociology 2206A/B
Stacey Hallman

THE MAIN STEPS IN QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH theory>hypothesis>research design>devise measures of concept>select research site>select research subjects>administer research instruments/collect data>process data>analyze data>findings/conclusions>conclusions operationalization: operations performed to measure a concept such as temperature or velocity  research is rarely linear  represents a useful starting point for coming to grips with the main facets of quantitative approach external validity: how the research relates to real life situations structured observation: involves watching the setting of interest and the people in it, and then recording types of behavior observed coding: basically categorizing open end questions CONCEPTS AND THEIR MEASUREMENT  Concepts are ideas or mental representations of things o Building blocks theories and represent points around which social research is conducted o May be used for comparative or descriptive purposes  Three main reasons for the attention given to measurement in quantitative research: o Measurement allows for delineation of fine differences between people in terms of the characteristics in questions o Measurement provides a consistent device or yardstick for gauging such distinctions o Measurement provides the basis for estimates of the nature and strength of the relationship between concepts INDICATORS nominal definition: describing something using words  To measure concept you have to have some sort of indicator that stand for or represent the concept  Indicator refers to a measure in the ordinary sense  Number of ways to devise indicators: o Through questions that are part if a structured interview schedule or self completion questionnaire o By developing criteria for classifying observed behavior o Through the use of official statistics o By developing classification schemes to analyze the content of written material  Problems in relying on just a single indicator: o A single indicator may misclassify some individuals if the wording of the question leads to misunderstanding of its meaning o A single broad general indicator may not capture all the meaning in the underlying concept o A more specific questi
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