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PS295
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Roger Buehler
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Chapter 5

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Psychology

PS295

Roger Buehler

Winter

Description

Research in Methods Chapter Five Summary
Descriptive Research
Descriptive research is to describe the characteristics or behaviours of a given population in a systematic
and accurate fashion. It is not designed to test hypotheses but rather is conducted to provide
information about the physical, social, behavioural, economic or psychological characteristics of some
group of people.
Types of Descriptive Research
Surveys – used in virtually every area of social and behavioural science
The goal is to provide a description of people’s behaviours, thoughts or feelings.
Are types or descriptive research that may utilize either questionnaire or interviews to collect
data
Panel survey design – a single group of respondents is questioned more than once
Problems arise when the same respondents cannot be reached for follow up sessions
Internet surveys – on a positive side they are less expensive; you do not have to print them and
mail them out, etc. The data will not be inputted improperly by the researcher because the
participants do it directly
On a negative side to internet surveys, the research has little control over the selection
It is difficult to identify who participated
Demographic Research – is concerned with describing patterns of basic life events and
experiences such as birth, marriage, divorce, employment, migration and death
Epidemiological Research –is used to study the occurrence of disease in different groups of
people
Survey, demographic and epidemiological research provides a picture of how larger groups of
people tend to think, feel, behave.
Sampling
Is the process by which a researcher selects a sample of participants for a study from the
population of interest
Probability Samples
A representative sample is one from which we can draw accurate, unbiased estimates of the
characteristics of the larger population. We can draw accurate inferences about the population
from data obtained from a sample only if it is representative
The Error of Estimation
- sampling error causes results obtained from the sample to differ from what would have been
obtained had the entire population been studied
- the error of estimation indicates the degree to which the data obtained from the sample are
expected to deviate from the population as a whole - by allowing researchers to estimate the sampling error in their data, probability samples
permit them to specify how confident they are that the results obtained on the sample permit
them to specify how confident they are that the results obtained on a sample accurately reflect
the behaviour of the population
- the smaller the error of estimation, the more closely the results from the sample estimate the
behaviour of the larger population
- error of estimation is a function of three things: (1) sample size (2) population size and (3)
variance of data
- the larger the probability sample the more similar to the population the sample tends to be
and more accurate
- economic sample – one that provides a reasonably accurate estimate of the population at
reasonable effort and cost.
- population size affects error estimation by how big it differs between two samples. For
example having one sample of 400 to another of 10 million….the error of estimation will be
lower when the population contains 400 cases than 10 million
- the greater the variability in data the more difficult it is to estimate accurately the population
values.
- probability sample a sample for which the researcher know the mathematical probability that
any individual in the population is included in the sample
-ESPEM stands for equal probability selection method
Simple Random Sampling
- when a sample is chosen in such a way that every possible sample of the desired size has the
same chance of being selected from the population
- sampling frame is a list of the population from which the sample will be drawn
- table of random numbers
Stratified Random Sampling
- is a variation of simple random sampling; rather than selecting cases directly from the
population, we divide the population into two or more strata
- a statrum is a subset from the population that shares a particular characteristic
- stratification ensures that researchers have adequate numbers of participants from each
stratum so that they can examine differences in responses among the various strata
- researchers use a proportionate sampling method in which cases are sampled from each
stratum in proportion to their prevalence in the population
Cluster Sampling
- to obtain this sampling researchers first samples not participants but rather groupings or
clusters of participants
- then after selecting the groups we could get lists of participants and obtain random sample of
students…
- sometimes involves multistage sampling which is

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