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SY 280 book notes 1-3.doc

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Linda Quirke

Book Notes Chapter 1 • Theory o An explanation of observed regularities or patterns o Components  Definitions • Specify key terms in theory  Description of phenomena  Relational statements • Connect 2 or more variables • Deterministic o 2 variables go together all of the time • Probabilistic o 2 variables go together with some degree of regularity o Middle Range  Limited in scope and tested directly by gathering empirical evidence o Grande Theory  General and abstract  Structural functionalism  Critical theory  Little use for research purposes • Induction o Iterative  Weaving back and forth between data and theory o Grounded theory  Deriving theories from qualitative data • Positivism o Generate hypothesis that can be tested o Intersubjectivity  Different researchers should reach the same conclusions given the same data o Distinction between scientific statements and normative statements • Interpretivism o Grasp the subjective meanings of peoples actions o Gain access to the common sense thinking of ppl to interpret their actions and social world from the actors point of view o Ex: symbolic Interactionism o People act based on meaning • Quantitative o Deductive approach o Positivism o Society is an external objective reality • Qualitative o Inductive o Interpretivist o Society constantly shifting and emergent property of individual creations • Values o Should be suppressed but can intrude at any or all points in the process of social research  Choice of research area  Forming hypothsis  Making research design  Data collevtion  Analysis  Conclusions  Interpretation • Ethics o Arise at every stage of research o Informed consent o Deception o Harm of participants o Invasion of privacy • Politics o Take sides  Feminists focus on women and their suffering o Funding  Private firms and govt depts.  May have vested interest in the research  May lead to research conclusions that favour the company that funded  Govt funded is usually empirical and quantitative, short term costs and benefits  Funding to benefit self o Access  Subject and organizations  Gatekeeper may influence investigation • What kind of q’s, subjects, amount of time spent with a subject, o Negotiation  The research bargain  Go through many people “gatekeepers” just to start o Publication of findings  Ex panel of academics had to confirm validity before article could be published  Publishers want it to conform to their views and ideology • Practical Issue o Choice of research orientation, design or method must match the specific research question • Choosing a research question o States the purpose of the study in the form of a question o Start broad and narrow down o Set boundaries for research Chapter 2: Research Designs • Quantitative o Explain phenomena in terms of causes and effects expressed in terms of general laws and principles that are fairly general, and are meant to apply to people who were not part of the study o Nomothetic approach • Qualitative o Seek rich description of a person or group although the description usually involves or implies proximate, specific causes that are not meatn to explain other situations or the behaviour of people who were not part of the research o Idiographic explanations • Data collection method o Self completion questionnaire o Structured interview o Participant observation • Reliability o Whether the same results would be received if a particular measurement technique were administed several times to the same research subject o Parallel dependability • Replicability o Whether others are able to repeat part or all of a study and get the same results o In order to do researcher must spell out all research procedures in great detail o Parallel confirmability • Vailidty o Intergrity of the conclusions generated by a piece of research o Measurement validity  Construct vailidity  Applies mainly to quantitative  Whether an indicator really measures what it is supposed to measure  Parallel credibility o Internal Validity  Relates to causality  Does the independent cause the dependent  Degree of confidence  Parallel credibility o External Validity  Whether a study’s findings are applicable to situations outside the research environment  Can he results be generalized beyond the peoples or cases analyzed  Parallel transferability • Research Designs o Experimental Design  Uncommon  experiments are the best way to establish causality  manipulation • independent variable to determine influence on dependent • How the control group eliminates rival explanations o History  Events that occurred other than the manipulation of the independent variable  History should have the same effect on the control subject and therefore the differences between the experimental and control groups can be attributed to the independent variable o Testing  Possibility that subjects may become more experienced at taking a test or sensitized to the aims of the experiment as a result of the pre test  The control group should experience the same thing o Instumentation  Possibility that changes in the way a test is administered can account for an increase or decrease in scores between a pre test and post test  All should be effected the same o Mortality  Problem of subjects leaving the exoeriment before it is over  Likely to affect control group as well o Maturation  People change over time o Selection  When subjects are not assigned by a random process to the experimental or control group variations between them in the post test may be due to pre testing differences  Since a random process is used the possibility is reduced  If the number of ppl is relatively small these is still a risk • Five major threats to external validity o Interaction of selection and treatment  To what social and psych groups can a finding be generalized  Wide variety of individuals? o Interaction of setting and treatment  Can the results of a study be applied to other settings o Interaction of history in treatment  Cant he findings be generalized to the past and into the future o Interaction effects on pre testing  Subjects may become sensitized to experimental treatment affecting their responses as they become more test wise o Reactive effects of experimental arrangements  People are often aware of the fact that they are participating in an experiment  Awareness may influence how they respond to the experimental treatment  May try to act proper, unnatural • Lab experiments o easier to randomly assign subjects to different experimental conditions in the lab than in real life o more easily replicated o external validity is low since it does not mimic real life situations o treatment effects may be unique to the people in the study; others may not react the same way o may be an interaction of selection and treatment • Quasi Experimental o Have certain characteristics of experimental design but do not fufill all the internal validity requirements o Natural experiments  Naturally occurring phenomena or changes brought about by people not doing research result in experiment life conditions  Researchers gather data in a manner similar to the way it is done in experiments  Usually impossible to randomly assign subjects to experimental and control groups, casting doubt on internal validity  Prominent in evaluation research studies • Logic of Comparison o Compares the results obtained from an experimental group with those of a control group o Permits a better understanding of the phenomena in question • Cross sectional design o Data collection  Structured observation  Analysis of official stats or diaries o Observations are taken at one point in time o No before and after comparison o Do not involve any manipulation of the independent variable o Collection of data on more than one case o Variation between different people, families, etc o Generally has a large sample population o Data is collected on 2 or more variables to detect patterns of association o Difficult to show cause and effect o Lack internal validity o Reliability  Relate to the quality of measures o Replicability  Characterizes most cross sectional research so long as the researcher spells out the procedures o I validity  Very weak o EV  Strong when the sample is random • Longitudinal o Cases are examined at a particular time and again at a later time or times, but with no manipulation of an independent variable like there is in experiments o insight into the time order of variables and is better able to deal with the problem of ambiguity about the direction of casual influences o can infer that the effects identified at T2 or later occurred after changes occurred in the independent variables o show cause and effect o Panel Study  The same people are studied on at least two different occasions o Cohort Study  People sharing the same experience  The same people may not be studied each time o Similar problems  sample attrition through death, moving on stc o panel conditioning  continued participation in a longitudinal study affects respondent behaviour • Case Study o Intensive analysis of one case o Can also use quantitative o The case is an object of interest in its own right o Goal of finding and revealing the features of the case o Types of Cases  Critical • Clear hypothesis • Case is chosen on ground it will lead to better understanding of the circumstances under which the hypothesis does or does not hold  Extreme • Common focus in clinical study • Unique case  Revelatory • Investigator has an opportunity to observe and analyse phenomenon previously inaccessible to scientific investigation • Previously unavailable evidence becomes accessible o Criticisms  Its findings cannot be generalized  Problems when comparing more than one case Chapter 3: The Nature of Quantitative Research • Main Steps o Theory o Hypothesis o Research design o Devise measures of concepts o Select research site o Select research subjects o Administer research instrument/ collect data o Process data o Analyze dta o Findings/conclusions o Write up findings/ conclusions –> back to theory • Concept o Ideas or mental
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