Chapter 1 Social Research

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Chapter 1 Social Research

  1. 1. The Uses of Social Research Chapter 1
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Research question </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A question about one or more topics or concepts that can be answered through research </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Research question example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is almost everyone in the country married with children or are they living alone? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Start by looking at Census data </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction
  5. 5. Introduction <ul><li>Revised research question </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are more young people planning to marry without having children, to marry and have children, or to live alone? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Introduction <ul><li>STOP AND THINK </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you think of a better way of finding how young people plan to live in the future than with the Census data about the year 2006? </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Introduction <ul><li>Unit of analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The unit about which information is collected </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Introduction <ul><li>STOP AND THINK </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the units of analysis for each of the following studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Southgate and Roscigno’s (2009) study that found that involvement in music is associated academic performance for both young children and adolescents </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cooney and Burt’s (2008) finding that in American counties where a particular crime occurs frequently the average punishment for that crime will be less severe than in counties where it occurs rarely </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>Research is a way of knowing </li></ul><ul><li>How do we “know” things? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We collect data in a number of ways </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>Knowledge from authorities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Socially defined sources of knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mom, Census Bureau, social institutions (religion, schools, news media) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When we rely on physicians, clergy members, and elected officials for information, we are putting our faith in their knowledge in those positions of authority. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Inappropriate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Misleading </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Incorrect </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>Knowledge from personal inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inquiry that employs the senses’ evidence for arriving at knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If the flu has been going around and your friends and family have been ill and you begin to feel sick, observing them to see what they are doing to get better and what is working is an example of personal inquiry </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Overgeneralize </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perceive Selectively </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Premature Closure </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>The Scientific Method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A way of conducting empirical research following rules that specify objectivity, logic, and communication among a community of knowledge seekers, and the connection between research and theory </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>The Scientific Method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positivist view of science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A view that human knowledge must be based on what can be perceived </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The ability to see the world as it really is </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>The Scientific Method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Post-positivist view of science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A view that knowledge is not based on irrefutable observable grounds, that it is always somewhat speculative, but that science can provide relatively solid grounds for these speculations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intersubjectivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Agreements about reality that result from comparing the observations of more than one observer </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>The Scientific Method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The promotion of skepticism and intersubjectivity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The extensive use of communication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching ideas factually </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The use of logic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Theoretical explanation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>STOP AND THINK </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Suppose I submit a research report to a journal and the journal’s editor writes back that the journal won’t publish my findings because expert reviewers don’t find them persuasive. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which of the strengths of the scientific method is the editor relying on to make his or her judgment? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Research versus Other Ways of Knowing <ul><li>The Scientific Method </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An explanation about how and why something is as it is. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Uses of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research designed to add to our fundamental understanding and knowledge about the social world </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Uses of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applied research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research intended to be useful in the immediate future and to suggest action or increase effectiveness in some area </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Uses of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explanations about how and why people act in certain ways </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Purposes of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploratory research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ground-breaking research on a relatively unstudied topic or in a new area </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tends to be inductive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The researcher starts with observations about the subject and tries to develop tentative generalizations about it </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Purposes of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualitative data analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis that tends to involve the interpretation of actions or the representations of meanings in words </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Purposes of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Descriptive research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Descriptive study </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research designed to describe groups, activities, situations, or events </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Purposes of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quantitative data analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis based on the statistical summary of data </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Purposes of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explanatory research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research designed to explain why subjects vary in one way or another </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tends to be deductive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Often uses preexisting theories to decide what kinds of data should be collected </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Let’s say that there is a well-known theory that we can call “The General Attraction Theory” and that it suggests that people who are physically attractive get more of society’s rewards than less attractive people. If we have a hypothesis that people who are physically attractive are more likely to be hired for certain jobs than their less attractive peers and wanted to test this theory in a specific industry – we would be conducting explanatory research </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 26. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>Purposes of social research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research designed to assess the impacts of programs, policies, or legal changes </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 27. The Uses and Purposes of Social Research <ul><li>STOP AND THINK </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Suppose you’ve been asked to learn something about the new kinds of communities that have arisen out of people’s use of tweets and twitter. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Of the four kinds of research outlined above (exploratory, descriptive, explanatory, evaluation), what kind of study have you been asked to do? </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Summary <ul><li>Professional and practical benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of usable theories about our social world </li></ul><ul><li>Social research methods can help us explore, describe, and explain aspects of the social world, as well as evaluate whether particular programs or policies actually work. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Why are you in this class? <ul><li>Learn to be an informed consumer of research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A statistic by itself is only one piece of information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You have to be accountable for your work </li></ul><ul><li>You have ethical responsibilities </li></ul>

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