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Social Research: Part 1 The Scientific Method
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Social Research: Part 1 The Scientific Method

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Social Research: Part 1 The Scientific Method Social Research: Part 1 The Scientific Method Presentation Transcript

  • Social Research
    Part I: The Scientific Method
  • Why Research?
    Earl Babbie
    Assumption that the majority of people on welfare stay on welfare for life and pass it on to the next generation
    Social research proves otherwise
  • Social Research
    Empirical methods
    Focus on observable phenomena
    Others should be able to observe the same phenomena and check observations for accuracy
    Methodology
    The rules and guidelines followed in research
    View slide
  • The Scientific Method
    Procedure that involves systematically formulating problems, devising and testing hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data
    Logical design process
    View slide
  • The Scientific Method
    Define the problem
    Review the literature
    Form hypothesis
    Collect and analyze data
    Draw conclusions
    Repeat
  • Three Types of Research
    Exploratory
    Explore a new social phenomenon
    Answer the question of “what” and provides information for future research
    Goal is theory development
  • Three Types of Research
    Descriptive
    Describes social reality or provides facts about the social world
    Goal of providing data on social facts
    Requires a large amount of data that is usually analyzed statistically
  • Three Types of Research
    Explanatory/causal
    Explains why things do or do not happen
    Looks for causation
  • Step 1: Define the Problem
    Introduce your topic
    State the problem you have identified
    Discuss the purpose and objectives of the study
    Define the limitations of the study
  • Step 1: Define the Problem
    Introduce your topic
    Setting the stage
  • Step 1: Define the Problem
    Statement of the problem
    Articulate the problem under investigation and define the concepts being studied
    Concept – abstract system of meaning that enables us to perceive a phenomenon in a particular way
    Tools that allow us to share meaning
    Variables – thing of interest in a particular piece of research
  • Step 2: Review the Literature
    Avoid duplicating work
    Helps suggest ways of phrasing questions or focusing research in more interesting ways
    Primary and secondary sources
    Where you start to develop your theory
  • Step 3: Research Questions/Hypotheses
    Variables
    Things of interest in a particular piece of research
    Thought to be influenced by another thing
    Have varying attributes (characteristics or qualities that describe a thing)
    The more abstract and the further removed from direct observation, the harder it is to reach consensus on how to measure it
  • Step 3: Research Questions/Hypotheses
    Theoretical definition
    Ordinary meaning you intend to convey
    Operational definition
    Set of procedures by which you measure your concepts and collect your data
  • Step 3: Research Questions/Hypotheses
    To operationalize variables is to turn them into things that can be measured
    List the attributes of the variable so that you can measure their presence or absence
    Exhaustive and mutually exclusive
  • Step 3: Research Questions/Hypotheses
    Variables in Causal Research
    Independent – variable that is presumed to influence or affect other variables
    Dependent – variable that is presumed to be affected or influenced by the independent variable
  • Step 3: Research Questions/Hypotheses
    After we’ve identified the variables of interest, we posit a relationship between them
    Proposition
    Statement about the nature of some phenomenon
    Hypothesis
    Proposition that can be tested
    Can be true or false
  • Step 3: Research Questions/Hypotheses
    Milgram Experiment
    Research question
    What made so many German people comply with the killing of so many during WWII?
    Hypothesis
    Germans has a basic character flaw that makes them ready to obey authority without question, no matter what is asked of them
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Research perspective
    Type of research (exploratory, descriptive, causal)
    Research method (ethnography, survey, content analysis, etc.)
    Justification
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Content and access
    Describe the content of your research, where you will gather data from
    Describe how you will get access to this data
    Population
    An aggregate of all those who conform to a designated set of specifications
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Sampling
    Sample – portion of the population that will be studied to make inferences about the larger population
    How big your sample is depends on how diverse the population is
    Scientific and nonscientific
    Random sample – every member of the population has an equal chance of being in the study
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Random sampling
    Pure random sampling – random number chart
    Systematic sampling – specific pattern of selection is followed
    Stratified sampling – population is dividing into groups and then chosen at random from within these groups
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Nonscientific sampling
    Cannot be used to make projections to the whole population
    Convenience/accidental sampling
    Quota sampling – try to select people in proportions that they exist in population
    Purposive sampling
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Analyze data
    Objectivity – researcher’s biases and values should not affect analysis
    Generalizations – the extent to which findings can be applied beyond the sample
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Three types of Causal evidence
    Concomitant variation
    Correlation
    X relates to Y
    Time sequence
    X happens before Y
    Control for other factors
    Intervening variable – variables that come between and affect the relationship between the independent and dependent variables
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Causal relationships
    Direct relationship
    If you eat more, you weigh more.
    Inverse relationship
    If you exercise more, you weigh less.
  • Step 4: Collect & Analyze Data
    Verification of data
    Triangulation – uses multiple data collection methods to gather data
    Reliability – extent to which repeated observations of the same phenomenon would yield similar results
    Validity – extent to which observations actually yield measures of what they are supposed to measure
  • Step 5: Draw Conclusions
    Summarize findings
    Discuss the relation of your findings to your hypothesis
    Critique the research
  • Step 6: Repeat
    New questions always arise
  • The Scientific Method