Social Research: Part II Types of ResearchPresentation Transcript
Social Research Part II: Methods
The Scientific Method Define the problem Review the literature Form hypothesis Collect and analyze data Draw conclusions Repeat
Types of Research Exploratory Explanatory Causal
Types of Research Quantitative Classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed Qualitative Determine the essential characteristics, properties, or processes of something or someone
Quantitative Research “There is no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0.” Fred Kerlinger
Quantitative Research Comes from Durkheim Natural science model Aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed To quantify is to count, to determine frequency, to measure amounts, or to state something in mathematical or statistical terms
Quantitative Research Researcher knows clearly in advance what they are looking for All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected Can take substantially less time than qualitative research
Quantitative Research Survey research A series of questions asked of a number of people Interview or self-administered questionnaire
Quantitative Research Surveys Easier to administer and allow researchers to gather data on identical variables from many people simultaneously Allows researcher to obtain information on things that cannot be observed directly, such as attitudes Not a good way to measure people’s actual behavior Takes minutes to weeks
Quantitative Research Closed-ended questions Exhaustive and mutually exclusive What is your age? 0-18 19-29 30+ Open-ended questions How do you feel about abortion?
Quantitative Research Surveys Adapt the phrasing of questions to the educational level of your respondents, but do not insult them. What is your GPA – that is, your grade point average?
Quantitative Research Surveys Avoid double negatives in your questions Do you oppose denying students access to their files or not? Don’t ask double-barreled questions “Do you favor or oppose giving medical care to small babies and bums?
Quantitative Research Avoid marathon questions What do you think we should do about cheating on campus – should we abolish take-home exams, even if this means that students only get tested on writing that they have rushed through, as in in-class exams, or should be allow take-home exams even if this means a number of students will cheat?
Quantitative Research Surveys Don’t ask leading or loaded questions Do you agree with the Democrats that we ought to keep religion and the state separate? Don’t ask questions your respondents can’t answer How many ice cubes did you use last year?
Quantitative Research Experimental research All (or as many as possible) relevant factors are controlled and one variable is manipulated to determine its effect Experimental and control groups Must be randomly assigned Only means by which we can explore causal relationships among variables Hawthorne Effect
Quantitative Research Secondary analysis Use of existing information that was gathered by others or that exists independently of the researcher’s current research Unobtrusive (nonreactive) research
Suicide Case study of suicide Secondary analysis of death certificates Not interested in why individual people commit suicide, but in the social aspects of suicide Human behavior is influenced and defined by the interaction of individuals and the groups we form
Suicide “Our first task then must be to determine the order of facts to be studied under the name of suicides” “The term suicide is applied to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim, which he knows will produce this result. An attempt is an act thus defined by falling short of actual death.”
Suicide “But is the fact thus defined of interest to the sociologist? Since suicide is an individual action affecting the individual only, it must seemingly depend exclusively on individual factors, thus belonging to psychology alone. Is not the suicide’s resolve usually explained by his temperament, character, antecedents and private history?”
Suicide “If, instead of seeing in them only separate occurrences, unrelated and to be separately studied, the suicides committed in a given society during a given period of time are taken as a whole, it appears that this total is not simply a sum of independent units, a collective total, but is itself a new fact sui generis – a nature, futhermore, dominantly social.”
Suicide “At each moment of its history, therefore, each society has a definite aptitude for suicide. The relative intensity of this aptitude is measured by taking the proportion between the total number of voluntary deaths and the population of every age and sex. We will call this numerical datum the rate of mortality through suicide, characteristic of the society under consideration.”
Suicide Altruistic Those who commit suicide for others Hero suicide Egoistic Suicide for oneself; feeling of not belonging Lone wolf suicide
Suicide Anomic Suicide when the norms of society no longer apply College student overdose Fatalistic Suicide when one is overly oppressed and sees no way out Prison suicide
Suicide Less Likely More Likely Protestants Unmarried Soldiers NCOs Peace Economic prosperity or recession East Catholics Married Civilians Enlisted War Economic stability West
Qualitative Research “All research ultimately has a qualitative grounding” Donald Campbell
Qualitative Research Comes from Weber Sociology is an interpretive science Aim is to determine the essential characteristics, properties, or processes of something or something Takes into account social meanings/reasons attached to behavior
Qualitative Research Researcher may only know roughly in advance what they are looking for Design emerges as the study unfolds Takes months to years
Qualitative Research Observational research Researcher directly observes the behavior of individuals in their usual social environments, not in a laboratory Field research Allows the researcher to observe people in their natural habitat Only small groups can be observed at once
Qualitative Research Complete participant Researcher is undercover and does not tell people being observed that they are doing research Complete observer Researcher views things from a distance or somehow blends into the social scenery Researcher is generally unknown to the people being observed
Qualitative Research Participant observation Researcher is an active participants in the event being studied Researcher admits to being a researcher so that people know they are being studied
Qualitative Research Ethnography Method of studying the social and cultural dimensions of human interaction Focuses on meaning Goal is to understand communities and cultures from an insider’s perspective and translate that understanding to outsiders
Crackhouse “This book focuses on the lives of people in a crackhouse in New York City. Some have lived together for years as family, friends, lovers; others pass through for a moment. This is a story about their lives, lives that otherwise go unnoticed save for the degrading rituals of arrest, trial, and imprisonment.”
Crackhouse “Some see crack-cocaine as the exciting new happening on the drug scene, the latest in a series of ‘best highs in the world’ that Americans like to experiment with in the belief that chemicals will change them for the better and never for the worse. For others, the crackhouse is the place to escape the pain of disappointment in love, the destruction of a family, the death of parents.”
Crackhouse “I first learned about crackhouses through my relationship with ‘Splib,’ a key contact and guide in my fieldwork for The Cocaine Kids.” “I wanted to know, among other things, whether drug taking and sexual behaviors were the same in all crackhouses, whether the people hanging out were those who used to patronize the afterhour clubs, why there were so many young women in these places.” Crackhouses and crack spots
Crackhouse “Inside the crackhouses I constructed structured interviews and participated in casual conversations, but tape recordings were possible only on those occasions when people explicitly asked that their life stories be taken in this fashion. We spoke not only in crackhouses but on rooftops and streetcorner benches, in bars, private apartments, restaurants, abandoned buildings, housing-project parks, cars, elevators, halls, and stairwells.”
Crackhouse “People talk about themselves because they want attention; it is not difficult to get a life story by showing interest and listening” “People often lie”
Crackhouse “I did not participate in the activities that are at the center of life in the crackhouse, but I did provide support of a sort. At first I did not offer to pay for interviews, nor was I asked for money. Over time, however, I started to ‘loan’ money for groceries or buy them myself. Then I found that people were willing to leave the house and talk to me in a more structured way if I paid them a few dollars. We have achieved some ease with each other, even friendship, but I was asking them to provide a service – to answer questions about their lives – and paying them was an honorable way of expressing gratitude and respect to those who were willing to share their knowledge”
Crackhouse “One way to achieve clarity is to bring out the whole person, in his or her own voice. Thus, much of this book consists of personal narratives, as they offer a more vivid picture of crackhouse life than any set of categories or any specific theory.”
Both Qualitative & Quantitative Content analysis Systematically extracting data from a wide range of texts to see what it reveals about authors, the times in which the texts were written, etc. Unobtrusive (nonreactive) research Can only study things that leave traces
Both Qualitative & Quantitative Focus group Less than 10 people led by a moderator in a discussion concerning the participants’ attitudes about some event, product, etc.
Ethics The Nuremburg Code Participation is voluntary No harm to participants Participants are informed of all risks associated with the study
Ethics Informed consent Researchers have explained all possible risks involved and the participants consent to participate in the study Institutional Review Board Ethical review committees whose main duties are to approve, monitor and review research involving human subjects Protect the rights and welfare of participants
Milgram Experiment Teacher and Learner Mr. Wallace Learner protests as voltage increases, complains of heart problems, stops answering “The experiment requires that you continue” 65% went through to the end Same room, holding Mr. Wallace down 30% No one who got within five shocks of the end ever quit
Tearoom Trade Laud Humphreys Study of homosexual encounters in public park restrooms Look-out or watchqueen License plate numbers Police reports Health care research