Concepts• Highest level of generality• “A formal definition of what is being studied.”• “The mental images we use to bring order to the mass of” things in the social world• Examples:• Adjustment to college (academic, social, and psychological adjustment)• Collective efficacy: social cohesion/trust & informal social control…..
What is a variable?• Variables• Logical groupings of attributes.
What is a variable?• Example: To measure adjustment, you can think of questions such as the following:• Academic: Are you doing in your work? Are you attending your classes? Social: Have you made any friends? What degree of social life do you have?
• 3. Attributes The categories of a variable• Example: The attributes of the variable, religion….
Making an argument• Relationship between two or variables• Example: Is low voter turnout explained by the educational levels of the population? – Do you buy the relationship exists? – How will you support your case?
Statistic• Categories of one VAR are related to the categories of another
Causal• 0ne variable is the cause, and the other variable is the effect.
Causal• Causal variable -- independent variable• "effect" variable --dependent variable. – The dependent variable (attitude or behavior) – The independent variable (age, income, race..)
Causal relationship• differences in one VAR explain differences in the other VAR 10
Four types of social research• Descriptive Research: research that defines and describes social phenomena• Example: Shows frequencies (how many are doing something)• Focus is on describing some phenomenon…..
Four types of social research• Exploratory Research: investigation of social phenomena without expectations• Meanings – actions and issues.• Large amounts (unstructured information)• New direction of inquiry
Four types of social research• Explanatory Research• research that identifies causes and effects of social phenomena• Goal: predict how one thing will change when another.
Four types of social researchEvaluation Research: research that determinesthe effects of a social program or other type ofintervention. How effect is a particular program?–Is our smoking prevention program working?–Is our needle exchange program working?
Two Traditions• Qualitative • Quantitative – Microsociology – Macrosociology – Study of everyday life – Study of large-scale – Acknowledges patterns subjectivity of research – Assumes research – Methods: objectivity • Observation – Methods: • Interviews • Surveys • Visual analysis • Scales • Databases
Two Traditions • Quantitative – Relationships between variable – Gender and income
Qualitative Approach Issue or Setting Representation Observations and/orResearcher Analysis and InterviewsInterpretation Images or Documents Review of the Literature (theories) Data Collection Fieldnotes, interview transcripts
Qualitative• interactions, behaviors, and attitudes – narrative representations
Qualitative• Researcher does the analysis through careful, ongoing “readings” of data
Value of Qualitative Research• Debated within discipline for decades• “legitimacy” as a science
A Striking Difference• Qualitative researchers: enter a setting (the field) and spend significant amounts of time (often years) interviewing and observing. – They are known by their subjects and come to know their subjects well.• Quantitative researchers: don’t meet their subjects. Data is often collected through other organizations (e.g., U.S. Census) or through mail surveys.
Research Design and theory• Quant: Theory -> hypothesis -> DATA (deductive)• Qual: Data – Take findings and then link to theory (inductive)
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