Empiricism: senses, facts. Objectivity: people can agree on what they say, truth/fact does not depend on who’s doing the observing/research.Control: to eliminate errors and biases. Value: Grading system is bad for students. Scientific: grading procedures have negative effect on student’s self-esteem.
Ask the students to observe a public setting for three half hour blocks. In the first half hour, the purpose of their observations is exploratory, in the second half hour it is descriptive, and in the third half hour it is explanatory. Have the students discuss how their approach to observation changed when they switched purposes. Which purpose seemed the easiest; the hardest?
This research topic is attempting to address a “why” question, that is, why and how does political orientation influence attitudes toward environmental regulations. Therefore this research is explanatory.
QuantitativeUsing numbers to describe social phenomenaCount eventsAnalyze information with statistical techniquesQualitativeWritten or spoken words with no direct numerical interpretationInterpretation of events observed as they occur
Observations clearly show that the major etiologies of adult heart disease, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and essential hypertension begin in childhood. Documented anatomic changes occur by 5 to 8 years of age. 42% of US many obese by 2030. The Bogalusa Heart Study, a long-term population study with a continued relationship with a community, addresses the problem of capacity building in minority health research. Bogalusa, LA, is a biracial (black/white) rural community 70 miles north of New Orleans, comparable to many other communities in southeastern United States.
A study of state regulatory agencies’ enforcement of environmental laws.Units of analysis: StatesA study of opinion toward environmental regulations.Units of analysis: IndividualsA study of environmental law passage in the U.S. and the U.K.Units of analysis: CountriesA study of environmental law compliance by power plants.Units of analysis: Corporations
H2b:Differences in age are related to differences in income. That is, people in diff age groups tend to earn diff amount of income.H3b:Differences in social class are related to differences in voting. That is, people from higher social class groups tend to vote diff from people from lower social classes. .
SOC 311INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL RESEARCHSummer 2012 Week 1: Day 2 Shih-Chi Lin firstname.lastname@example.org
Plan of The Day Research Design I: Basics, Babbie: chapter 4 Formulating Questions and Hypotheses Exercise and homework
Review Characteristics of Science: empiricism, objectivity, control. Errors in inquiry o1. Inaccurate observations (bad observers) o2. Overgeneralization (one example for all) o3. Selective observation ( selection bias/only see what they believe) o4. Illogical reasoning (gambler’s fallacy) Inductive and deductive theory Scientific statement vs. value judgment
What is a Scientific ResearchQuestion? Why (common sense) “What is the relationship between…” or, “Under what conditions…” (1a) Is capital punishment morally wrong? (1b) Why is capital punishment legal in some states but not in others? (2a) Should abortion be legalized? (2b) How are attitudes toward abortion related to religious affiliation?
Research design I: basicsTHE RESEARCH DESIGNPROCESS AND COMMONTERMINOLOGY
The Aim of Sociological Research To move from subjective to more objective knowledge of something: Subjective Objective knowledge knowledgeAn individual’s everyday Knowledge that is valueunderstanding (common free, independent ofsenses) that comes from opinion, prejudice and bias.their values, experiencesand beliefs.
What is Research? Research is the systematic process of collecting and analysing information (data) in order to increase our understanding of the phenomenon with which we are concerned or interested. Research involves three main stages: Deductive Data ? Analysis Collection
Types of Research Methods Experimental ◦ Used most often in evaluation research Asking questions ◦ Directly: Use surveys and face-to-face interviews ◦ Indirectly: Use records to answer questions by extracting specific items of information Participant and other field observation ◦ Observe something in its natural environment, as it happens (i.e. reporters) ◦ Intensive interviews to obtain in-depth information Secondary data ◦ Content analysis (i.e. Mac user vs. PC user) ◦ Analysis of data collected for another study or purpose (Census)
Three Purposes of Research1. Exploration ◦ To satisfy the researcher’s curiosity and desire for better understanding ◦ To test the feasibility of undertaking a more extensive study ◦ To develop the methods to be employed in any subsequent study ◦ Examples?
Three Purposes of Research2. Description ◦ Describe situations and events through scientific observation ◦ Examples?
Three Purposes of Research3. Explanation ◦ Descriptive studies answer questions of what, where, when, and how ◦ Explanatory studies answer questions of why ◦ Examples?
Three Purposes of Research Review Question ◦ A researcher wants to determine why people of differing political orientations have different opinions on environmental regulations. What purpose does this research project fulfill? ◦ A. Exploratory ◦ B. Descriptive ◦ C.Explanatory
Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives "Theres no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0“ ◦ Fred Kerlinger Deductive "All research ultimately has a qualitative grounding“ ◦ Donald Campbell Inductive
The Time Dimension Cross-Sectional Study – a study based on observations representing a single point in time, a cross section of a population. i.e. course evaluation, Gallup poll, and? Longitudinal Study – a study design involving the collection of data at different points in time. Very time-consuming and costly. i.e. Bogalusa Heart Study (1972-2005)
Longitudinal Studies◦ Trend Study – a study in which a given characteristic of some population is monitored over time. (A comparison of US racial composition over time; unemployment rate)◦ Cohort Study – a study in which some specific subpopulation, or cohort, is studied over time. i.e. Baby boomers (born b/w 1946-1964)◦ Panel Study – a study in which data are collected from the same set of people at several points in time. Bogalusa Heart Study (1972-2005)
Some special cohort is studied over time, but members of the cohortmight change.
Unit of Analysis Units of Analysis – the what or whom being studied (most often individuals in social science research). The objects we study ◦ People ◦ Families ◦ Cities ◦ Newspaper articles ◦ Classes, schools, organizations
Review Exercise◦ For each study description below, identify the unit of analysis. 1. A study of state regulatory agencies’ enforcement of environmental laws. 2. A study of opinion toward environmental regulations. 3. A study of environmental law passage in the U.S. and the E.U. 4. A study of environmental law compliance by power plants.
Ecological Fallacy Faulty Reasoning about Units of Analysis ◦ The Ecological Fallacy – occurs when relationships between properties of groups or geographic areas are used to make inferences about the individuals within those groups or areas. ◦ Example 1: Knowing that Sally attended UO, you would assume she must be a duck. ◦ Example 2: Political analysts who use aggregate data from elections to study individual voting behavior.
Variables• Variables – • Dimensions or aspects of units of analysis which vary. • Logical groupings of attributes. • Formal definition of a variable is a set of exhaustive and mutually exclusive categories. –every unit of analysis must fall into exactly one category of a variable • Variables are defined by researchers.
The Vocabulary of Science From concepts to variables. ◦ Gender is thought to influence hair length. ◦ Educational attainment is thought to influence income. To be a variable, a thing must have at least two attributes. Exercise : Please list at least six attributes of religious affiliation.
ExamplesUNIT OF ANALYSIS VARIABLE CATEGORIES OF VARIABLEIndividual income <$10,000 $10,000~$24,999 $25,000~$34,999 Over $100,000individual Eye color Blue, brown, green, hazel, etc.Family Average annual household incomeOrganization Sex <20% male 20-50% male composition (% 51-80% male male) >80% male
Two Kinds of Variables Independent Variable – a presumed cause of a dependent variable Dependent Variable – a variable that the researcher tries to explain or predict.
Independent V. Dependent Intentionally manipulated Intentionally left alone Controlled Measured Vary at known rate Vary at unknown rate Cause Effect i.e. Gender i.e. income, GPA
RESEARCH DESIGN II:FORMULATING QUESTIONSAND HYPOTHESES
Hypotheses After identifying the variables of interest to us, we posit a relationship b/w them. Here are some simple hypotheses. H1a: Gender affects occupation. H2a: Age affects income. H3a: Social class affects voting behavior. H1b: Differences in gender are related to differences in occupation. [That is, men and women tend to be employed in different occupations.]
Readings and Homework Some readings will be optional. Answer questions on optional readings will get extra credit. Short homework assignments during weekdays and longer ones for the weekends. (Due Midnight) Homework #1, #2.