Chapter 2


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  • Chapter 2

    1. 1. The Research Process Chapter 2
    2. 2. After studying this chapter, you should be able to do the following: <ul><li>Explain the seven steps in the sociological research process. </li></ul><ul><li>Know what independent and dependent variables are. </li></ul><ul><li>Know the difference between causality and association. </li></ul><ul><li>Know what sampling is and how it is used. </li></ul><ul><li>Know the four main methods of research used by sociologists </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the concepts of reliability and validity. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the problems of objectivity and ethical issues that arise in sociological research. </li></ul><ul><li>  Know the three measures of central tendency and what they refer to </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>It is useful for human beings to seek to understand themselves and the social world in which they live. </li></ul><ul><li>Sociology has a great contribution to make to this endeavor, both in promoting understanding for its own sake and in providing social planners with scientific information with which well-founded decisions can be made and sound plans for future development adopted. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Two main goals that assist with approaching a study scientifically <ul><li>Describe in detail particular things and events </li></ul><ul><li>Propose and test theories that help understand things are events </li></ul>
    5. 5. Research Process <ul><li>Involves the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 Defining a problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 Reviewing previous research on the topic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 Developing one or more hypotheses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 Determining the research design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 Defining the sample and collecting data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6 Analyzing and interpreting data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7 Preparing the research report </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Step 1: Define the Problem <ul><li>Two types of questions that will assist with defining the problem </li></ul>Empirical Ex: How many students in this class voted last election? Operational Ex: What are some features of a community college educational system?
    7. 7. <ul><li>Operational definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A definition of an abstract concept in terms of the observable features that describe the thing being investigated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: Concept – Educational Level </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Years of education, degrees completed, type of school attended, etc </li></ul></ul></ul>Def: Empirical Question - A question that can be answered by observing and analyzing the world as it is known (Empiricism = measurement)
    8. 8. . <ul><li>STEP TWO: Review Previous Research. This allows you to avoid duplicating previous work and to build upon previous work in expanding knowledge of the subject. Also known as a literature review. </li></ul><ul><li>STEP THREE: DEVELOP ONE OR MORE HYPOTHESIS: </li></ul><ul><li>Def: Hypothesis - A testable statement about the relationship between two or more variables </li></ul><ul><li>Def: Variable – Anything that vary (change) </li></ul><ul><li>EX: childbirth rate in different countries </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>Two different kinds of variables: </li></ul><ul><li>Independent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Causes or changes another variable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dependent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is influenced by the independent variable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex. : Men who live in cities (independent variable) are more likely to marry (independent variable) at a young age than are men who live in the country. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>A hypothesis can be a statement of causality or association </li></ul><ul><li>Statement of Causality (independent/dependent) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Says that something brings about, influences, or changes something else. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: Higher education results in higher income </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Statement of association (independent/independent) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Says that changes in one thing are related to changes in another but one does not necessarily cause the other. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: People who live in cities have higher mobility rates than those who live in the country. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. 4: Determine the research design <ul><li>There are four main methods of research used by sociologist: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey – A group is questioned to reveal specific facts about themselves. Can be interviews, computer based, or face to face. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participant observation – Researchers entering into a groups activities and observing the members. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiment - investigation in which the variables being studied are controlled and the researcher obtains the results through precise observation and measurement. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary Analysis - process of making use of data that has been collected by others. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. 5: Define Sample and Collect Data <ul><li>FOR SURVEYS, CASE STUDIES AND EXPERIMENTS: </li></ul><ul><li>The particular subset of the population chosen for the study is called sample. </li></ul><ul><li>Sampling is a research technique through which investigators study a smaller number of people, known as the sample, selected from the larger population </li></ul><ul><li>The failure to achieve a representative sample is called sampling error. </li></ul><ul><li>A Survey you directly sample the group; Experiment you select the type of people you are interested in to participate; a case study you seek secondary data on them. </li></ul><ul><li>FOR PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION: Identify the social group you want to learn about and find a suitable association of these individuals to join </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>Def - Research Bias - The tendency for researchers to select data that support, and ignore data that goes against, their hypotheses. </li></ul><ul><li>How to deal with research bias? </li></ul><ul><li>Use blind investigators , those who do not know whether a specific subject belongs to the group of actual cases being investigated or to a comparison group. </li></ul><ul><li>Double-blind investigators are kept uninformed not only of the kinds of subjects (case subjects or comparison group subjects) they are studying but also of the hypotheses being tested. </li></ul>
    14. 14. . <ul><li>STEP 6: ANALYZE THE DATA and DRAW A CONCLUTION </li></ul><ul><li>Def: Analysis - The process through which large and complicated collections of scientific data are organized so that comparisons can be made and conclusions drawn. </li></ul><ul><li>STEP 7: PREPARE THE RESEARCH REPORT </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers generally publish their findings in scientific journals. These reports must follow a very specific protocol. </li></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>STUDIES MUST SHOW VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY </li></ul><ul><li>Def: Validity - The study must actually test what it was intended to test </li></ul><ul><li>Def: Reliability - The findings of the study must be repeatable. </li></ul><ul><li>If other scientists cannot repeat the study, or if it is invalid due to the operational definition or measurements used, than it will be ignored. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Ethical Issues in Sociological Research <ul><li>Fundamental questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Whose interests are served by the research? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who will benefit from it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How might people be hurt? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To what degree do subjects have the right to be told about the research design, its purposes, and possible applications? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who should have access to and control over research data after a study is completed—the agency that funded the study, the scientists, the subjects? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should research subjects have the right to participate in the planning of projects? </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>The three measures of central tendency </li></ul><ul><li>Ex: 9 people aged - 18 19 20 20 ( 21 21 21) 22 23 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mean-average </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Add up the numbers (185) divide by cases (9) = 20.5 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Median falls midway in the series of numbers = 21 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mode-the number that occurs often in the data = 21 </li></ul></ul>