Social Research: Part 1 The Scientific Method


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Social Research: Part 1 The Scientific Method

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