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INF1240 Research Methods Lectures 1-3

Lecture Slides, Fall 2011

Sara Grimes

on 19 October 2011

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Transcript of INF1240 Research Methods Lectures 1-3

Introduction to INF1240H
Research Methods Copyright 2009 Sulake Copyright 2006 BusinessWeek What? How? Why? Research Proposal SSHRC Proposal Peer Review Assignments Design Sets Parameters Making Sense of Complex Phenomena Broader View of the World, of Social Relations & Changes Over Time Questions of accountability: in whose interest? Social Impacts Ethnography & Observation Surveys Experiments & Quasi-experiments Interviews &
Focus Groups Content Analysis Text/Discourse Analysis Online Research Case Studies & Mixed-Methods Multi-Disciplinary Making connections across traditional boundaries Research Blog (Real or Mock) Complexify, problematize and contextualize existing "knowledge," categories, assumptions... Research is Powerful Political & Ethical Implications Research Ethics Bringing it all Together Question Sense Making Design Analysis Why Think About Methods? Why Think About Research? Major paradigms in social science research Week 2: Lecture Group Blogs: Foucault Durkheim The Chicago School © 2010 http://cafecomsociologia.blogspot.com/ ©2004 Jesse Bransford, Head (Michel Foucault) Margaret Mead Erving Goffman Social Interaction Symbolic interactionism Symbolic anthropology
"Stories people tell thmeselves about themselves" Clifford Geertz "What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things." See Kubey & Czikszenmihalyi Determinism Positivism Stephen Jay Gould's
Key Critiques of Determinism Reductionism Reification Dichotomization Hierarchy Burawoy - Extended Case Approach Approach used in physical sciences "...for sociology to be possible, it must above all have an object all its own. It must take cognizance of a reality which is not in the domain of other sciences... there can be no sociology unless societies exist, and that societies cannot exist if there are only individuals." Durkheim (in Spaulding & Simpson, 1952, pp. 37-8). Weber Marx Anthony Giddens'
Key contributions of postivism phenomenalism
aversion to metaphysics
representation of philosophy
duality of fact and value
notion of the "unity of science" Gallup Polls Market research vs. Frankfurt
School Social Science False Dichotomy Continuum, non-exclusive, co-dependent? Presentation & performance of self: front-stage/backstage Ethnographic Turn ? Luker's Writing/Thinking Exercises:
What question concerning the social world would you like to investigate if you were absolutely guaranteed that you would not fail?

What kinds of questions might you want to spend sveral previous years of your life investigating? What worries and provokes you? What would you like to know?

Given your research interest, how would a canonical researcher design this research question? Why is that way of studying your question inadequate/insufficient?

What is the "frame" - or hook - of your research? Whose converstion are you trying to slide into? How will you grab the attention (and interest) of your audience? Group 5 Blog Visit:
http://wannabephds.blogspot.com/ Research Question Exercises 1-4 (and beyond): Tools for finding the question hidden inside your research interests.

Appendix 1: Troubleshooting for those who still don't have a "case" (specific topic/area/site of inquiry) http://ostatic.com/blog/four-open-source-mind-mapping-apps-to-keep-you-focused (e.g. FreeMind) Data Visualization and Mind Mapping © 2010 Eleonore Fournier-Tombs Wordle In-Class Exercise #1 As suggested by Luker:
In pairs of two, take turns describing your research question (even if under construction), OR research interest (OR, if need be, your more general academic interest(s)).
For the person describing: Try to be as concise as possible.
For the person listening: When they are done, repeat back to them what you understand their question to be, based on what they just said.

Objective: Narrowing down through elimination - by explaning what it's NOT and why, you may get closer to what it is that you actually want to ask/answer. WHAT? HOW? WHY? Finding your frame
Helps you to situate yourself
Helps you to narrow down your proposal
Helps you to set objectives
Helps to identify bias & assumptions
Helps to argue importance, relevance
Helps secure support & funding Different methods = answer different questions Canonical/traditional approach (rule of thumb):
Survey/quant.content analysis: frequency, distribution across fixed categories, measuring (or linking or comparing) behaviours and/or features.
E.g. What databases do UofT librarians use in their own research?
Interviews: exploration of issues with complex/emerging/ or ambiguous cultural meanings. Why do people do the things they do? How does the content/text represent gender, etc.?
E.g. How do UofT librarians choose which databases to use, or not use, in their research and why? Properties of the phenomenon Properties of the method Properties of the researcher???? Example: 1) A comprehensive mapping of the emerging phenomenon of “UGC games” within children’s digital culture, which will document and analyze the UGC tools and affordances provided within a number of commercial titles; document and analyze the content that children (aged 6-12) have created using these tools; as well as observe some of the social and material contexts within which UGC gaming practices unfold. Among the contexts to be examined are the liminal, in-between, transitory contexts (backyards, backseats, playgrounds, etc.) likely associated with UGC gaming on mobile devices. Document + Formal (comparable) Features + "a number": Content Analysis

Document + content produced by children specifically How will I know if the content was produced by a child? Survey players to identify child-creators + child-created content. Ethics approval. Permission of forum administrators. Advertise survey on key forums (self-selected groups not likely generalizable). Secure parental consent & informed consent to include game levels in analysis. Survey Tool: Opens up new possibilities for directions, research questions, demographics, and stakeholders (e.g. industry, policy, educators, kids). Content Analysis
Critical textual/design analysis Comparative case study approach ? Claimsmaking 1.the on-line J.-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's application form, completed, printed and signed
2.the program of study (max. 2 pages)
3.a bibliography/citations (max. 5 pages)
4.research contributions page (if applicable, max. 1 page)
5.all undergraduate transcripts
6.all graduate level transcripts
7.two (2) completed Letters of Appraisal in sealed envelopes
8.the Departmental Appraisal (only for candidates who must apply through a Canadian university)
9.the Application Checklist SSHRC Proposal (Real or Mock) Assignment 2 All required material should be attached to your application printout as additional pages. Please ensure your attachment is presented according to these specifications:
typed or word processed, single-sided, on 8 1/2" x 11" (21.5 cm x 28 cm), white paper;
single-spaced, with no more than six lines of type per inch;
body text in a minimum 12 pt Times New Roman font;
all margins set at a minimum of 3/4" (1.87 cm);
your name appears within the set margins at the top right corner of every page; and
pages numbered consecutively following the last page of your application printout. General Presentation
Describe your degree program and your research proposal in non-technical terms. Write your proposal in clear, plain language and avoid jargon, since your application will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary committee.

Ensure that your text includes the following requirements:
Identify the university and degree program which you are pursuing or intend to pursue;
Outline clearly the research training component of the degree program and tell us how your program of study meets one or more of the three components listed under Eligibility (consult the program description on SSHRC's Web site);
If your Master's degree program involves a thesis, a major research paper/essay, or a major research project, provide a well-structured outline of your research proposal, specifying the research question, context, objectives, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge;
If it is relevant to your research proposal, describe any work experience, community involvement or other extracurricular activity;
If your research proposal is in health or psychology, justify your submission of this proposal to SSHRC (rather than to NSERC or CIHR), based on the Guidelines for the Eligibility of Subject Matter at SSHRC;
If the output of your degree program is an artistic creation rather than a thesis, indicate clearly the research component of your proposed work. Outline the objectives of your research, the context, methodology, and contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

In addition, if your degree program does not involve a thesis, major research paper/essay, or a major research project, remember to outline clearly the research training component of the degree, as indicated above.
Provide the following:
a bibliography for your research proposal (please do not send publications or include endnotes).
bibliographic details for all citations included in your Program of Study. Ensure that they are clear and complete to allow reviewers to locate the sources easily. Bibliography and Citations
(maximum 5 pages) Program of Study — maximum two pages General Guidelines for the Eligibility of Subject Matter at SSHRC

Applications to SSHRC as the primary source of research or research training support must meet the following two criteria:
The program of research must be primarily in the social sciences and humanities (i.e., aligned with SSHRC's legislated mandate).
The intended outcome of the research must primarily be to add to our understanding and knowledge of individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live, and how we interact with each other and the world around us. Always Read the Org. Mandate "...enhances our understanding of modern social, cultural, technological, environmental, economic and wellness issues."

"...raises profound questions about who we are as human beings, what we need in order to thrive in complex and challenging times, and where we are headed in the new millennium."

"Research outcomes are shared with communities, businesses and governments, who use this new knowledge to innovate and improve people’s lives."

Current "Priority Areas":
Aboriginal Research
Canadian Environmental Issues
Digital Media
Innovation, Leadership and Prosperity
Northern Communities—Towards Social and Economic Prosperity INF1240 due date: Oct.18 Internal SSHRC deadline: Nov.8 Reflexivity Iterative Canadian citizen / Permanent resident
Be in first Master’s-level degree
Not be in program FT longer than 12 months by start date of SSHRC award (May or September 2011)
First Class (80%) standing in last 2 yrs of F/T studies
Not have already received SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR funding for master’s-level study.
Not applying for NSERC or CIHR in same academic year.
In a program with advanced research training

1 year award: $17,500/yr Eligibility: Complete Application: Tips from Experts "READ THE APPLICATION GUIDELINES AND TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY. Follow all rules concerning font size, line spacing, margins, page limits, etc. Failure to follow the guidelines can result in an ineligible application — pages that exceed the specified limit may be discarded without your knowledge" (Hood & Alden, 2003, n.p.).

"Pay attention to the award program’s objectives and criteria" and "Write your proposal with the specific funding agency and/or review panel in mind" (Hood & Alden, 2003, n.p.). "Writing must be clear and concise. Remember that the selection committee members may not have a specialized knowledge of your particular area of research. Avoid jargon and technical language – write your proposal for a general audience. Be sure to define any acronyms or abbreviations the first time they are used" (OGPR, 2010)

student signature missing (Tri-Agency)

Free-Form Pages (Appendices, incl. Program of Study)
too many pages
sections missing
font too small*
margins too small*

Reference Forms
only one submitted*
not on proper form
too many pages
not original (ie. faxed, photocopied, e-mailed)

missing pages*
not original and official (Tri-Agency)
out of date

NSERC and SSHRC Dept Evaluation
missing or incomplete
signed by someone who also provided reference form

*these errors will make application ineligible Top 14 Mistakes compiled by the UBC Office of Graduate Programs and Research (2010) Additional Tip Next Week: Structure
Need to prove that your program and research will help you become highly qualified (see Mandate)
You are writing a persuasive statement – you should fund me
Emphasize the research component of your studies
Clearly state your level of study – what stage are you at?
Outline your thesis and explain how it builds on existing research
Explain how your research will advance knowledge in your field
Describe what you hope to accomplish during the tenure of your award
Provide the name of your supervisor, if known
State your research problem and methodology clearly
Sell yourself: use a confident voice and sound excited about your research
Be specific
Create a simple study that shows you know how to design a study and that it addresses an important issue
Who are you? Where are you at? Where are you going?
What are you looking at?
thesis statement
research questions
Why is it important that this research is done?
How will you do this research?
So what? What contribution does this research make? To Whom? Template 1 (created by Brown, 2008)
This is who I am
This is my area of research
This area is a problem because... a) b) c) etc.
This is what I am going to do in my research
This is why it matters Template 2 (Brown, 2008)
Part 1: My background and interests
Part 2: Why this research is important
Part 3: Previous literature on topic and gap in literature
Part 4: My research training, expertise, experience
Part 5: My master's proposal Template 3 (Adapted from Brown, 2008) Group Exercise 2 Divide up into groups of 6-8 (max)
Read the sample proposal provided
If you were to create a template based on this proposal, what would it look like?
i.e. how is the proposal structured? what info does it include/omit?
Present your findings to the rest of the class. REAL PROPOSAL? Double check presentation req's in this year's official Instructions Tips and Advice on "How to Structure a OGS or SSHRC Proposal (Brown, 2008)

1. Visit to Group 3 Blog
2. Assignment 2 - continued
Glen Farrelly - "Top Ten Tips for Getting Graduate Grants"
Past Proposal Review
3. Proposal evaluation exercise
4. Lecture: Face-to-face human research
Key components of face-to-face
Opportunities & Challenges
Tool Kits for Interviews/Focus Groups
Alternatives: ArtLab Approach Agenda for Today October 4, 2010 Engagement with contemporary media typically involves a complex interchange of visual information, aspirations, ideas, and references to other media, across an array of electronic and print formats.

However, the traditional research paradigms have tended to treat people as audiences of specific forms and genres, and have then expected them to describe their reception and interpretation of these messages, in words, to researchers.

Thus the complex, multi-layered, visual world of today's media consumption is sliced up and dissolved into straightforward, written accounts of its 'reception'.

The ArtLab studies represent a new type of research in which media consumers' own creativity, reflexivity and knowingness is harnessed, rather than ignored.

In these studies, individuals are asked to produce media or visual material themselves, as a way of exploring their relationship with particular issues or dimensions of media. http://glenfarrelly.blogspot.com/2010/09/top-ten-tips-for-getting-graduate.html "What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things." Margaret Mead Face-To-Face Interviews Focus Groups Informed by scientific model
- Reliability
- Researcher influence
- Structure & Standardization Informed by feminist theory
- Flexibility
- Trust, emphathy, relationship
- Lightly structured, responsive Highly structured questions = wording is key!
Lit review & pilot studies crucial
Fixed responses (specific/focused), can be compared more easily
Set sequence (stick to the script!!)
Minimize variation and researcher influence (tone, reactions, facial expressions, dress, etc.) Key Limitation: Structure Difficult to anticipate responses, respondents
Minimize with:
lightly-structured pilot studies,
extensive lit review, and
lots of practice conducting interviews Selecting your "instruments" Key Limitation: Breadth Making sense of the data can be a HUGE challenge.
How to compare - or even interpret - incomplete, spontaneous, diverse answers??
Minimize by:
Using this approach for questions/projects aimed at exploring & understanding, feelings, motivations, of small groups (or case studies, etc.) Lightly structured, open-ended questions - must provoke answers
Prompts and responsiveness are key! Keep'em talking
Flow of conversation is led by respondent (rather than researcher)
Put aside expectations
Empathetic connection with your informants is important Key Strength: Structure Highly Structured Lightly Structured Semi Structured Key Strength: Nuance Combination of the two e.g.
open-ended, lightly structured questions
researcher follows a flexible and improvised "pseudo-script" - more or less planned
Key is to achieve balance between letting respondent lead, and then guiding them back to the topic (or transitioning into the next topic). Salsa dancing? Ebb and flow Alternatives http://grimesinf1240.blogspot.com/
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