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Research Design

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Zsuzsa Harangi

on 5 March 2014

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Transcript of Research Design

3 purposes of research
The logic of Nomothetic Explanation
Idiographic, Nomothetic Explanation: rest on the idea of causation
Units of Analysis
ecological fallacy:
applying conclusions drawn from the analysis of groups to individuals
Idiographic Explanation
seeks an exhaustive understanding of the causes producing events and situations in a single/limited number of cases
Research Design
science is dedicated to "FINDING OUT"
discover many ways to go about finding it
1. clearly
what you want to find out
the best way to do it

occurs when examining a new interest/new subject

Exploratory study
«- satisfy curiosity/better understanding of the researcher
«- test the feasibility of undertaking a deeper study
«- develop methods to be employed in any subsequent study
Exploration is the attempt to develop an initial, rough understanding of some phenomenon
describing situations/events -» social science studies
observation -» describe what was observed
Descriptive study
what, where, when, how
many qualitative studies aim primarily at description
- research studies often combine them
Precise measurement, reporting of the characteristics of some population/phenomenon under study
is to explain things
Explanatory study
discovery and reporting of relationships among different aspects of the phenomenon under study
pay attention to the explanation offered by the people living the social processes you are studying
comparisons with similar situations, either in different places or at different times in the same place, can be insightful
Idiographic model:

aims at a complete understanding of a particular phenomenon, using all important casual factors.
Nomothetic model:

aims at a general understanding of a class of phenomena, using a few relevant casual factors.
3 criteria

for establishing causation in nomothetic analysis
empirically associated/correlated
casual variable:
occur earlier in time than the variable affect
observed effect:
cannot be explained as the affect of a different variable
Necessary, Sufficient Causes
spurious casual relationship: association that in reality is caused by one/more variables

people/things whose characteristics social researchers observe, describe, explain
typically: individual person/social group/formal organization/social interaction/social artifact/other phenomenon (lifestyle)

attempt to understand a complex phenomenon in terms of a narrow set of concepts
Time Dimension
research of social processes occuring over time presents challenges that can be addressed through
cross-sectional studies
longitudinal studies
based on: observations
made at 1 time
conclusions drawn from such studies are limited by this characteristic,
researchers can sometimes use such studies to make inferences about processes occuring over time
made at many times
such observations may be made of samples drawn from general populations, samples drawn from more-specific subpopulations, or the same sample of people
each time
How to design a Research Project?
Chapter 1
Research Proposal
- provides a preview of why a study will be undertaken, how it will be continued
- permission/necessary resources
proceed with a project
- proposal: useful for planning
Ethics of Research Design
research study: indicate how your study will abide by the ethical structures of social research
appropriate for an institutional review board to review your research proposal
social research can be structured many different ways
in your research project: specify which of these you will use
explore a topic
provide a detailed description
observe, explain social differences/processes
Collect data at one point in time «-» compare data across time
What data-collection techniques?
Thank you
for your attention

Observed Correlation
positive (direct) correlation
Shoe size «-»
Math skill
bigger shoe associated with better math skill
spurious causal relationships
Shoe size -»
Math skill
Shoe size «-
Math skill
neither shoe size nor math skill is a cause of the other
actual casual relationships
Shoe size «- AGE -» Math skill
the underlying variable of age causes both bigger shoe size and greater math skill
Necessary cause: being female is a NC of pregnancy (can't get pregnant unless you're a female
Sufficient cause: not taking the exam is a SC of failing it (there are other ways of failing - random answers)
initial interest/idea/theoretical expectations
choice of research method
data processing
population & sampling
Full transcript