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Babbie, W. Neuman and Nachmias on research methods. Others were defined from

internet sources and class notes.

knowledge.

Paradigms – A broad point of view on the way things are or the theory dominant in any

historical period

only believe in things that can be observed and measured to prove that it is true.

understanding of human behaviour.

Epistemological ‘modes’ - The different ways of knowing what you know. It can be

through scientific, tradition, religion, logics and convention etc.

Errors in ‘ordinary’ human inquiry – these are mistakes that are sometimes made from

inaccurate observation. For example, if the question was asked what colour shirt our

lecturer was wearing the first day of class, we may have to guess because most of our

daily observations were causal and semiconscious. However, if we deliberately made an

effort to observe from the first day of the class, would help reduce error. It can also be

made from overgeneralization. For example, out of two thousand persons at a gathering,

we interview only five and assumed that all the others were there for the same reason. It

can also result from selective observation, illogical reason and premature inquiry.

‘Clocks and clouds’ analogy – In the debate between the two dominant paradigms

-logical positivism and verstehen, Almond likened clocks to logical positivism and clouds

to verstehen and shows that while the hard sciences can easily adhere to the scientific

method, just as clocks—or time—can be shown in a structured manner, social science

isn’t the same type of animal. The “cloud-like” nature of social phenomena is ever

changing, reshaping itself into different outlines with growing and shrinking depths and

mass.

accepted only gradually by the scientific community.

assumptions

Dominant paradigm (Kuhn) - A single truth or world view that dominates a field of

science at any one time e.g. Marxism a dominant theory at one point

Anomalies (Kuhn) – things that can not be explained well that do not fit the pattern.

Deduction / deductive reasoning – the logical model in which specific expectations of

hypotheses are developed on the basis of general principles. For example, starting from

the general principle that all deans are meanies, you might anticipate that this one won’t

let you change courses. This anticipation would be the result of deduction

general principles are developed from specific observations. Grounded theory is an

inductive approach to the study of social life that attempts to generate a theory from the

constant comparing of unfolding observations. This is different from hypothesis testing,

in which theory is used to generate hypotheses to be tested through observations

Wallace’s ‘wheel of science’ analogy – this is a cycle that starts with a theory, then a

hypothesis, then observation, then empirical generalization; this logical model is

deduction. At the other extreme, the reverse takes place in which the starting point is from

empirical generalization. This model is Induction

for the purpose of describing and explaining the phenomena that those observations

reflect

for the purpose of discovering underlying meaning and patterns of relationships

Theory – a systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of

life or a statement that organizes predicts and explains a general class of phenomena

phenomenon that scientists used to describe the empirical world

concept by using primitive and derived terms

conceptual-theoretical and empirical-observational levels by describing the activities

needed to empirically observe a phenomenon empirically

Normative statement or proposition – deals with values and addresses what should be

rather than what is, for example a statement saying, Jamaica should be a democratic

society, is an expression of a value judgment

giving evidence that it is true. For example a statement saying, Jamaica is a democratic

society, can be proven by using evidence. This statement is based upon facts

example, the variable gender is made up of the attributes male and female

of another (independent variable). It is the variable the researcher wishes to explain

Independent variable - measures of the phenomena that are thought to influence, affect,

or cause some other phenomenon

explain or clarify the relationship between two other variables (dependent and

independent). It is used to test whether the observed relations between the two variables

are spurious

Continuous variable – a variable whose attributes form a steady progression, such as age

or income. Thus, the ages of a group of people might include 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, and so

forth and could even be broken down into fractions of years

Discrete variable - a variable whose attributes are separate from one another, or

discontinuous as in the case of gender (male or female)

prediction. It describes in concrete (rather than theoretical) terms what you expect will

happen in your study.

first of all formulate hypothesis and stating what it is.

Secondly, collect data relevant to the hypothesis

thirdly, evaluate hypothesis in light of the data

fourthly, accept or reject hypothesis

finally, revise theory in light of new information.

Positive relationship - an association whereby as the value of one variable increases, the

value of the other also increases or when one is present, the other is also present

the value of the other decreases or when one is present, the other is absent

Perfect relationship – this is when two variables are completely correlated and the value

equals one (1)

variable that is found to be false because it can be explained by variables other than those

stated in the hypothesis

according to rules

Levels of measurement – the degree to which typical numbers describe characteristics of

the measured variable; the higher the level of measurement, the greater the number of

applicable statistical methods

Nominal – the level of measurement at which the properties of objects in one category

are identical and mutually exclusive and exhaustive for all its cases; it is the lowest level

of measurement and values cannot be ranked ordered (for example, Gender – male of

female)

Ordinal - the level of measurement in which all sets of observations generate a complete

ranking of objects (for example, from ‘the most’ to ‘the least’), although the distances

cannot be precisely measured. There is no incremental change between the values

Interval - the level of measurement at which the distances between observations are

exact; can be precisely measured in constant units and is continuous in nature. There is no

true/real or absolute zero (for example, temperature)

Ratio (-level) - the level of measurement that has a unique zero point. The phenomenon

does not exist, for example, you cannot say you speed at ‘0’ mph from work to home, this

is not possible

Reliable / reliability – the consistency of a measuring instrument, that is, the extent to

which a measuring instrument contains variable error

supposed to measure

Unidimensional (ity) – principle that implies that the items comprising a scale reflect a

single dimension and belong on a continuum that reflects one and only one theoretical

concept

‘normative’ response or a socially accepted answer rather than the honest answer

Response set bias – a tendency to agree or disagree with every question in a series rather

than carefully thinking through one’s answer to each. The participant no longer giving a

clear response, they are only just following a pattern

Triangulation – use of more than one form of data collection to test the same hypothesis

within a unified research plan

levels of a variable

Index – a composite measure of two or more indicators or items and they are not identical

structure

measure composed of several items that have a logical or empirical structure among them.

It can also be seen as a class of quantitative data measures often used in survey research

that captures the intensity, direction, level, or potency of a variable construct along a

continuum. Most are at the ordinal level of measurement. Examples of scale are Guttman

and Likert

Forced choice – this is when a question is asked and the respondent is given two options

“yes” or “no” to choose one

Likert scale – a scale often used in survey research in which people express attitudes or

other responses in terms of ordinal-level categories (for example, agree, disagree) that are

ranked along a continuum. It is a summated rating scale designed to assist in excluding

questionable items

something in terms of two opposite adjectives (for example, rate textbooks as boring or

exiting) using qualifiers such as ‘very’, ‘somewhat’, ‘neither’, to bridge the distance

between the two opposites.

Unit of analysis – the who or what being studied for example, ‘individual people’. It is

also the most elementary part of the phenomenon to be studied; its character influences

subsequent research design, data collection, and data analysis decisions

Ecological fallacy – the inappropriate generalization from more complex to simpler unit

of analysis

kinds of concepts to be considered relevant to the phenomenon under study

Longitudinal study – a study design involving the collection of data at different points in

time

Determinism – an approach to human agency and causality that assumes human actions

are largely caused by forces external to individuals that can be identified

idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or event

causal factors that generally impact a class of conditions or events

‘Criteria for causality’ – the variables must be correlated (some actual relationship exist

between the two variables), the cause take place before the effect and the variables are

nonspurious (effect cannot be explained interms of some third variable)

Necessary cause – represents a condition that must be present for the effect to follow (for

example, it is necessary to take college courses in order to get a degree)

question. This is not to say that a sufficient cause is the only possible cause of a particular

effect (for example, skipping an exam would be sufficient cause for failing a course,

though you could fail it other ways as well). Thus a cause can be sufficient but not

necessary

Population / universe – the entire set of relevant units of analysis

characteristics as the population from which it was selected. By implication, descriptions

and explanations derived from an analysis of the sample may be assumed to represent

similar ones in the population. Representativeness is enhanced by probability sampling

and provides for generalizability and the use of inferential statistics

Random selection - a sampling method in which each element has an equal chance of

selection independent of any other event in the selection process

Random sample – a sample in which the reseacher uses random number table or similar

mathematical process so that each sampling element in the population will have an equal

probability of being selected

Probability sampling - sample units selected from the sampling frame according to some

probabilistic scheme

the probability of each unit’s inclusion in the sample

Sampling frame - the list of the sampling units that is used in the selection of the sample

Stratified sample – this is when you group sampling frame elements according to

categories of one characteristic and sample from each group separately

‘Significance’ test(s) – this indicates the probability that a relationship could have

occurred because of chance alone. It is also a class of statistical computations that

indicate the likelihood that the relationship observed between variables in a sample can be

attributed to sampling error only

Level of significance – the probability of rejecting a true null hypothesis; that is, the

possibility of making a type I error

rejected when an observed statistic appears unlikely under the null hypothesis

statistics. As a measure of association, chi square can be used for nominal and ordinal

data. It has an upper limit of infinity and a lower limit of zero, meaning no association

Data reduction – this is using scientific analysis to reduce data from unmanageable

details to manageable summaries

Statistic vs parameter – the summary description of a variable in a sample, used to

estimate a population parameter. Parameter is the summary description of a given

variable in a population

Descriptive statistics – statistical procedures used for describing and analyzing data that

enable the researcher to summarize and organize data in an effective and meaningful way

characteristics of a population based on observations from a sample taken from the

population

Univariate statistics - statistical measures that deal with one variable only

Multivariate statistics - statistical measures that deal with more than two variables

Percentage – this is a way of expressing a number as a fraction of 100 (per cent meaning

"per hundred"). It is often denoted using the percent sign, "%", For example, 65% (read as

"sixty percent") is equal to 65/100, or 0.65

of a frequency distribution

observation category in the data

Median – a measure of central tendency defined as the point above and below which 50

percent of the observations fall

dividing by the number of observations

distribution

Range – measures the distance between the highest and the lowest values of a distribution

distribution; the square of the standard deviation

Standard deviation – a commonly used measure of variability whose size indicates the

dispersion of a distribution

Subgroup comparison – this is the dividing of data into subgroup and comparing their

differences

percentage distributions or a table of cross tabulation of two or more variables showing

bivariate quantitative data for variables in the form of percentages across rows or down

columns for the categories of one variable

Measures of ‘association’ - a single number that expresses the strength, and often the

direction, of a relationship. It condenses information about a bivariate relationship into a

single number

relations between two variables wherein one variable is used to predict the values of

another

Phi - this is a chi-square based measure of association that involves dividing the chi-

square statistic by the sample size and taking the square root of the result.

relationship between nominal variables. it reflects the proportional reduction in error

when values of the independent variable are used to predict values of the dependent

variable. A value of 1 means that the independent variable perfectly predicts the

dependent variable. A value of 0 means that the independent variable is no help in

predicting the dependent variable

the relationship between ordinal variables that ranges between negative 1 and 1. Values

close to an absolute value of 1 indicate a strong relationship between the two variables.

Values close to zero indicate little or no relationship.

Spearman’s rho – a statistics used to calculate the strength of the relationship between

two ordinal variables. It is the non-parametric alternative to Pearson Product Moment

correlation

Covariation – a measure of how two variables both vary relative to one another

specifies the magnitude and direction of relation between two interval-level variables, is

the most commonly used statistic in correlational analysis

explained

Linear regression analysis – a form of statistical analysis that seeks the equation for the

straight line that best describes the relationship between two ratio variables

observation, where each axis represents the value of one variable. A diagram to display

the statistical relationship between two variables based on plotting each case’s values for

both of the variables

Regression line – a line based on the least squares criterion that is the best fit to the

points in a scatterplot

Least squares criterion – this is a formula that looks at the distance by which data is off

by

Correlation matrix – this is a matrix of correlation or a method of presentation showing

the intercorrelations among several variables

between an interval variable and two or more interval, ordinal, or nominal variables. It

permits one to predict the value of a dependent variable from the composite effects of any

number of independent variables

which independent variables have the greatest impact

Regression assumptions – these are assumptions made about variables for analysis so

that the results can be trustworthy and also to avoid a Type I or Type II error, or over- or

under-estimation of significance or effect size

ANOVA – or Analysis of Variance is a method of analysis in which cases under study are

combined into groups representing an independent variable, and the extent to which the

groups differ from one another is analyzed in terms of some dependent variable. Then the

extent to which the groups differ is compared with the standard of random distribution.

There are two common forms: one-way analysis of variance and two-way analysis of

variance

Eta / eta squared - A measure of association that ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 indicating no

association between the row and column variables and values close to 1 indicating a high

degree of association. Eta is appropriate for a dependent variable measured on an interval

scale (e.g., income) and an independent variable with a limited number of categories (e.g.,

gender). Two eta values are computed: one treats the row variable as the interval variable;

the other treats the column variable as the interval variable.

Reliability analysis - allows you to study the properties of measurement scales and the

items that make them up. The Reliability Analysis procedure calculates a number of

commonly used measures of scale reliability and also provides information about the

relationships between individual items in the scale. Intra-class correlation coefficients can

be used to compute inter-rater reliability estimates.

Inter-item correlation - is a type of reliability analysis that gives the average or mean of

all the correlations

Alpha - this is a reliability model of internal consistency, based on the average inter-item

correlation.

variables into a limited number of dimensions or factors

over time

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