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Definition of Research and Social Research Alternatives to Social Research How Science works Quantitative and Qualitative Social Research Steps in Research Process

Describe what is research, social research and how it is defined. Discuss what research means to you, and describe how you, as manager, might apply the knowledge gained about research.


Selection and formulation of research problem Research design and plan Experimental designs Sampling and sampling strategy or plan Measurement and scaling techniques Data collection methods and techniques Testing of hypotheses Statistical techniques for processing and analysis of data Analysis, interpretation and drawing inferences Report writing

The nature of research

Definition: Something that people undertake in order to find things out in a systematic way, thereby increasing their knowledge Saunders et al. (2009) Characteristics: Data are collected systematically Data are interpreted systematically There is a clear purpose to find things out

Social research is a process in which people combine a set of principles, outlooks and ideas (i.e., methodology) with a collection of specific practices, techniques, and strategies (i.e., a method of inquiry) to produce knowledge A collection of methods and methodologies that researchers appliy systematicallay to produce scientifically based knowledge about the social world. He or she learn to organize and plan carefully and to select the appropriate technique to address a question.

More than a collection of techniques, social research is a process for producing knowledge. It is a more structured, organized, and systematic process than the alternatives that most of us use in daily life. Knowledge from the alternatives is often correct, but knowledge based on research is more likely to be true and have fewer errors.

Non-Scientific Production of Knowledge /Alternatives To Social Science Research

People rely on to acquire knowledge and make decisions : Personal Experience seeing is believing? Authority Someone in power says so.. Tradition/Culture its the way things have always been Common Sense just makes sense Media Window into a distorted reality

seeing is believing? Strong impact and is a powerful source of knowledge. Many people believe what they see or personally experience rather than what very carefully designed research has discovered. Errors of personal experience reinforce each other. We often make the following five errors in our everyday decisions, but the research process tries to reduce such errors. 1) Overgeneralization 2) Selective Observation 3) Premature Closure 4) Halo Effect

Occurs when we have some believable evidence and then assume that it applies to many other situations as well. Statements that go far beyond what can be justified based on the data or emprical observation that one has.

Selective Observation
When we take special notice of certain people or events and then generalize from them. Making observation in a way that it reinforces preexisting thinking, rather than observing in a neutral and balanced manner.

Premature Closure
It occurs when we feel we have the answer and no longer need to listen, seek information or raise questions. Making a justment, or reaching a decision and ending an investigation, before one has the amount or depth of evidence required by scientific standards.

Halo Effect
Occurs when we overgeneralize from what we believe to be highly positive or prestigious. Allowing the prior reputation of person, places or things to color ones evaluations, rather than evaluating all in a neutral, equal manner.

False Consensus
It suggest that we are not good at distinguishing between what we personally think and what we think most other people believe.

Social research helps address the errors of personal experince. Research standards, rules, and principles are designed to reduce this misjudgement, bias and distorted thinking that frequently occurs with personal experince.

Someone in power says so.. There are also limitations to relying on authority.This is using authority as a basis of knowledge. We can benefit from that persons experience and efforts. 1. It is easy to overestimate the expertise of other people. You may assume that they are right when they are not. History is full of past experts whom we now see as being misinformed. 2. Authorities may not agree and all authorities may not be equally dependable. Whom should we believe if authorities disagree? 3. Authorities may speak on fields they know little about or be plain wrong. An expert who is very informed about one area may use his or her authority in an unrelated area. Also, using the halo effect (discussed later), expertise in one are am ay spill over illegitimately to be authority in a totally different area. Have you ever seen television commercials or football hero where a movie star uses his or her fame as authority to convince you to buy a car? We need to ask: Who is or is not an authority?


To learn about research and acquire the skills so we can evaluate strong from weak studies.

Window into a distorted reality Seriously overstated. Television shows, movies, and newspaper and magazine articles are important sources of information.Mass media "hype" can create a feeling that a major problem exists when it may not. Public relations campaigns try to alter what the public thinks about scientific findings, making it difficult for the public to judge research findings. For example, a large majority of scientific research supports the global warming thesis (i.e., pollutants from industrialization and massive deforestation are raising the earth's temperature and will cause dramatic climate change and bring about environmental disasters.

its the way things have always been Some traditional social knowledge begins as simple prejudice. You might rely on tradition without being fully aware of it with a belief such as "You never can trust that type of person. People may cling to traditional knowledge without real understanding; they assume that because something may have worked or been true in the past, it will continue to be true.

Common Sense
just makes sense

Common sense is valuable in daily living, but it allows logical fallacies to slip into thinking. Common senses an originate in tradition. It is useful and sometimes correct, but it also contains errors, misinformation, contradiction, and prejudice.

What Research Involves : A Scientific Approach What is Science?

Social science research relies on people carefully studying experinces, events, and facts in social reality. Including pure logical-rational reasoning. No universal, a historical method

What is Science? (cont'd)

Method has to be defined at a single stage in the development of a field
Consists of some specific aims to arrive at knowledge of some specific kind, methods for arriving at those aims together with the standards for judging the extent to which they are met, and specific facts and theories that represent the current state of play as far as the realization of the aim is concerned

Refers to both a system for producing knowledge and the knowledge that results from that system. A more reliable and valid method of acquiring knowledge Different scientific methods have been popular historically Theory, data and emprical.

Data Numerical (quantitative) and nonnumerical (qualitative) information and evidence that have been carefully gathered according to rules or established procedures. Empirical Description of what we can observe and experience directly trough human senses (e.g. touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste) or indirectly using techniques that extend the senses.

Role of Theory in Science

To summarize and integrate existing data To guide new research Continuous interaction between theory and empirical observation

Why learn about the scientific research process?

To learn the research process Provides a foundation for other courses To become a critical consumer of information To develop critical and analytic thinking Learn to critically read a research article Necessary for most graduate programs

The research process (1)

Stages of the research process
Formulating and clarifying a topic Reviewing the literature Designing the research Collecting data Analysing data Writing up
Based on Figure 1.2: Saunders et al. (2009)

The research process (2) (1)

Factors to consider
The impact of your personal feelings and beliefs Access to data Time and other resources Validity and reliability of the data Ethical issues

Steps In the Researcg Process

Quantitative Approach to Social Research Qualitative Approach to Social Research


Measure objective facts Focus on variables Reliability is key Value free Theory and data are separate Independent of context Many cases, subjects Statistical analysis Researcher is detached

Construct social reality,cultural meaning Focus on interactive process, events Authenticity is key Values are present and explicit Theory and data are focused Situationally constrained Few cases,subjects Thematic analysis Researcher is involved



Qualitative v.'s Quantitative

Qualitative Research Type of questions Sample Size Info. Per respondent Admin Type of Analysis Type of research Probing small much Requires skilled researcher Subjective, interpretative Exploratory Quantitative Research Limited probing large varies Fewer specialist skills required Statistical Descriptive or causal

Research Methods, Design, and Analysis, Eleventh Edition Christensen Johnson Turner

Copyright 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Qualitative v.'s Quantitative

Quantitative approaches 'Simple' numeric data Measurement Explanation Prediction Generalisable account Representative population sample Hypothesis-testing Claims objectivity Closed system (experimental control) Qualitative approaches 'Complex' rich data Meaning Understanding Interpretation Contextual account Purposive/ representative perspective sample Exploratory Accepts subjectivity Open system (ecological validity)

Research Methods, Design, and Analysis, Eleventh Edition Christensen Johnson Turner

Copyright 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Comparison of Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

Basic research objective

To gain a broad qualitative understanding of the underlying reasons and motivations; As a first step in multistage research

Type of sample used Data collection Method Nature of data analysis

Small numbers of non-representative cases Unstructured Non-statistical

To quantify the data and generalize the results form the sample to the population of interest; Recommend a final course of action Large number of representative cases Structured Statistical

Research Methods, Design, and Analysis, Eleventh Edition Christensen Johnson Turner

Copyright 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Approaches to Social Research

Objective observation Focus on variables Reliability Separation between theory and data Generalizable Large N Statistical analysis

Quantitative approaches deal with numerical measurements (i.e. quantities). They are typical of the mainstream scientific approach in psychology. They are the preferred methodologies of empirical, hypotheticodeductive and experimental psychology. Quantitative approaches aim to test hypotheses, and usually to identify numerical differences between groups.

1. Selecting a topic. Start with general area of study or issue of professional or personal interest, such as effects of divorce, impact of homelessness, or how elites use the media. 2. Focus the question. You must then narrow down the topic, or focus the topic into a specific research question for a study (e.g., "Are people who marry younger more likely to engage in physical abuse of a spouse under conditions of high stress than those who marry older?"). Often this requires a careful review of the research literature (discussed in Chapter 5) and developing hypotheses (discussed in Chapter 6) that frequently come from social theory (discussed in Chapter 3). A rather vague topic, reasons for delinquency, is focused into a specific reason (i.e., degree of assimilation) for a specific group of peo-ple (i.e., teenaged immigrant males from East Asia) that is used to pursue the next step, to design a study (discussed in Chapters 6-11).

3. Designing the study requires making decisions about the type of case or sample to select, how to measure relevant factors, and what research technique (e.g., questionnaire, experiment) to employ. At this stage as well, theory informs decision making. 4. Collect data. A quantitative researcher will very carefully record and verify information, almost always in the form of numbers, and usually transfers the data into computerreadable format.

5. Analyze the data. Once the data are all collected, the researcher begins the fifth step, to analyze data (see Chapter 12). This typically involves manipulating the data or numbers using computer software to create many charts, tables, graphs, and statistics. Often the research ends up with a large quantity of computer-generated output that provides the researcher with a condensed picture of the data.

6. Interpret the data. By looking at the analyzed data, using background knowledge on the research topic and question, and drawing on theory, a researcher answers the original research question. A researcher also considers alternative interpretations of the data, compares the results of this study with previous studies, and draws out its wider implications. 7. Inform others. This means writing a report about the study in a specific format (described in Chapter 16) and presenting a description of the study and results to professional audiences and in one or more publications (see Figure 1.1).

Steps in Research Process

Quantitative Approach

Quantitative Studies
Quantitative Example 1. Yeuch-Ting Lee and Victor Ottati (2002) studied attitudes toward U.S. immigration policy and general ingroup/ outgroup feelings. Select a Topic The authors examined sources of American attitudes toward immigrants.

Focus the Question. The authors focused on California Proposition 187 designed to deny public services to illegal immigrants. Past research suggested that some people hold very strong membership feelings about their racial-ethnic group and treat non-group members unfavorably. They wanted to see whether this general orientation also shaped people's positions about the new law, because it had significant support and in public its supporters claimed they were not motivated by racial-ethnic prejudice. The authors compared three hypotheses about attitudes toward illegal immigrants: (1) an ingroup/ outgroup bias (i.e., people favor their own racial-ethnic group), (2) economic concerns (i.e., people fear a loss of jobs), or (3) obedience to law (i.e., people want everyone to obey the law).

Design the Study. The authors used a questionnaire with 10 questions about treatment of immigrants. A high score indicated humane treatment for all immigrants. They also asked participants whether an illegal immigrant's children born in the United States (hence U.S. citizens) should have an opportunity for education in the United States and whether they would vote for a law like Proposition 187. The authors conducted three studies in which participants read a story about a Mexican immigrant and answered questions about immigration and other issues. By varying the ethnic background of participants and the story, they sought to test the three hypotheses.

Collect the Data. Data for study 1 had two sets of 100 college students, one set from Springfield Massachusetts, and one from Mexico City, Mexico. Participants read a story about a hypothetical person who migrated to the United States from Mexico and would suffer many negative consequences if the Proposition 187 became law. In study 2, participants were 286 U.S. citizens of several ethnic groups. They read the same story and were asked about immigration. In study 3, participants were 125 Anglo American college students from California. Some read the same story about a Mexican immigrant, others one where the immigrant was an Anglo-Canadian. In addition to questions on immigration, the child's education, and voting, participants were asked about economic threat due to immigration and about the importance of obeying the law.

Analyze the Data. For study 1 data, the authors found large differences between U.S. and Mexican college students: 76 percent of the American versus 5 percent of Mexican college students favored Proposition 187. For study 2 data, they found large differences by ethnic group among Americans: Anglo Whites had the lowest favorable treatment scores, next came Asian and African Americans, and highest scores were given by Hispanics. The difference between Asian and African Americans and Hispanics were small, but that between non-Anglos and Anglos was large. For example, 70.0 percent of Anglos, 12.6 percent of Asian and African Americans, and 3.5 percent of Hispanics would vote for Proposition 187. In study 3, the authors statistically compared the impact of the story (Mexican versus Canadian immigrant), belief in economic threat, and law obedience.

Interpret the Data. The first two studies showed that Anglo Whites held a very different position from Mexican nationals and nonWhites. The source of Anglo White opinions was most interesting. Ethnic group membership, fear of economic threat, and law obedience each contributed to an unfavorable view on immigrants and support for Proposition 187. However, only the racial-ethnic factor predicted unfavorably on the question about the immigrant child's education. The authors concluded that although it was not the sole factor, a desire to exclude racial-ethnic outsiders was important for the anti-immigrant views of many Anglo Whites. Inform Others. The authors submitted their paper to the Journal of Social Psychology in July 2000, and it appeared in print in October 2001.

Quantitative Example 1

Alvarez and Butterfield (2000)

Select a topic
Who supports Cal. Prop. 187 and Why?

Focus the question

Was nativism the source for support for Cal. Prop. 187?

Design the study

Survey method

Collect the data

3,147 registered voters were polled as they left voting booths

Analyze the data

Statistical analysis employed

Interpret the data

Voters beliefs about economy predict support/opposition to Cal. Prop 187

Inform others
Published in Social Science Quarterly

Cultural meanings Focus on events Merging between theory and data Situational Small N Thematic analysis

Qualitative approaches deal with how people understand their experiences (i.e. qualities). The use of these approaches in psychology is often associated with a broader theoretical critique of quantitative approaches. This critique tends to point to certain problems with naturalism. Naturalism is the application of the methods of the natural sciences to the study of social or psychological phenomena. Thus, qualitative methods in psychology aim to explore meaning, and might well be chosen for the investigation of issues which, for ethical, practical or epistemological reasons, are difficult to 'measure.' (Epistemological reasons - e.g. because we have a philosophical concern about whether something can be known.)

Qualitative Research
Qualitative Researchinvolves finding out what people think, and how they feel - or at any rate, what they say they think and how they say they feel. This kind of information is subjective. It involves feelings and impressions, rather than numbers
Bellenger, Bernhardt and Goldstucker, Qualitative Research in Marketing, American Marketing Association

Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is multimethod in focus, involving an interpretative, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. Qualitative Researchers study things (people and their thoughts) in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.

Qualitative Research
Qualitative research involves the studied use and collection of a variety of empirical materials - case study, personal experience, introspective, life story, interview, observational, historical, interactional, and visual texts-that describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in individuals lives. Deploy a wide range of interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix on the subject matter at hand.

1. Acknowledge self and context. Qualitative researchers begin with a self-assessment and reflections about themselves as situated in a socio historical context. It is a highly self-aware acknowledgment of social self, or of a researcher's position in society. Many qualitative researchers rely on personal beliefs, biography, or specific current ssues to identify a topic of interest or importance. 2. Adapt a perspective. Qualitative researchers do not narrowly focus on a specific question, but ponder the theoreticalphilosophical paradigm (discussed in Chapter 4) in an inquisitive, open-ended settling-in process as they adopt a perspective. This means choosing a direction that may contain many potential questions.

Design a study and collect, analyze and interpret data. Like the quantitative researcher, a qualitative researcher will design a study (Chapter 6), collect data (Chapters 13-14), analyze data (see Chapter 15), and interpret data. The researcher not only uses or tests a past theory, but also builds new theory. At the interpret data stage, many quantitative researchers test hypotheses they previously developed whereas quali-tative researchers tend to create new concepts and emphasize constructing theoretical interpretations. Inform others, is similar for both approaches, but here again, the report styles to present results to other people vary by approach (see Chapter 16).

Steps in Research Process

Qualitative Approach

The seven steps are for one research project. A researcher applies one cycle of the steps in a single research project on a specific topic. Each project builds on prior research and contributes to a larger body of knowledge. The larger process of scientific discovery and accumulating new knowledge requires the involvement of many researchers in numerous research projects all at the same time. A single researcher may be working on multiple research projects at once, or several researchers may collaborate on one project.

Qualitative Example 1

Villenas (2001)
Acknowledge social self
1st generation Chicana born in LA, etc.

Adopt a perspective
Race-based feminist perspective

Design the study

Participant observation

Collect and analyze data

Tape-recorded oral life histories of 21 Latina community members

Interpret the data

White educators viewed American women as superior role models for Latina mothers

Inform others
Published in Anthropology and Education Quarterly