Intelligent Research Design: A Guide for Beginning Researchers in the Social Sciences

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Intelligent Research Design: A Guide for Beginning Researchers in the Social Sciences

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Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. Be the first to like this. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Intelligent research design a guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences pdf 1. This book offers advice to doctoral researchers and graduate and advanced undergraduate students on how to embark on their research. This lively book, deliberately jargon-free and with a hands-on, pragmatic approach to research design, addresses the problems that research students face--or ignore, often at their peril--in the course of their first few years.

Its central message is that research is a complex and iterative process in which researchers construct every relevant part of their project with one goal in mind: make a persuasive point. Dependability -- being able to account for changes in the design of the study and the changing conditions surrounding what was studied.

Dependent Variable -- a variable that varies due, at least in part, to the impact of the independent variable.

Direct Observation, Interviews, Participation, Immersion, Focus Groups

Deviation -- the distance between the mean and a particular data point in a given distribution. Discourse Community -- a community of scholars and researchers in a given field who respond to and communicate to each other through published articles in the community's journals and presentations at conventions. All members of the discourse community adhere to certain conventions for the presentation of their theories and research. Discrete Variable -- a variable that is measured solely in whole units, such as, gender and number of siblings.

Distribution -- the range of values of a particular variable. Effect Size -- the amount of change in a dependent variable that can be attributed to manipulations of the independent variable. A large effect size exists when the value of the dependent variable is strongly influenced by the independent variable. It is the mean difference on a variable between experimental and control groups divided by the standard deviation on that variable of the pooled groups or of the control group alone.

Emancipatory Research -- research is conducted on and with people from marginalized groups or communities.

Module description

It is led by a researcher or research team who is either an indigenous or external insider; is interpreted within intellectual frameworks of that group; and, is conducted largely for the purpose of empowering members of that community and improving services for them. It also engages members of the community as co-constructors or validators of knowledge.

Empirical Research -- the process of developing systematized knowledge gained from observations that are formulated to support insights and generalizations about the phenomena being researched. Epistemology -- concerns knowledge construction; asks what constitutes knowledge and how knowledge is validated. Research is completed through various methods but, since the researcher is immersed within the group for an extended period of time, more detailed information is usually collected during the research.

Expectancy Effect -- any unconscious or conscious cues that convey to the participant in a study how the researcher wants them to respond. Expecting someone to behave in a particular way has been shown to promote the expected behavior. Expectancy effects can be minimized by using standardized interactions with subjects, automated data-gathering methods, and double blind protocols.

External Validity -- the extent to which the results of a study are generalizable or transferable. Factor Analysis -- a statistical test that explores relationships among data. The test explores which variables in a data set are most related to each other. In a carefully constructed survey, for example, factor analysis can yield information on patterns of responses, not simply data on a single response. Larger tendencies may then be interpreted, indicating behavior trends rather than simply responses to specific questions.

Field Studies -- academic or other investigative studies undertaken in a natural setting, rather than in laboratories, classrooms, or other structured environments. Focus Groups -- small, roundtable discussion groups charged with examining specific topics or problems, including possible options or solutions. Focus groups usually consist of participants, guided by moderators to keep the discussion flowing and to collect and report the results. Framework -- the structure and support that may be used as both the launching point and the on-going guidelines for investigating a research problem.

Generalizability -- the extent to which research findings and conclusions conducted on a specific study to groups or situations can be applied to the population at large. Grounded Theory -- practice of developing other theories that emerge from observing a group. Theories are grounded in the group's observable experiences, but researchers add their own insight into why those experiences exist. Group Behavior -- behaviors of a group as a whole, as well as the behavior of an individual as influenced by his or her membership in a group.

Hypothesis -- a tentative explanation based on theory to predict a causal relationship between variables.


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Independent Variable -- the conditions of an experiment that are systematically manipulated by the researcher. A variable that is not impacted by the dependent variable, and that itself impacts the dependent variable. In the earlier example of "gender" and "academic major," see Dependent Variable gender is the independent variable. Individualism -- a theory or policy having primary regard for the liberty, rights, or independent actions of individuals.

Introduction to Social Research Methods - EdinburghX on edX

Inductive -- a form of reasoning in which a generalized conclusion is formulated from particular instances. Inductive Analysis -- a form of analysis based on inductive reasoning; a researcher using inductive analysis starts with answers, but formulates questions throughout the research process. Insiderness -- a concept in qualitative research that refers to the degree to which a researcher has access to and an understanding of persons, places, or things within a group or community based on being a member of that group or community.

Internal Consistency -- the extent to which all questions or items assess the same characteristic, skill, or quality. Internal Validity -- the rigor with which the study was conducted [e. It is also the extent to which the designers of a study have taken into account alternative explanations for any causal relationships they explore.

In studies that do not explore causal relationships, only the first of these definitions should be considered when assessing internal validity.

Module description

A life history is different from a "research story" in that it covers a longer time span, perhaps a complete life, or a significant period in a life. Margin of Error -- the permittable or acceptable deviation from the target or a specific value. The allowance for slight error or miscalculation or changing circumstances in a study.


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Measurement -- process of obtaining a numerical description of the extent to which persons, organizations, or things possess specified characteristics. Meta-Analysis -- an analysis combining the results of several studies that address a set of related hypotheses. Methodology -- a theory or analysis of how research does and should proceed. Methods -- systematic approaches to the conduct of an operation or process. It includes steps of procedure, application of techniques, systems of reasoning or analysis, and the modes of inquiry employed by a discipline.

Conceiving and Designing Political Science Research: Perspectives from Europe

Mixed-Methods -- a research approach that uses two or more methods from both the quantitative and qualitative research categories. It is also referred to as blended methods, combined methods, or methodological triangulation. Modeling -- the creation of a physical or computer analogy to understand a particular phenomenon. Modeling helps in estimating the relative magnitude of various factors involved in a phenomenon. A successful model can be shown to account for unexpected behavior that has been observed, to predict certain behaviors, which can then be tested experimentally, and to demonstrate that a given theory cannot account for certain phenomenon.

Models -- representations of objects, principles, processes, or ideas often used for imitation or emulation. Naturalistic Observation -- observation of behaviors and events in natural settings without experimental manipulation or other forms of interference. Norm -- the norm in statistics is the average or usual performance. For example, students usually complete their high school graduation requirements when they are 18 years old. Even though some students graduate when they are younger or older, the norm is that any given student will graduate when he or she is 18 years old.

Null Hypothesis -- the proposition, to be tested statistically, that the experimental intervention has "no effect," meaning that the treatment and control groups will not differ as a result of the intervention. Investigators usually hope that the data will demonstrate some effect from the intervention, thus allowing the investigator to reject the null hypothesis. Ontology -- a discipline of philosophy that explores the science of what is, the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes, and relations in every area of reality. Panel Study -- a longitudinal study in which a group of individuals is interviewed at intervals over a period of time.