Methods of Research by jcgx0jT


									Methods of Research
       Why Research Methods?
• Purpose:
  – Establishing causation through evidence
  – Different methods of research provide different
    types of evidence
  – Who cares?
     • In any form of argumentation, you are inevitably using
       research methods.
  – 2 main types:
     • Qualitative Methods
     • Quantitative Methods
        Causation & Correlation
• What is the difference between the two?
• Why does it matter?
  – E.g.s?
         Quantitative Methods
• What are quantitative methods?
  – Methods of research that try to establish
    causation through the use of quantifiable data,
    and mathematical tools
  – In the end, all quantitative methods aspire to
    follow the scientific method.
  – The modern understanding of scientific method:
• Experiments: The dominant method to
  causation in modern scholarship
• Causation as “effects of causes”, ceteris
• Types of Experiments:
  – Laboratory Experiments
  – Natural Experiments
  – “Quasi”- Experiments
           “Quasi” Experiments
• Sometimes, experiments are unfeasible for a
  variety of reasons, ethical & logistical.
   – Can you think of examples?
• Alternative solutions:
   – Statistical approaches: Instead of running
     experiments, we try to approximate experiments
     using statistical tools
• The simplest way is correlational analysis.
• From there, approaches get increasingly complex
          Qualitative Methods
• But quantitative approaches aren’t the only
  way to “prove” arguments.
• What are qualitative methods?
  – Methods of research that use non-mathematical
    tools to gather evidence and establish causation
  – Causes of effects approach [as opposed to
  – Much more conducive to inductive reasoning
             Qualitative Methods
• There are different types of qualitative
  research methods:
  – Ethnographic Approaches
  – Historiographical Approaches
  – Archival Research
     • There is often overlap amongst the various approaches
• Often, there are ways to quantify qualitative
  – E.g.s?
                  Pros & Cons
• There are advantages & disadvantages of both
  – Neither is superior to the other, despite what many
    may say.
• Pros & Cons of Quant:
  – Rigor; When done well, it is often persuasive.
  – Comes with severe risks – easily misapplied;
    correlation & causation. Quant is often incomplete
• Pros & Cons of Qual:
  – Qual methods get directly at the ‘why’.
  – Also easily misapplied – lack of rigor.
            Parting Thoughts
• Social science as hard science?
  – How do you “prove” arguments?
  – Can a theory ever be disproven completely?
  – What does disconfirming evidence look like?
  – How much disconfirming evidence should you
    look at?
  – At what point do you know that your argument is

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