File Intro to Sociology Home by mikeholy



Research Methods continued
     Steps in the research process

1.   Select a topic
2.   Literature Review
3.   Research design/ Methods
4.   Collect data
5.   Code data
6.   Results and discussion
7.   Inform Others

     Each of these steps has
      importance and
      different significance
1. Identify your topic
                          Problems in

                           Refine the
                          Why do good
                         teachers quit?
       2. Research-Literature Review
Read 10 or more academic sources, explain what has already been
said about your topic, and what you will add to this body of work
   Purposes of conducting research
   – Usually the first stage
   – Purpose to investigate a little understood issue
   – Primary purpose is to paint a picture
   – Describe all the details in facts, numbers,        and
   – Purpose is to explain why events occurs
   – Build, elaborate, or a test a theory
             3. Research Design/ Methods:
           Choose a way to examine the topic
•   Create one or more hypotheses
•   Determine how I will gather information
•   Determine the size of my study
•   Determine who will be in my study
•   Determine the type of study
           3. Research Design/ Methods:
         Choose a way to examine the topic
Quantitative                  Qualitative
Deals with numbers.           Deals with descriptions.
Data which can be measured.   Data can be observed but not
Surveys with close ended      measured.
questions                     Surveys with open-ended
Quantitative → Quantity       questions, interviews, case
                              Qualitative → Quality
            3. Research Design/ Methods:
Quantitative                              Qualitative
Deals with numbers.                       Deals with descriptions.
Data which can be measured.               Data can be observed but not
Surveys with close ended questions        measured.
Quantitative → Quantity                   Surveys with open-ended questions,
                                          interviews, case studies
                                          Qualitative → Quality

                                   Example: Coffee

  Quantitative data:                          Qualitative data:
  12 ounces of latte                          •robust aroma
  serving temperature 150º F.                 •frothy appearance
  serving cup 7 inches in height              •strong taste
  cost $4.95                                  •burgundy cup
       3. Research Design/ Methods:

                      Example: freshman class
Quantitative data:                     Qualitative data:
672 students                           friendly demeanors
394 girls, 278 boys                    interested in volunteering
68% on honor roll                      environmentalists
150 students                           positive school spirit
accelerated in

Size of study
Many possible units of analysis
The impact of:
    Nation (macro)
    District (meso)
    Individuals at the school (micro)
Macro analysis: public school teachers
throughout the United States

Micro level: public school teachers of K-5 in
Hawthorne School District
  What is the social significance of this issue?


• High teacher turnover correlates with low student
• is costly to the state
• negatively effects instruction (Futernick, 2007)
Explain your specific aims
Instead of asking a broad question:
Why do teachers quit?
Ask a question or design a hypothesis focusing on relationships:

“What is the relationship between ____and ____?”
Or “People who ____are more likely to _____
    What are the independent and dependent variables?

What is the relationship between teacher pay and teachers

What is the relationship between student behavior and
teachers quitting?

Teachers who work in low income schools are more likely to
 quit than those who do not
                    IRB Approval
Determine if you need IRB approval

IRB (Institutional review board) is a committee at U.S. colleges,
hospitals, and research institutes required by federal law to ensure
that research involving humans is conducted in a responsible, ethical
manner. It examines study details before the research begins
                           Unethical Studies
1931: Dr. Cornelius Rhoads conducted a cancer experiment in Puerto Rico
purposely infecting subjects with cancer cells, 13 subjects died

1946-48: U.S. recently (Oct 2010) apologized for deadly experiments on
hundred of Guatemalans injected with STD’s
U.S. public health service doctors injected Guatemalan patients with
syphilis and gonorrhea without their knowledge, to study the effect of
penicillin as a treatment

1968: Sterilization study, Puerto Rican women were convinced to have
tubal ligation (“tubes tied”)
1/3 of the women in the study were not told the operation was permanent

1932-1972: Tuskegee, Alabama. 399 African-American men were recruited
for clinical study of syphilis
Never told they had syphilis, never treated
Given free medical exams and free meals
4. Ways of collecting data
• Experimental research

• Surveys

• Existing statistics

• Content Analysis

• Field Research /Participant Observation
      Ways of collecting data

Experimental research

Researcher manipulates conditions for some

  participants but not others, and then compares

  groups responses
      Ways of collecting data

Survey Research

Getting information through questions.

Interviews or written surveys
    Ways of collecting data
Existing statistics research
Researcher reexamines and analyzes data that has been
  gathered by someone else
Example: Examining U.S. Census Reports on unemployment and
  police reports on homicides to determine if there is a
  correlation between unemployment and violent crime in a
  particular city
      Ways of Collecting Data: Content Analysis

Content analysis
A technique analyzing information in written or symbolic material:
photographs, movies, song lyrics, text, advertisements…

Example: recording the instances of positive, negative, and
  neutral portrayals of Black men in T.V. programs.

Example: recording the instances of thin versus full-figured
  women featured on the cover of a specific women’s beauty
                  Ways of collecting data
Field Research/
Participant observation

Researcher directly
observes and records notes
on people in a natural
setting for an extended
period of time.
5. Code, Analyze and Interpret Data
                  Code your information (look
                   for themes/patterns/trends)
                  Analyze your data
                  Present the data in an
                   organized, interesting
6. Results
                    6. Results
•   Discussion of results:
    interpret the data, discuss any
    shortcomings in your study
          7. Inform others
•   Summary/ conclusions
•   Get study published
•   Make recommendations
      Conducting social research

• Conducting social research in groups of 4-5.
• You have been awarded a generous grant to
  conduct social research on a topic of your
• 10 minutes
       Steps in the research process
1.   Select a topic, create a research question: specific aims, purpose,
     betterment of society?
2.   Literature review: useful because it helps you refine your question, state
     what you will add to current research
3.   Research designs/methods: carefully design research methods steps to
     ensure high reliability and ethical methods (consider sampling strategy and
     type of questions)
4.   Collect data: ethical, organized manner, may need IRB approval
5.   Code data: organize your data and look for themes, create charts/graphs
6.   Interpret: analyze, interpret, and discuss your results, include a discussion of
     any shortcomings in your methods
7.   Inform: share conclusions and recommendations
Questions for surveys and interviews
5 Types of Questions
1. Open-ended
2. Close-ended
3. Double-barreled questions
4. Contingency questions
5. Sleeper questions
       Questions for surveys and interviews

Open-ended question: type of survey research
 question in which respondents are free to offer
 any answer they wish to the question.

EX: What is one factor of the school environment
  that you find frustrating as a teacher?
        Questions for surveys and interviews

Closed-ended question: type of survey question
  in which respondents must choose from a fixed
  set of answers.

EX: Lack of planning time is a factor of my school
  environment that I find frustrating as a teacher.
a.Strongly agree
d.Strongly Disagree
      Questions for surveys and interviews

Contingency Questions: two- (or more) part

Ex: 1. Do you play basketball? _____(If yes, answer
  question 1a, if no skip to question 2)
       1a. How many days a week do you play basketball?

   2. Do you watch basketball games on TV? _______
     Questions for surveys and interviews: Rate your knowledge
     1. I recognize this civil rights leader and know his or her name
     2. I recognize the leader but can’t remember his or her name
     3. I don’t recognize this leader

A.                           B.                                 C.

D.                             E.                          F.
  Raise your hand if: now that you see the leader’s name you
  recognize him or her, remember learning about his or her work in school. Or
  if: you already knew about the leader even before seeing the name.

Martin Luther King Jr.          Dolores Huerta                  Cesar Chavez

  Malcom X                      Edward G. Tolliver          Mohandas Gandhi
      Questions for surveys and interviews
• Sleeper Questions: research questions about non-
  existent people, events, or places to determine if
  respondents are being honest about knowledge

Edward G. Tolliver
is not a civil rights leader
Program Director at Florida University

Example: in a study to determine which Civil Rights leaders U.S.
adults recognize, the name of a fictitious person was added.
15% of respondents said they “recognized” the leader.
       Types of questions to avoid
• Avoid double barreled questions
• consist of two or more questions joined
  together. It makes a respondent’s
  answer ambiguous.

Ex: “Does this company have vacation and
health insurance benefits?”

Why is this questions problematic?
       Types of questions to avoid
Avoid leading/loaded questions.
• A leading (or loaded) question is one that leads the
  respondent to choose one response over another by its
• Don’t make respondents feel that all responses are
• Let them become aware of an answer that the researcher

Example: “You don’t smoke, do you?”
leads respondents to state that
they do not smoke.
      Types of questions to avoid
Loaded questions can be stated to get either positive or
  negative answers.

“Should the mayor spend even more money trying to
keep the streets in top shape?”
“Should the mayor fix the potholed and dangerous streets
in our city?”

• Avoid qualifying terms “dangerous” “serious”
          Types of questions to avoid
Threatening or sensitive           Threat of questions and
  questions                        issues from high to low:
 Often do not get honest          1. Sexual behavior
  responses                        2. Mental health problems
 The higher threat a person       3. Drug or alcohol use while
  feels a question holds the           driving
  higher their likelihood to lie   4. Criminal behavior
 Respondents may be:              5. Income
 Afraid                           6. Political association
 Embarrassed                      7. Education
 Unable to confront their own     8. Occupation
  actions honestly                 9. Social activities
                                   10. Hobbies and sports
                    Partner Activity
1. Read the questions.
2. Discuss with a partner those questions that you feel are weak and
the mistake made
3. For those questions that you feel are weak, re-word the question
on the line below to improve it.

Types of questions to avoid:
Double barreled question
Sensitive questions
Threatening questions
Leading/loaded questions
Respondent unlikely to be able to answer correctly
Unclear questions
      Using a sample to collect data
• Instead of gathering data from 20 million people, a
  researcher may draw a sample of 2,000

• The results of a well-designed random sample can
  produce results that are equally accurate as trying to
  reach every single person in the whole population.
         Types of samples
1. Random sample

2. Snowball sampling

3. Quota Sampling

4. Convenience                    Males   Females
                       Under 18
                       Ages 18-
                       Ages 25+
                 Sampling Errors
 Convenience sampling can produce
 ineffective, highly unrepresentative
 samples and is not recommended.

The person-on-the-street interview conducted by television programs
  is an example of a convenience sample.
 Why is this sampling strategy problematic?

 •People walking past a television studio in the middle of the day do
 not represent everyone
 •Television interviewers often select people who look “normal” to
 them and avoid people who are unattractive, poor, very old, or
               Sampling Errors
• Another example of a convenience sample is that of a
  newspaper or magazine that asks readers to clip a
  questionnaire from the newspaper
• The number who respond may seem large but the sample
  cannot be used to generalize accurately to the population.
• Why is this strategy problematic?
              Types of Samples
•   Cross sectional
•   Time series
•   Panel
•   Cohort
•   Case study
Reliability in social research addresses the
Can others verify what a researcher has
  observed or recorded?
Can the results be duplicated?
      Problems with reliability
A researcher’s insight, awareness,
suspicions and questions can increase
Obstacles to reliability include behaviors
that can mislead the researcher:
    1.   Lies
    2.   Evasions
    3.   Misinformation
    4.   Fronts
Lies are simply untruths intended to
    mislead, give a false view, or
    protect identify.

A gang member may give false
    information about crimes
A club may give inflated
    membership numbers to appear
    more successful

Unintended falsehood caused by the
uncertainty and complexity of life.

Example: a nurse might state in an
interview that it is official policy to
wear white shoes because this is
what he or she was told at the onset
of the job. However, there might not
in fact be any such written policy
   Evasions are intentional acts of not revealing

This includes:
 not answering questions,
 answering a different question
    than asked
 switching topics
 answering in a purposefully
    vague manner
 Fronts are shared and learned lies and deceptions

For example, a bar that has a true purpose of
   providing a place to make illegal bets is a front.
                   Extra Credit: Hip Hop
1. Choose a hip hop song that highlights a social problem, says something about
   society, or gives insight into a subculture.

The focus of this assignment is not to criticize mainstream commercial hip hop
The purpose is to use conscious hip hop music (mostly the kind that is not on the
radio) as a way of looking at issues in our society.

Try to select a song that focuses on one social issue, rather than touching briefly on
                   Hip Hop Extra Credit
         Recommended Artists                      Artists recommended to
Atmosphere             Juggaknots
Arrested               Fashawn
Development            Nas
                                                 Young Money
A Tribe Called Quest   Talib Kweli
                                                 David Guetta
Brand Nubian           Common
                                                 Gucci Mane
Gang Starr             Mos Def
Giant Panda            Pete Rock and C.L
                                                 50 Cent
De La Soul             Poor Righteous Teachers
Dilated Peoples        Dead Prez
                                                 Lil Wayne
Queen Latifah          Nneka
                                                 Young Jeezy
KRS One                The Fugees
Lupe Fiasco            Queen Latifah
Tanya Morgan
                   Extra Credit: Hip Hop
On May 23rd, 2011: Present the song.

3.   Bring in the clean version, bring the clean lyrics (make copies, youtube video of
     lyrics, or some other way to share the lyrics)

4.   Prepare to tell us why you picked the song, and connect it to sociology
     (something we learned in class or in the text book.)

5. Think of two questions to ask the class related to the song that you believe will
spark discussion. More details on this assignment will be posted on the website.
                 Extra Credit: Hip Hop
*If the song or lyrics are not the clean version you will not earn any points

*The sooner you e-mail me your song selection the better, avoid someone else
picking the same song first

Only the first 10 students to e-mail their song can be selected for this extra
credit option due to time

4 points possible

Bring in one copy of the lyrics with your name and questions on it to turn in

Other extra credit options on website, Extra Credit Tab
           See you Wednesday
• Quiz 3 May 18th
• E-mal me if you are going to do the Hip Hop Extra
  Credit (write Soc 101 HIP HOP in subject)
• Return Quiz 2 scantron (if you have not already),
  scores need to be re-recorded

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