Search in the document preview
Section 1 Correlation Dependent Hypothesis Independent Nonprobability Population Probability Qualitative Quantitative Questionnaires Reliable Scientific method Social research Survey Valid Variable Social research is research focused on various aspects of human behavior using specific rules and procedures. Researchers rely on the scientific method, a systematic, organized set of steps to conduct research. Researchers can summarize findings in two main approaches: quantitative research that collects and reports data in numeric form or qualitative research that emphasizes the nonnumerical interpretation of data. When researchers want to conduct a study they design a hypothesis, a proposed relationship between two or more variables. A variable is any trait or characteristic that changes and can be measured. The variable that the researcher thinks is causing a change is called the independent variable. The dependent variable is the variable that changes (i.e., the outcome). Researchers are more likely to look for relationships between variables, or correlation, because testing for causation is difficult in social research. Research findings should be reliable, meaning the measure produces consistent results, and valid, meaning the measure actually reflects what the researcher thinks it does. To test their hypotheses, researchers start with a target population – all the objects (people or things) that the researcher is interested in. From this target group, they can take either a probability sample, which is a smaller group of the population for which every person or thing has an equal chance of being selected. They can also take a nonprobability sample, which is a smaller group of the population where people or elements do not have an equal chance of being selected. There are several ways of collecting data for social scientists. The first is the survey methodology, where data is collected by administering questionnaires or in-person interviews.
Applied Confidentiality Content analysis Control Controlled Do no harm Ethical Evaluation Experimental Experimental Field research Human subjects Informed consent Nonparticipant Participant Social programs or policies Field research is data that is systematically collected from observation in a natural setting. If the researcher only observes, the research is called nonparticipant observation. If the researcher becomes part of the research project, it is called participant observation. If researchers systematically study some form of communication, they are using the content analysis research method. The experimental methodology is most likely to test actual cause and effect because researchers create a controlled environment where they can manipulate the variables. Researchers introduce the independent variable to the experimental group and compare them to a group that has not been exposed to the independent variable (the control group). A comparison of these two groups can help determine if the independent variable causes a change. The final research method, evaluation research, uses all of the data techniques to analyze the effectiveness of social programs or policies. This method is applied because it examines real-life efforts to solve social problems. Researchers who rely on human subjects must follow ethical guidelines to protect the people they study. The first guideline is for researchers to do no harm, physically or emotionally to the subjects. Subjects must give informed consent, indicating they know about the goals of the research and their participation in the project. Throughout the project, the researcher must protect the confidentiality of the participants.