Hypothesis and Research - Thesis - Project Seminar - Lecture Slides, Slides for Sociology
ramchandra9 September 2013

Hypothesis and Research - Thesis - Project Seminar - Lecture Slides, Slides for Sociology

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The course will concentrate on helping students to identify a social work problem that meets the expectation of adding to social work practice and knowledge. Key points of these lecture slides are: Hypothesis and Resear...
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Hypothesis & Research Questions

Hypothesis & Research Questions

Understanding Differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches


We have identified three major approaches to research

 Exploratory/qualitative

 Descriptive

 Explanatory/quantitative


Two of these approaches are considered distinct paradigms. (Paradigms are models or worldviews)

 Qualitative (inductive method; incorporates values and perspectives of both researcher and participants).

 Quantitative (deductive – reasoning from general theories to specific instances. Researchers are supposed to be objective.)


Quantitative or explanatory studies focus on casual relationships and

 Have at least two variables

 Is used to prove or disprove whether there is a causal relationship between two variables.

 Can be expressed as a prediction or an expected future outcome.

 Is logically linked to a research question or theory.


Hypothesis are used to state the relationship between two variables and may be stated as

 Null hypotheses (no relationship between two variables).

 Nondirectional hypotheses (we don’t know or won’t speculate about the direction of the relationship between two variables).

 Directional hypotheses. We state the direction of the relationship between two variables.


Relationships specify:

 How the value of one variable changes in relation to another.

 May be either positive, negative, or the two variables may not have any relationship to one another.

 Are not necessarily correlations. The type of relationship or association among variables is determined by the level of measurement of each of the two variables.


Examples of relationship type: Negative Positive None

1 5 1 1 1 3

2 4 2 2 2 1

3 3 3 3 3 5

4 2 4 4 4 4

5 1 5 5 5 2


Examples of hypothesis type:

 Null: There will be no difference in scores on Hudson’s self-esteem scale between men and women.

 Directional: Women will have higher scores than men on Hudson’s self-esteem scale.

 Nondirectional: There will be a difference by gender in Hudson’s self-esteem scale scores.


In descriptive studies, we:

 Can specify one or more variables.

 We don’t know enough to specify the direction of the relationship among the variables.

 We may simply wish to describe who participants in a study and how they act, believe, perceive the world, or look.

 We use a research question rather than a hypothesis.


Examples of research questions for

descriptive studies are:

 What percentage of participants in this study are women?

 What is the clients’ degree of satisfaction with the services provided by the Fresno Social Service Agency?

 Do men or women score higher on the graduate record exam?

 What percentage of people living in Census Track 200 have incomes below the poverty line?

 What candidate are California voters most likely to support for president?


Qualitative research:

 Involves interpretation of a situation, set of behaviors, or a setting.

 Analysis must take place within a context – different findings may accrue in different settings or situations.

 Different researchers may view the same situation and obtain different results.

 Assumes there is no one right or wrong answer.

 Comes from a particular set of assumptions or theories about how research should take place.


For example, most qualitative research assumes that traditional research excludes the perceptions of most social groups. The most common types of qualitative research include:

 Feminist – (assumes women are oppressed; looks at subjects as research

partners).  Ethnography – focuses on values, beliefs, and practices as well as culture.

Ethnography most often looks at unique ethnic or cultural groups; ethnography can also examine organizations and groups.

 Grounded theory – does not use any previous theories or perspectives; totally inductive approach. Primary outcome is development of theory

 Biography/Narrative – working with one individual or small group of individual interviewees, the researcher obtains information about that person’s life or unique experiences and interprets, identifies patterns, and reports on what he/she has found.

 Phenomenology – describes the meaning of the “lived” experiences of a small number of people. Studies how people experience or perceive a phenomenon. Based on the philosophy of phenomenology.

 Case Study – uses a combination of interviews, observation, and document analysis to study an organization, group, community, or individual subject. May simply report on an event or situation. May examine the impact of a intervention, but also looks at the context in which it takes place.


For example, assumptions/theory

associated with feminist research are:

 Advocacy of feminist values.

 Rejections of theories developed by traditional (white,male) researchers.

 Rejection of sexism in assumptions, concepts, and research questions.

 Creation of a personal relationship between the researcher and participants.

 Sensitivity to how gender and power relationships affect all social life.

 Incorporates both the researcher’s and participants feelings and perceptions.

 Action-oriented or applied research, The purpose of research is to reduce sexism. docsity.com

Research questions in qualitative


 Usually focus on one concept or idea.

 Generally don’t make comparisons among groups.

 Can be based on hunches or personal experience.

 Usually pertain to the actions or perceptions of participants.


Examples of qualitative research

questions are:

 How do members of the Hmong community experience grief?

 How do Latinos in rural communities perceive their ability to obtain public social services?

 How do Vietnamese women view domestic violence?

 Why do teenagers join street gains?


Another way to tell if research questions are quantitative, qualitative, or descriptive


 Quantitative research focuses on causal relationships and their impact (outcomes). They also answer “what” questions.

 Descriptive research answers “what” and “who” questions.

 Qualitative research answers “how” and “why” questions or process.


Ways to select research topics:

 Personal experience.

 Whether you want to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention or understand how or why it works

 Curiosity about something in the media.

 State of knowledge in the field

 Solving a problem.

 Hot topics under discussion

 Personal values

 Everyday life.

 Gaps in the research and theoretical literature.


Techniques for narrowing a topic:

 Examine the literature. You can repeat a previous study, explore unexpected findings from previous studies. Follow author suggestions for future research, extend a theory to a new topic.

 Talk over ideas with others.

 Apply research to a specific demographic group.

 Define the aim or desired outcome of the study.


Additional differences between quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative Qualitative

Tests hypotheses Research questions; Discovers meaning once the researcher becomes immersed in data.

Concepts are in the form of measurable variables

Concepts are often only measurable in that they are ideas that can be substantiated by observation or interviews

Measures are created before data collection and are standardized

Measures are created in an ad hoc manner and are often specific to the setting or the researcher.

Data are in the form of numbers from precise measurement

Data are in the form of words and images from documents, observations, and transcripts.

Procedures are standard. It’s assumed that the study will be repeated.

Research procedures are specific to the setting or participants and probably can not be replicated.

Analysis uses statistics, tables, and charts and discusses how what they show relates to the hypothesis.

Analysis involves extracting themes from evidence and organizing data into themes and categories to present a coherent, consistent picture.


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