Soc 315 final

  1. content analysis
    research technique used to make replicable and valid interfaces by coding and interpreting the content in textual material
  2. most content analysis of the media is likely to have several research Q's, generally revolving around the 5 W's
    • who (does the reporting)
    • what (gets reported)
    • where (does the issue get reported)
    • why (does the issue get reported)
    • when (does it get reported)
  3. content
    any kind of messaging that can be communicated
  4. text
    anything written, visual, or spoken that serves as a medium of communication
  5. unofficial documents
    • activists' texts, protest movements' facebook pages, protest signs, unofficial politics
    • not studied as much
  6. texts analyzed by sociologists
    • police news releases (police have a large impact on how crime is reported on/received)
    • job description postings
    • monthly calendars
  7. why should we care about content?
    people are influenced by the messages distributed socially
  8. agenda-setting
    strong correlation between the emphasis that mass media places on certain issues and their perceived importance by the mass public
  9. what things need to be counted (content analysis)?
    • words
    • subjects and themes (manifest [obvious] content and latent [underlying] content)
    • value positions of the writer
  10. coding schedule
    form onto which the data are entered
  11. coding manual
    set of instructions to coders that includes all possible categories for each dimension to be coded
  12. cultivation theory
    • examines the long-term effects of television
    • TV exposure plays an independent role in shaping individuals' sense of social reality
  13. 4 rules of content analysis
    • valid
    • rigorous
    • reliable 
    • replicable
  14. pros of content analysis
    • typically non-obtrusive and non-reactive (no ethics review)
    • summarizes content of large volumes of info
    • quantifying helps ensure the analysis is valid, rigorous, reliable, replicable
    • useful as part of a mixed-method design
  15. limitations of content analysis
    • doesnt answer effects of content
    • labour intensive
    • some texts hard to obtain
    • measurement can be tricky
    • validity issues
    • can be reductionist, obscure the larger meaning
  16. things to watch for/be careful of when developing a content analysis coding scheme
    • mutually exclusive categories
    • exhaustive
    • clear instructions
    • clear unit of analysis
  17. inter-coder reliability
    consistency between coders
  18. intra-coder reliability
    the degree to which an individual coder is consistent over time in the coding of an item
  19. data sources
    • magazines
    • newspapers
    • diaries 
    • comics
    • photo albums
    • movies, tv shows
    • social media 
    • textbooks
  20. assessing the qualify of documents
    • authenticity
    • credibility
    • representativeness (who wrote/produced, which strata/class)
    • meaning (verestehen)
  21. quantitative content analysis
    • coding data into predetermined categories 
    • statistical analysis
  22. qualitative content analysis
    seeking to uncover deeper meanings
  23. quantitative approaches to content analysis
    • coding open-ended questions
    • content analysis
  24. qualitative approaches to content analysis
    • coding unstructured and semi-structured interviews
    • narrative (life history) analysis
    • critical discourse analysis
  25. semiotics
    • analysis of signs and symbols encountered in everyday life and their underlying social meaning
    • seeks to uncover the hidden meanings that resides in texts
  26. sign (semiotics)
    • something that stands for something else
    • each has two parts, the signifier (manifestation of sign) and the signified (the deeper meaning to which the signifiers refers)
  27. denotative meaning (semiotics)
    manifest/obvious meaning of a signifier and as such indicates its function
  28. connotative meaning (semiotics)
    can arise in conjunction with the denotative meaning
  29. polysemy (semiotics)
    the notion that signs can be interpreted in many different ways
  30. hermeneutics
    • qualitative
    • analysis of a text must seek its meaning from the perspective of its author
    • consider social and historical context in which it was placed
  31. narrative analysis
    • analysis of "stories" told by interviews, texts, photos, etc 
    • less emphasis on current beliefs and behaviour, more on how the past has shaped the present 
    • need to understand it in social context; narratives also shape social reality
  32. discourse analysis
    • how understandings of social world are produced through discourse 
    • the way we collectively talk about social/economic phenomena 
    • can focus on lots of different kinds of texts
  33. critical discourse analysis
    • how unequal power relationships are maintained and reinforced through dominant discourses
    • "regimes of truth": assumptions about what is "normal" and "right" are reinforced and shape people's beliefs, identities, actions
    • "deconstructs" the dominant discourses, shows why its used and why it is effective
    • those without power become self-diciplining by accepting the dominant discourses 
    • alternative discourses tend to be silenced
  34. ways of exercising qualitative research incl:
    • discourse and narrative analysis
    • qualitative interviewing
    • focus groups
    • participant observation + ethnography
    • case studies
  35. quantitative vs qualitative methods
    • more flexibility in qualitative 
    • more opportunity for novel answers in qualitative
    • numbers vs words
    • "hard" data vs "deep" data
    • amount of contact bw researcher and participant
    • point of view: researcher vs. study participant
    • generalizeability vs conceptual understanding
  36. critiques of qualitative research
    • "soft science", not as reliable as the other sciences, not falsifiable 
    • too hard to analyze
    • difficult to code
    • time-consuming and expensive
    • face to face more, ethical breaches and social desireability 
    • too subjective
    • difficult to replicate 
    • but this is all ok, because qualitative goals are different
  37. goals of qualitative research
    • deeper understanding 
    • contextual understanding: locating meaning and actions within locations they occur
    • empathetic understanding: see through the eyes of others, try to understand the meaning of beliefs and behaviours
  38. qualitative research methodology
    • typically inductive (no guiding theories or hypothesis usually)
    • typically concept and theory developing rather than testing
    • emphasis on process (understanding how beliefs, behaviours, practices evolve over time)
    • emphasis on flexibility (allowing researcher to change focus and research questions depending on emerging findings)
  39. alternative criteria for evaluating qualitative research
    • credibility
    • transferability 
    • dependability
    • confirmability
  40. credibility of qualitative research
    • parallels "internal validity"
    • how credible are the findings, and their interpretation by the researcher?
  41. transferability of qualitative research
    • parallels "external validity"
    • qualitative research is highly context-specific; goals are not really to generalize as much as possible
    • thick description: highly detailed accounts of contexts and findings, allowing other researchers to determine whether this aplies to their study 
    • generalization of theoretical concepts more than specific findings
  42. dependability of qualitative research
    • parallels measurement "reliability" (inter-observer reliability)
    • auditing of research conclusions by other researchers
  43. confirmability of qualitative researchers
    • similar to emphasis on "objectively" in quantitative research
    • have personal values or biases influenced how the research was conducted and how the findings were interpreted?
    • more detailed discussion of researcher's background and values
  44. sampling in qualitative research
    • almost always non-probability sampling
    • combo of voluntary, quota (judgement), and snowball sampling
    • still important for some level of representativeness
  45. grounded theory
    • approach to the analysis of qualitative data in which the goal is to use the data to generate theory
    • data collection and analysis proceed in an iterative (recursive) fashion
    • highly inductive
    • not an excuse for no research questions
  46. field research
    • strong emphasis on understanding behaviour within culture and spatial context
    • researcher immersed in a particular social setting for an extended period of time 
    • primary method for anthropology, less common in sociology 
    • typically multi-method
    • theoretical sampling and grounded theory are typical
  47. open vs closed settings
    • open: nothing restricting you from going and becoming part of an environment you want to study
    • closed: hard to get into the setting you want to study, ex. gangs
  48. overt vs. covert research
    • overt: very open that you are a researcher, are there for research
    • covert: not as outwardly obvious you are researching
  49. participant observer role: involvement
    • staying undercover 
    • "going native"
    • getting involved in illegal/problematic activity
    • credibility of findings if you're the only person observing the research
  50. participant observer role: detachment
    • risk of incorrect interpretation of activity
    • only relying on sight
    • reactivity (by subjects of study)
    • failing to really understand
  51. participatory action research (PAR)
    • typically qualitative
    • goal is to solve some problem for the population (increase the group's ability to act in its own interest)
    • participatory because the participants are helping collect the information
    • researchers act as resources to those being studied
    • report back to locals as well as scholarly community
  52. conducting research involving humans in Canada
    • legal constraints: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    • funding source constraints: from federal agencies
    • professional constraints: ex. Canadian Sociological Association Code of Ethics
  53. social science research involving "no human risk"
    • there is always some risk!!!
    • the only kinds of social science research that is exempt from REB assessment is secondary data analysis (usually), and public activity by public features (ex. writing about what politicians say in the news, etc)
  54. 5 research ethics boards at the UofA
    • animal research
    • medical research
    • invasive medical research
    • interviews, ethnography, etc (qualitative)
    • quantitative
  55. triangulation
    • multiple methods to answer a single question to corroborate findings
    • goal: increased external validity
    • usually combo of qualitative + quantitative
  56. complementarity
    use of 2 or more different research strategies to investigate diverse aspects
  57. external reliability
    • mostly quantitative term
    • the degree to which a study can be replicated
  58. internal reliability
    • mostly quantitative term
    • the degree to which the items that make up a scale or index are consistent or correlated
  59. internal validity
    • mostly quantitative term
    • whether there is a good match between the researchers' observations and the theoretical ideas they develop
  60. external validity
    • mostly quantitative term
    • degree to which findings can be generalized across social settings
  61. credibility
    • parallels internal validity
    • how credible are the findings, and their interpretation by the researcher?
    • do findings appear credible to the participants in the study?
  62. respondent validation
    • a process where researchers provide the people who they conducted research on which an account of their findings and request their feedback on it 
    • aim: to seek corroboration or feedback on the researcher's observations and interpretations
  63. transferability
    • parallels external validity
    • since qualitative research is very context-specific, the goals aren't really to generalize as much as possible, so researchers want thick description to provide others with the database they need in order to assess the possible transferability of findings to other projects/areas?
  64. thick description
    highly detailed accounts of contexts and findings, allowing other researchers to determine whether this applies to their study
  65. dependability
    • parallels reliability
    • auditing of research conclusions by other researchers
  66. confirmability
    • parallels objectivity in quantitative research
    • have personal values or biases influenced how the research was conducted and how the findings were interpreted?
    • more detailed discussion of researcher's background and values
  67. theoretical saturation
    • no new or relevant data seem to be emerging regarding a category
    • category is well-developed in terms of proportion and dimensions demonstrating variation 
    • the relationships among categories are well-established and validated
  68. in semi-structured or unstructured interviews, the process is designed to _________
    bring out how interviewees themselves interpret and make sense of issues and events
  69. interview guide
    • shorter and less detailed than a structured interview schedule
    • brief list of prompts for areas to be covered for unstructured interviews, more elaborate list of questions or issues for semi-structured interviews
    • make sure actual questioning is flexible
  70. kinds of questions
    • introducing questions
    • follow-up questions
    • probing questions
    • specifying questions
    • direct questions
    • indirect questions
    • structuring questions
    • silence
    • interpreting questions
  71. focus groups offer the opportunity to study ________
    how individuals collectively make sense of a phenomenon and construct meanings of it
  72. symbolic interactionism
    • meanings and understandings are not derived by individuals in isolation, rather they develop out of interactions and discussions with others
    • part of what focus groups help get at
  73. limitations of focus groups
    • researcher probably has less control over proceedings than in individual interviews
    • an unwieldy amt of data is sometimes produced
    • data may be difficult to analyze
    • focus groups are difficult to arrange
    • group effects may be a problem
    • group pressure to conform? to present socially-acceptable views?
  74. institutional ethnography
    • Dorothy Smith
    • type of ethnography that explains how institutional discourses (like workplace documents) relate to people's everyday experiences with institutions, and how institutional relationships intersect with larger systems of social control and power in a society
    • has its roots in feminist methodologies
  75. multi-strategy research
    studies that combine qualitative and quantitative methods in the same project
  76. analytic induction
    approach to the analysis of qualitative data in which the collection of data continues and the hypothesis is modified until no cases inconsistent with it are found
  77. epistemological argument on the debate over quantitative and qualitative research
    • sees quantitative and qualitative research as grounded in incompatible epistemological principles (and ontological ones)
    • sees multi-strategy research as not possible in principle
  78. technical argument on the debate over quantitative and qualitative research
    • research methods are perceived as independent of any specific epistemological position
    • a research method from one research strategy can be pressed in the service of another
    • quantitative and qualitative methods can be used
  79. epistemology
    a branch of philosophy concerned with what constitutes knowledge and how knowledge is to be acquired
  80. ontology
    • a branch of philosphy concerned with the nature of reality
    • ex. whether social entities can and should be considered objective entities with a reality external to specific social actors, or as social constructions built up through the perceptions and actions of these actors
  81. constructionism
    an ontological position according to which social phenomena and their meanings are continually being created by social actors
  82. objectivism
    an ontological position according to which social phenomena have an existence independent of social actors or their perceptions
  83. positivism
    an epistemological position that advocates using the methods of the natural sciences int he study of social reality
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Soc 315 final
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