What are the two categories of reality from which we may gain knowledge?
1. Agreement reality: what we know as part and parcel of the culture we share with those around us. This type of reality makes up the bulk of our knowledge
2. Experiential reality: what we know from personal experience and discovery.
What are the four common errors in inquiry?
1. Inaccurate observations: we often observe things casually and make mistakes, whereas science makes use of precise measurements
2. Overgeneralization: we assume that a few similar events are evidence for the general pattern. Replication of a research study helps to confirm the findings, as well as a large and representative sample
3. Selective observation: when we focus on observations that fit the pattern or Theory and ignore sources of data that do not. The solution is to look for deviant cases that do not fit into the general pattern and be able to account for all of your observations.
4. Illogical reasoning: reading a conclusion through fallacious reasoning. Make sure to ask if the conclusion follows the premise
What are the differences between scientific knowledge and ordinary human inquiry?
scientific knowledge is gained by experience, observation and logic whereas ordinary human inquiry is based largely on tradition and Authority
What are the four strengths to the scientific method?
1. It attempts to minimize the effect of the observer on the observed
2. It direct our attention to the dynamics of cause and effect
3. it can be used to explain and predict
4. it seeks law like generalization that can be applied to the political world across time and space
What are the three major aspects of social scientific enterprise?
- 1. Theory
- 2. Data collection
- 3. Data analysis
Scientific theory deals with the logical aspect of science
Data collection deals with the observational aspect
Data analysis looks for patterns and compares what is expected with what is actually observed
What is the difference between a theory and a philosophy or belief? (2)
1. A theory deals with what is and not what should be
2. A theory is value-free by acknowledging one's own personal values and not allowing them to distort one's objectivity
What is action research or participatory research?
Research that is used to empower people that are disenfranchised or marginalized. They believe that it should always be challenging power and people that oppress others
What is a variable? (2)
- 1. Logical groupings of attributes.
- Ex. The variable 'class' is made up of the attributes High middle and low income.
2. A type that varies across an aggregate
What is an attribute?
The characteristics of people or things that makeup a certain variable
Ex. Male and female are attributes of the variable gender
Caucasian and Aboriginal are attributes of the variable race or ethnicity
Upper and lower are attributes of the variable social class
What is a hypothesis?
A statement of a proposed causal relationship between two concepts
What is a null hypothesis? (2) Give example
1. The inverse of the research hypothesis:
2. The claim that there is no relationship between the independent and dependent variables
Ex. If a hypothesis states that the more education someone has the less prejudiced they become, the null hypothesis would state that there is no relationship between education and prejudism.
What is the difference between an independent and dependent variable?
Independent variable has values that are taken as a given. It is not dependent on other causes and is presumed to cause or determine a dependent variable. The department variable is is assumed to depend on or be caused by an independent variable.
What are the characteristics of quantitative data? (4)
- 1. Observations are explicit
- 2. Easier to aggregate compare and summarize data
- 3. Potential for statistical analysis
- 4. Deductive logic
What are the challenges with quantitative data (3)
- 1. Not in depth
- 2. Difficult capture complex phenomena
- 3. Difficult to determine what the real meaning of a number is?
What are the characteristics of qualitative data? (4)
- 1. Rich in information
- 2. Captures complex social phenomena well
- 3. Inductive reasoning
- 4. In depth
Usually small case studies that are usually textual based.
What are the challenges of using qualitative data? (4)
- 1. Cannot generalize
- 2. Cannot do statistical analysis
- 3. Cannot predict
- 4. Cannot estimate the relationship between two variables
Give an example of when you would choose to conduct qualitative and quantitative research?
If you live in a village in Mexico and want to learn about the experiences of women, you would use a qualitative approach
If you want to learn about the experiences of women in all of the factories in Mexico, you would use a quantitative approach
What are three important questions to consider when designing a research project?
1. Does my study seek to uncover broad generalizations about the political world or am I seeking a narrower more in-depth understanding of a particular phenomenon?
2. Will my examination involve a large number of individuals, groups, or countries or will I focus on a small number of cases?
3. Do I have a predefined set of hypotheses I wish to test or is my study more exploratory in nature?
What is the main purpose of a quantitative approach?
A quantitative approach seeks to understand political life through the study of a large quantity or number of cases.
A case is a single unit, which could be individuals, legislators, organizations, nation-states, Court decisions, or whatever the unit of Interest may be
What are three common misconceptions surrounding the relationship between quantitative and qualitative methods?
1. No research topic is inherently qualitative or quantitative
2. Specific methodologies do not belong solely to one tradition or the other
3. It is becoming increasingly uncommon and unpopular to refer to individuals as being purely quantitative or qualitative researchers.
What are the epistemological differences between the two traditions? Use one word to describe the elements of research in both quantitative and qualitative tradition?
1. Primary intent 2. Ultimate objective 3. Approach to reality 4. Position of researcher 5. Theory development
- 1. Primary intent - quantitative to test hypotheses qualitative to address questions
- 2. Ultimate objective - quantitative generalizability qualitative specificity
- 3. Approach to reality - quantitative manipulative qualitative organic
- 4. Position of researcher - quantitative distance qualitative instrumental
- 5. Theory development - quantitative primarily deductive qualitative primarily inductive
What is the difference in data format between qualitative and quantitative methods?
Qualitative analysis deals in numbers and
qualitative analysis deals with phenomena in terms of words images symbols and other non numerical forms
What is the difference in data processing between quantitative and qualitative research?
- Quantitative research applies statistical formulas and other mathematical procedures whereas
- qualitative approaches extract distinct themes and motifs from the data
What are the standards of evidence in both the quantitative and qualitative approaches?
The quantitative approach relies on statistical significance and other measures of probability to establish the boundaries of its conclusion.
The qualitative approach reports the plausibility of its findings based on how conceivable the findings are to the real world situation.
Briefly describe the four essential elements of all legitimate social science research
- 1. Authenticity - to what extent is the recorded data a genuine reflection of reality?
- 2. Portability - the results are to be applicable to other environments in some way the degree to which the results of the study can be generalized Beyond specific research content in which it was conducted
- 3. Precision - the ability to replicate the results is a fundamental component of the quantitative approach. For qualitative research, the focus shifts from reliability to the standard of dependability where the most important question is whether the results are consistent with the data collected and make sense
- 4. Impartiality - research food can be impartial knowledge about the world as opposed to normative opinions. Quantitative methods aim to protect a studies objectivity where is all qualitative inquiry contain some element of subjectivity.
What is triangulation?
- The combination of multiple research strategies to maximize the variety of data collected. It is the foremost means of protecting the legitimacy of political research.
- A mixed methods research approach using both qualitative and quantitative methods in one study is one way to accomplish this
What are 5 legitimacy checks used to ensure trustworthiness in your research?
- 1. Triangulation - combination of multiple research strategies
- 2. Detailed findings - thick descriptions, copious footnotes, statistical tables, graphs etc
- 3. Publish data - provide reasonable access to both their data and raw materials
- 4. Research teams - a larger group working together can help to ensure the Precision of the data and impartiality of the analyses.
- 5. Peer assessment - invite input from peers outside one's home academic community is often beneficial