What are the two main objectives of quantitative approaches?
- 1. To explain
- 2. To predict
Give me an example of a research question and the hypothesis that would go along with that question
Research question: why do some cities have higher crime rates than others?
Hypothesis: cities with higher rates of poverty have higher crime rates
What is the difference between causation models in social science versus Natural Science?
Causation models in social science are often probabilistic rather than deterministic. This is because there are often multiple causes. We're looking to determine how much weight or how much influence one variable may have on another
What is the underlying assumptions in the logic of causation?
Events and conditions have causes
What are the three criteria for causality?
- 1. The variables must be correlated
- 2. The cause takes place before the effect
- 3. The variables are nonspurious
What is correlation?
An empirical relationship between two variables such that changes in one are associated with changes in another
What is a spurious relationship?
When the observed correlation between the variables is actually explained in terms of a third variable
Give an example of a spurious relationship and an example of the nonspurious relationship that explains it
The correlation between shoe size and math ability is a spurious relationship
The correlation between age and shoe size as well as age and math ability are both non spurious relationships
What is a perfect statistical relationship?
100% of the effect in y is accounted for by X
There are usually a variety of causes, and our job is to understand which relationships are most significant and the strength of those relationships
What is the difference between applied research and basic research. Give an example of each
Applied research: research directed to finding answers to specific problems with immediate practical usage
Ex. Cost benefit analysis, social impact assessments, needs assessments, and evaluations of existing programs or policies
Basic research: research aimed to broaden our understanding of political life, seeking to advance general knowledge
Ex. Theory oriented research where knowledge is pursued for its own sake. Hypothesis testing through empirical research
What is a theory, and what does it do?
A theory is an integrated set of explanations of the political and social worlds.
A theory identifies a general pattern of behavior, from which we can both make predictions and empirically test relevant hypotheses
What is a proposition? Give an example of a hypothesis and the proposition that follows
A statement that claims that if the hypothesis is true, the following predicate of a subject is either true or false.
Think of it as an if-then statement
Hypothesis: an increase in political interest leads to an increase in political participation
Proposition. If an increase in political interest leads to an increase in political participation, then Canadians with a high level of political interest will display a relatively high levels of political participation.
What is action research / advocacy research? How does it differ from other research?
Advocacy research begins with the premise that one group is socially or economically disadvantaged and precedes to assume its causes.
It is inconsistent with the scientific method to the extent that it violates the idea that nothing is self evident
Describe the difference between correlation and causality
Two variables are correlated if a change in one occurs when there is a change in the other. There is a causal relationship when the change in one of the variables leads to or produces a change in the other
What is the difference between a hypothesis and a theory
A hypothesis will state the proposed causal relationship between two concepts
whereas the underlying theory will attempt to explain why these relationships exist
Describe the two approaches for developing a theory
- Inductive approach: move from data to Theory. We Begin by observing the world and develop generalizations and conclusions from our observations
- the progression from empirical evidence to generalization. Often exploratory. We begin with an open mind and look for patterns in Behavior
Deductive approach: moves from General to the specific, We begin with specific assumptions or hypotheses and set out to test them in the real world. Deductive research is often referred to as hypothesis testing
What is a good thing to consider when formulating hypotheses?
Ensure that they are empirically testable, which means that we do not use normative statements.
Ex. Avoid statements that use words like better or worse. Be more specific.
Before we conclude that support exist for are hypotheses, what must we do first?
We must first reject the null hypothesis
How do we become confident that a relationship is causal and not spurious?
We eliminate as many alternative explanations of the relationship as possible
What is an intervening variable?
A variable that comes between an independent and a dependent variable, but the direction of causality flows from the independent variable to the intervening variable to the dependent variable.
What is a reinforcing variable?
A variable that can strengthen and magnify the relationship between an independent and a dependent variable.
What is the caution to bear in mind when considering multiple independent variables?
The assumption of independence between the independent variables may not reflect the true relationships between these variables in the real world