Introduction to Social Science Research (ibcom BA year I, term I)

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129 Terms

1

agreement reality

those things we "know" as part and parcel of the culture we share with those around us

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2

epistemology

the science of knowing; systems of knowledge

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3

methodology

the science of finding out; procedures for scientific investigation

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4

replication

repeating an experiment to expose or reduce error

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5

theory

a systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of life (e.g. political revolution)

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6

attribute

a characteristic of a person or thing

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7

variable

a logical set of attributes. (e.g. the variable sex is made up of the attributes male and female)

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8

independent variable

a variable with values that are not problematical in an analysis but are taken as simply given. It's presumed to cause or determine a dependent variable.

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9

dependent variable

a variable assumed to depend on or be caused by another

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10

idiographic

an approach to explanation in which we seek to exhaust the idiosyncratic causes of a particular condition or event

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11

nomothetic

an approach to explanation in which we seek to identify a few causal factors that generally impact a class of conditions or events

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12

induction

the logical model in which general principles are developed from specific observations

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13

deduction

the logical model in which specific expectations of hypotheses are developed on the basis of general principles

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14

tolerance of ambiguity

the ability to hold conflicting ideas in your mind simultaneously, without denying or dismissing any of them

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15

hypothesis

a specified testable expectation about empirical reality that follows from a more general proposition (expectation about the nature of things derived from a theory)

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16

operationalization

the process of developing operational definitions, or specifying the exact operations involved in measuring a variable (step beyond conceptualization)

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17

operational definition

the concrete and specific definition of something in terms of the operations by which observations are to be categorised

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18

null hypothesis

In connection with hypothesis testing and tests of statistical significance, that hypothesis that suggests there is no relationship among the variables under study. You may conclude that the variables are related after having statistically rejected the null hypothesis.

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19

paradigm

a model or framework for observation and understanding which shapes both what we see and how we understand it.

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20

macrotheory

a theory aimed at understanding the "big picture" of institutions, whole societies, and the interactions among societies

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21

microtheory

a theory aimed at understanding social life at the level of individuals and their interactions

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22

interest convergence

the thesis that majority group members will only support the interests of minorities when those actions also support the interests of the majority group

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23

critical realism

a paradigm that holds things are real insofar as they produce effects

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24

correlation

an empirical relationship between two variables such that (1) changes in one are associated with changes in the other, or (2) particular attributes of one variable are associated with particular attributes of the other

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25

spurious relationship

a coincidental statistical correlation between two variables, shown to be caused by some third variable

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26

units of analysis

The what or whom being studied. In social science research, the most typical units of analysis are individual people.

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27

Social Artifact

Any product of social beings or their behavior. Can be a unit of analysis.

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28

ecological fallacy

erroneously basing conclusions about individuals solely on the observation of groups

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29

reductionism

A fault of some researchers: a strict limitation (reduction) of the kinds of concepts to be considered relevant to the phenomenon under study.

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30

Sociobiology

a paradigm based on the view that social behavior can be explained solely in terms of genetic characteristics and behavior

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31

cross-sectional study

a study based on observations representing a single point in time

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32

longitudinal study

a study design involving data collected at different points in time

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33

trend study

a type of longitudinal study in which a given characteristic of some population is monitored over time

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34

cohort study

a study in which some specific subpopulation, or cohort, is studied over time, although data may be collected from different members in each set of observations

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35

panel study

A type of longitudinal study, in which data are collected from the same set of people (the sample or panel) at several points in time.

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36

panel mortality

the failure of some panel subjects to continue participating in the study

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37

concept

A general idea or thought about something (book definition; a family of conceptions)

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38

conceptualization

the mental process whereby fuzzy and imprecise notions (concepts) are made more specific and precise

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39

indicator

an observation that we choose to consider as a reflection of a variable we wish to study

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40

dimension

a specifiable aspect of a concept

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41

cognitive interviewing

testing potential questions in an interview setting, probing to learn how respondents understand or interpret the questions

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42

nominal measure

a variable whose attributes have only the characteristics of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusiveness (variables whose attributes are simply different from each other)

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43

ordinal measure

a level of measurement describing a variable with attributes we can rank-order along some dimension

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44

interval measure

a level of measurement describing a variable whose attributes are rank-ordered and have equal distances between adjacent attributes

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45

ratio measure

a level of measurement describing a variable with attributes that have all the qualities of nominal, ordinal, and interval measures and in addition are based on a "true zero" point (e.g. age)

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46

reliability

the quality of measurement method that suggests that the same data would have been collected each time in repeated observations of the same phenomenon

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47

validity

a term describing a measure that accurately reflects the concept it is intended to measure.

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48

face validity

that quality of an indicator that makes it seem a reasonable measure of some variable

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49

criterion-related validity

the degree to which a measure relates to some external criterion (aka predictive validity)

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50

construct validity

the degree to which a measure relates to other variables as expected within a system of theoretical relationships

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51

content validity

the degree to which a measure covers the range of meanings included within a concept

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52

respondent

a person who provides data for analysis by responding to a survey questionnaire

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53

questionnaire

a document containing questions and other types of items designed to solicit information appropriate for analysis

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54

open-ended questions

Questions for which the respondent is asked to provide his or her own answers. In-depth, qualitative interviewing relies almost exclusively on open-ended questions.

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55

closed-ended questions

survey questions in which the respondent is asked to select an answer from among a list provided by the researcher

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56

bias

that quality of a measurement device that tends to result in a misrepresentation, in a particular direction, of what is being measured

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57

contigency questions

a survey question intended for only some respondents, determined by the responses to some other question

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58

response rate

the number of people participating in a survey divided by the number selected in the sample, in the form of a percentage (aka completion rate or return rate)

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59

interview

A data-collection encounter in which one person (an interviewer) asks questions of another (a respondent). Interviews may be conducted face-to-face or by telephone.

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60

probe

a technique employed in interviewing to solicit a more complete answer to a question it is a non-directive phrase or question used to encourage a respondent to elaborate on an answer (e.g. 'anything more?')

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61

secondary analysis

A form of research in which the data collected and processed by one researcher are reanalyzed—often for a different purpose—by another. This is especially appropriate in the case of survey data. Data archives are repositories or libraries for the storage and distribution of data for secondary analysis.

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62

nonprobability sampling

any technique in which samples are selected in some way not suggested by probability theory. examples include reliance on available subjects as well as purposive (judgmental), snowball, and quota sampling

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63

purposive sampling

a type of nonprobability sampling method in which the units to be observed are selected on the basis of the researcher's judgment about which ones will be the most useful or representative (aka judgmental sampling)

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64

snowball sampling

A non-probability sampling method, often employed in field research, whereby each person interviewed may be asked to suggest additional people for interviewing.

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65

quota sampling

A type of nonprobability sampling in which units are selected into a sample on the basis of prespecified characteristics, so that the total sample will have the same distribution of characteristics assumed to exist in the population being studied.

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66

informant

someone who is well versed in the social phenomenon that you wish to study and who is willing to tell you what he or she knows about it (not a respondent!)

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67

probability sampling

the general term for samples selected in accordance with probability theory, typically involving some random-selection mechanism. (specific types include EPSEM, PPS, simple random sampling and systematic sampling)

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68

representativeness

that quality of a sample of having the same distribution of characteristics as the population from which it was selected

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69

EPSEM (equal probability of selection method)

A sample design in which each member of a population has the same chance of being selected into the sample.

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70

element

that unit of which a population is composed and which is selected in a sample (distinguished from units of analysis, which is used in data analysis)

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71

population

a group of individuals that is theoretically specified in a study

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72

study population

that aggregation of elements from which a sample is actually selected

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73

random selection

a sampling method in which each element has an equal chance of selection independent of any other event in the selection process

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74

sampling unit

that element or set of elements considered for selection in some stage of sampling

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75

sampling frame

the list or quasi list of units composing a population from which a sample is selected

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76

simple random sampling

A type of probability sampling in which the units composing a population are assigned numbers. A set of random numbers is then generated, and the units having those numbers are included in the sample.

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77

systematic sampling

A type of probability sampling in which every 'k' th unit in a list is selected for inclusion in the sample. (e.g. every '25' th student)

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78

sampling interval

the standard distance (k) between elements selected from a population for a sample

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79

sampling ratio

the proportion of elements in the population that are selected to be in a sample

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80

stratification

the grouping of the units composing a population in to homogeneous groups (or strata) before sampling.

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81

cluster sampling

a multistage sampling in which natural groups (clusters) are sampled initially, with the members of each selected group being subsampled afterward

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82

PPS (probability proportionate to size)

This refers to a type of multistage cluster sample in which clusters are selected, not with equal probabilities but with probabilities proportionate to their sizes - as measured by the number of units to be subsampled

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83

weighting

assigning different weights to cases that were selected into a sample with different probabilities of selection

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84

Reactivity

the problem that the subjects of social research may react to the fact of being studied, thus altering their behaviour from what it would have been normally

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85

naturalism

an approach to field research based on the assumption that an objective social reality exists and can be observed and reported accurately

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86

Ethnography

a report on social life that focuses on detailed and accurate description rather than explanation

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87

ethnomethodolgy

an approach to the study of social life that focuses on the discovery of implicit (usually unspoken) assumptions and agreements; this method often involves the intentional breaking of agreements as a way of revealing their existence

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88

grounded theory

an inductive approach to the study of social life that attempts to generate a theory from the constant comparing of unfolding observations

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89

case study

The in-depth examination of a single instance of some social phenomenon, such as a village, a family, or a juvenile gang.

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90

extended case method

A technique developed by Michael Burawoy in which case study observations are used to discover flaws in, and to improve, existing social theories.

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91

Institutional Ethnography

A research technique in which the personal experiences of individuals are used to reveal power relationships and other characteristics of the institutions within which they operate.

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92

Participatory Action Research (PAR)

An approach to social research in which the people being studied are given control over the purpose and procedures of the research; intended as a counter to the implicit view that researchers are superior to those they study.

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93

emancipatory research

research conducted for the purpose of benefiting disadvantaged groups

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94

rapport

An open and trusting relationship; especially important in qualitative research between researchers and the people they're observing.

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95

qualitative interview

contrasted with survey interviewing, the qualitative interview is based on a set of topics to be discussed in depth rather than based on the use of standardized questions

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96

focus group

a group of subjects interviewed together, prompting a discussion

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97

pretesting

the measurement of a dependent variable among subjects before they are exposed to a stimulus representing an independent variable

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98

posttesting

the remeasurement of a dependent variable among subjects after they've been exposed to an independent variable

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99

experimental group

in experimentation, a group of subjects to whom an experimental stimulus is administered

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100

control group

in experimentation, a group of subjects to whom no experimental stimulus is administered and who resemble the experimental group in all other respects.

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