Quantitative Research Methods

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Quantitative Research Methods
General studies / ISSS Tero Mamia

Introduction to Research Methods:
Quantitative Research Methods & SPSS Basic Course The course is part of the compulsory general studies Book exam: Gilbert (ed.), Researching Social Life. Sage 1992 and Rose, D. & Sullivan, O., Introducing Data Analysis for Social Scientists. Friday 24.2.2006 12-16 Friday 28.4.2006 12-16 Room D10b, Main Building

Registration required (Dept of sociology and social psychology)

Or: Gilbert + Rose&Sullivan chapters 1-3, 5 (9, 12) + lectures (4 x 2 h): Friday 17.2.2006,14-16 (B275) Fridays 24.2.-10.3.2006, 12-14 (B275) Examination: WHEN??

Objectives
To understand:
the logic and basic principles of quantitative research the idea of inferential statistics: generalization from sample to population

To learn:
How to obtain quantitative data? How to describe data and single variables? How to analyse relationships (dependencies) between two or more variables?

Lectures topics
The quantitive method Research design and research process Sampling Types of variables and descriptive analysis Inferenetial statistics: from sample to population Associations between two variables: bivariate analysis Analysing three or more variables: elaboration and multivariate analysis

The logic of social research
“…as social researchers we believe that patterns and regularities occur in society and that these are not simply random. The task we are faced with is to ask why these patterns exist: in other words to produce explanations of them. We couch these explanations in terms of theories. Theories allow us to select out from a mass of confusing material those elements of reality which are of concern to us. On the basis of theory we can develop hypotheses about relationships which ought to exist, if the theory is valid.” (Rose & Sullivan 1996, 10)

Classic hypothetic-deductive research
Theories

THEORY
Deductive reasoning

Empirical generalizations

EMPIRISM
Induction

Hypotheses

Observations

Notes on studying societies and human beings
the object of study is not ”deaf” reflects and responds to new knowledge the object of study is not static but in constant flux temporality of knowledge human beings are rational and self-conscious agents causality problematic (probabilistic rather than deterministic) researcher is part of the object of study (society) objectivity problematic measurement problematic?

Description and explanation
Social scientist ask basically two types of questions: 1. What exists / happens in society? Descriptive research 2. Why does it exist / happen? Explanatory research Most research includes both description and explanation. Good explanatory research can only be built on solid descriptive knowledge. It does not make sense to ask: ”Why is social inequality increasing?” unless we have a good conception about ”social inequality” and descriptive research that can demonstrate convincingly that it does increase Social research can also aim at comparison or classification

Theoretical and empirical research
Empirical research has as the object of study some aspect (problem) of reality Research data is obtained by some systematic method of empirical observation

Theoretical research studies problems related to concepts, perspectives or theories of a given field (discpiline) Research data consists of previous research (analysis and synthesis)

Sometimes empirical and theoretical research are pitted against each other: more fruitful to see them as complementing each other Scientific research as a dialogue between theory and empirism Most research inolves both theoretical and empirical element

Quantitative and qualitative research
Qualitative research aims at understanding. It answers primarily to how? –questions. Quantitative research aims at (causal) explanation. It answers primarily to why? –questions. Both qualitative and quantitative research can aim at description of social...
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