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MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH DESIGN LECTURE 1: INTRODUCTION What is Science? Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence. – Cumulative – Falsifiable – Interested in general patterns, not the unique What is Social Science? Social sciences are academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. - Political science deals with the study of politics (state and systems of government) and power from domestic, international, and comparative perspectives. Knowledge development is based on data and the application of the methods of science Why not Just Use Common Sense? Does “Absence make the heart grow fonder” or is it “Out of sight, out of mind?” Does the Bologna Process lead to better learning outcomes among university students? Are intelligent people more creative? Does government corruption cause poverty? Immediate Problems Definitions – What is corruption? Measurement – Corruption? Poverty? Causality – Direction of relationships? Research design – How to collect data? Science – methods for understanding Description: collect facts systematically, detailed information on unique difference. From description to explanation -- INFERENCE Explanation: show causal mechanisms (inductive, deductive); inferences and deductions must be falsifiable From explanation to prediction – CAUSAL THEORIES Prediction: provide assessment that anticipates correctly future events Manipulation: policy articulation and implementation A Journey Through the Scientific Process
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MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH DESIGN Theory is an explanation of the relationships among social phenomena. It is a simplification of reality. Hypotheses are precise and specific statements about the relationship between phenomena. Observations are collected information used to test hypotheses. Empirical generalizations are conclusions based on the analysis of collected observations that evaluate hypotheses and assess theory. Cases and Variables A Case refers to the entity from which data are gathered. Examples: People, groups, states and nations. Variables are traits that can change values from case to case. Theories and hypotheses are often stated in terms of the relationships between variables. Examples: Age, gender, race, social class. Independent & Dependent variables? CAUSE-- EFFECT// independent -- dependent The most important skill is common sense!!! LECTURE 2: HOW TO ASK A SCIENTIFIC QUESTION Deductive vs. Inductive Reasoning - Induction uses patterns to arrive at a conclusion (conjecture). –Every quiz has been easy. So, the test will be easy. –The teacher used PowerPoint in the last few classes. Therefore, the teacher will use PowerPoint tomorrow.
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