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20 - Chapter 20 Chapter Research Methods by Neil Guppy...

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20-1 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited Chapter 20 Chapter 20 Research Methods Research Methods by Neil Guppy by Neil Guppy
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20-2 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION Will examine: Social research as scientific research Minimizing bias in research Methods and techniques of social research Future of social research*
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20-3 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited SOCIAL RESEARCH SOCIAL RESEARCH Social research involves systematic study of the social world Uses theoretically informed questions Integrates sound theory with careful methods*
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20-4 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited SCIENCE AS A SOCIAL SCIENCE AS A SOCIAL PRACTICE PRACTICE Science combines both subjectivity and objectivity: Subjectivity : Perceptions-view of reality that are filtered by our personal values and expectations Can lead to observer bias Objectivity : Attempt to minimize effect of personal bias on research results, or idea of impartiality-fairness Research methods cannot eliminate bias
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20-5 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited MINIMIZING BIAS IN SOCIAL MINIMIZING BIAS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE SCIENCE Scientific practices minimize bias by: Subjecting research findings to rigorous scrutiny-analysis by scientific community Applying skeptical reasoning to research findings Does not negate central need though for subjectivity in change and innovation*
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20-6 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited SCIENTIFIC THINKING SCIENTIFIC THINKING Scientific thinking starts with uncertainty; i.e., a hypothesis (question, hunch, or well-conceived conjecture about how the world works) that must be testable Should include possibility of refuting scientific claim Science is not merely observation of facts but requires interpretation of the collection of facts In science, need to confront problem of induction:
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20-7 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited NATURAL SCIENCES VS. NATURAL SCIENCES VS. SOCIAL SCIENCE SOCIAL SCIENCE Both natural sciences and social science use the scientific method : Set of practices or procedures for testing knowledge claims But social science has different subject matter: Study meaningful action : Activities that arise from intentionality and are meaningful to people involved*
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20-8 Copyright © 2008 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited METHODS OF SOCIAL METHODS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH: EXPLANATION RESEARCH: EXPLANATION Explanation is necessary to show how or why a cause has a certain effect Causation involves relationship between two variables where change in one variable produces change or variation in second variable Multiple causes are involved in almost every social-scientific explanation Need to guard against assuming correlation equates to causation because correlation can be spurious-false : Incorrect inference about causal relations between variables*
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