Lecture 7 PowerPoint

Lecture 7 PowerPoint - POL 2156B FOUNDATIONS OF RESEARCH...

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POL 2156B FOUNDATIONS OF RESEARCH RESEARCH DESIGN continued
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LECTURE PLAN Non-experimental designs: Case studies Comparative case studies Large- N cross-sectional studies Sampling: selecting what to observe Probability theory Document Analysis
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NON-EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNS Non-experimental approaches are often more practical research designs. The purpose of research using these designs is also to test hypotheses. These methods are typically not as strong when it comes to making causal inferences, but they often have greater external validity Non-experimental designs are usually characterized by one or more of the following conditions: lack of control over the assignment of subjects to groups lack of control over values of the independent variable inability to conduct pre-tests and post-tests
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CASE STUDIES Single case studies are often conducted when little is known about a phenomenon. They are useful for exploratory or descriptive purposes. Problem with single cases: they make it difficult to test hypotheses. Why? Because there is no “variation” to test.
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CASE STUDIES Single cases can be useful in determining whether a correlation between independent and dependent variables is really causal. Is there evidence, for example, that the social democratic government deliberately injected more money into social welfare programs when they took office, and that they did so : because of their ideology? or because they wanted to do something that benefited a core constituency of supporters (e.g. working class voters)? That evidence would tell us something more than “X is correlated with Y” or “social spending is associated with the ideology of the government in power”
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MULTIPLE CASE STUDIES Can be useful for developing theories: e.g. elite interviews, participant observation E.g. Fenno’s Home Style, Lane’s Political Ideology
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COMPARATIVE CASE STUDIES In order to make causal claims, researchers often employ a comparative case study approach. The purpose of the comparison is to mimic experimental designs. The researcher can’t assign subjects or cases to experimental or control groups., but through careful case selection the researcher can still control other, irrelevant variables
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PROBLEM: TOO MANY VARIABLES, TOO FEW CASES Person A Person B Marital Status Married Not Married Religiosity Religious Not Religious Outcome Voted Did not vote
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SOLUTION 1: ADD MORE CASES Marital Status Married (2 people) Unmarried (1 person) Religiosity Religious Not religious Not religious Outcome Voted Did not vote Did not vote
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SOLUTION 2: MILL’S METHOD OF DIFFERENCE We cannot always add enough cases to take into account all the variables that might be important An alternative solution is to carefully select cases so that the have the same value on all relevant independent variables, except for the one the researcher is most interested in (Mill’s method of difference)
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2012 for the course POL 2107 taught by Professor Bourgault during the Spring '08 term at University of Ottawa.

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Lecture 7 PowerPoint - POL 2156B FOUNDATIONS OF RESEARCH...

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