—that is, an event or a change in the real world that affects the factor we believe causes an outcome but does not affect the outcome in any way other than through that factor Although a few certain answers exist in social science, we can safely conclude that low income does contribute to poor health, at least to some extent in specific contexts (We can also be fairly sure that bad health has a negative effect on income) Causality: the notion that a change in one factor results in a corresponding change in another It is very difficult, especially in social science, to assert causality. However it is much easier to say that two things are correlated, which just means that we observe change in both o To establish causality 3 factors are needed 1. Correlation 2. Time Order 3. Ruling Out Alternative Explanations The Problem of Reverse Causality Reverse causality is what it sounds like: You think A is causing B when in fact, B is causing A o DEF: a situation in which the researcher believes that A results in a change in B, but B in fact, is causing A o The problem of reverse causality is why it’s so important to establish time order o If a person’s income drops only after they get sick, we can be sure that it was sickness that led to the decline in income We should also note that time order is no guarantee by itself. People may alter their current behavior based on future expectations. Variables You should always have one dependent variable , which is the outcome you are trying to explain, and one or more independent variable(s) , which is the measured factor that you believe has a causal impact on the dependent variable o DEF: the outcome that the researcher is trying to explain R V CHAPTER TWO: METHODS
o DEF: a measured factor that the researcher believes has a causal impact on the dependent variable o It is possible to have more than one indep. Variable so we’ll call the most important one the key independent variable o The difference between the independent and dependent variables is that change in your dependent variable depends on change in your independent variable In social research, we use the term hypothesis to mean a proposed relationship between two variables, usually with a stated direction o The direction of the relationship refers to whether your variables move in the same direction (positive) or in opposite directions (negative) Hypothesis Testing The process of assigning a precise method for measuring a term being examined for use in a particular study is called operationalization o DEF: o A.K.A. Comparing apple and oranges When you read a study, it’s important to understand how the author is operationalizing his or her concept Hypothesis: The lower education level of the parents, the greater the chance that their children will be poor as adults o For each hypothesis, an equal and opposite alternative hypothesis exists: Alternative hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between parental
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- Spring '08
- Sociology, researcher