clear relationship of cause and effect

central tendency

one value in a data set that is used to describe the center, or middle point, in the set. Measures of central tendency include mean, median, and mode.

comparative-historical analysis

method used by researchers to examine data that has already been gathered by someone else

content analysis

method used to analyze the content of written and visual texts, such as books, film, magazines, television, and advertisements


relationship between variables

deductive reasoning

process used to reach a conclusion by starting with a general hypothesis and generating a specific idea or argument

dependent variable

variable affected or changed by the independent variable

descriptive statistics

approach to statistics that explains the data and summarizes the sample

grounded theory

an approach to research that begins with the collection of qualitative data (nonnumerical data). Researchers then look for patterns in the data and form an argument based on these patterns.

Hawthorne effect

effect that occurs when research study participants’ awareness of being studied influences their behavior


predictive statement about the relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable

in-depth interview

interview in which a researcher talks with an individual at length

independent variable

concept or feature that causes change in another variable

inductive reasoning

process used to reach a conclusion by starting with specific observations and drawing general conclusions

inferential statistics

approach to analyzing data that begins with a hypothesis and explores if data are consistent with this hypothesis

institutional review board (IRB)

committee that reviews research proposals to determine if they adhere to ethical guidelines


measure of central tendency calculated by adding all values in a data set and dividing the sum by the total number of values


value in a data set where half the values fall below it and half are above it


most frequently occurring value in a data set

participant observation

method in which the researcher becomes part of the group they are studying


likelihood that a specific behavior or event will occur

qualitative research

approach that uses nonnumerical data, such as analysis of interview responses or observed behavior, to study the social world

quantitative research

approach that uses numerical data, such as percentages and rates, to study the social world


likelihood that if a study is repeated the researcher will obtain consistent results

researcher bias

refers to the ways that a researcher's expectations, beliefs, and values can influence the outcome of a study

structured interview

interview using questions with no variation

survey research

collecting data from subjects who answer questions about behaviors and opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire

unstructured interview

interview using open-ended questions that allow for more fluid interactions between the researcher and the respondent


extent to which a study measures what it is intended to measure


concept or feature with multiple values