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Research Methods 201 Week 4

by: Lauren Jones

Research Methods 201 Week 4 Pols 201

Lauren Jones
GPA 3.88

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This is Chapter 4 outline, and class notes for this week.
Research Methods in Political Science
Adam Eckerd
Class Notes
research methods, Poli Sci 201
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Jones on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Pols 201 at University of Tennessee - Knoxville taught by Adam Eckerd in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 40 views. For similar materials see Research Methods in Political Science in Political Science at University of Tennessee - Knoxville.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Research Methodology: Chapter 4  4.1 Research Hypotheses o Clearly identifies the type of data you have to collect o Deductive hypothesis  Research hypotheses bridge literature review and methodology  Deductive hypothesis o Derives beforehand from previous theory  Formal Hypothesis  Should provide possible explanations  State relationships between variables  Be testable o Be consistent o Be simple o Grounded Research  On experiences, not biased by academic preconceptions  Review data, see possible pattern  Theories are  Rejected, refuted, falsified o Nothing is ever proved correct  All findings are probabilities  4.2 Objective and Subjective o Objective  Treats physical and social world that we can sense directly o Subjective  Considers what people think, more based on the mental constructs  Inferences o Metaphysics becomes a part of the argument  World is an illusion vs. world is our reality  Positivism and post-positivism o Positivist  Found in experimental psychology, quantitative research, and physical/natural sciences  World studied as objective things  Data is independent  Accepted data as evidence only if conducted in direct observation under strict rules  Isolate elements of cause and effect  Scientific Method is considered objective  Low level of validity o Post-positivist  Knowledge is subjective, with value  Data is dependent on relationship between knower and known  Naturalistic non experimental research  Knowledge is subjective and holistic  Scientific methods are social constructs  Qualitative studies offer very little. o Positivistic use of formal theory can raise reliability  But lower relevance o Post positivize can improve relevance, but not reliability  4.4 Commonsense and Pragmatism o Popper  Science doesn’t require metaphysical basis  Realism o Accepting that the real world exists  Commonsense  Phenomenology o All researchers believe in integral systems o Positivism and post positivism are both social constructs  Pragmatism  Knowledge useful in practical effect  4.5 Mixed Methods o Combining qualitative and quantitative techniques  4.6 Triangulation o Similar findings from different sources  Bringing together multiple data types on one problem  Meta analysis o Analysis of large numbers of similar studies o Finding Theory- the Literature  The lit review is not o A summary of what’s been done before  Do not cover everything  Use literature that helps you build your case and defend your argument o Give a snippet of what is pertinent to doing?  Not a comprehensive document of all research on a given topic  Not everything that touches o Not a bullet list of key variables  Bring a story together of variables  Set up of why we have a certain set of expectations  Lit review should o What is already known about the specific topic  Opening paragraphs are all the same  Gives the background of what the topic is and who we should understand it  How do you specify the relationships between  Look at the research hypothesis others have used o Look at key theories have informed understanding of the topic  Not to rehash  Read articles clearly o Be critical  The point of building knowledge  Here’s something they missed o Point of reviw is to justify and fully formulate the research question o Make the case that this research question is important, interesting, and you should care.  If people care, the lit review is important  You will turn research question into a hypotheses o Instead of a question, make a statement.  Hypotheses. o Statement of some expected relationship  X on y o If you can articulate statement clearly, you are on track o At the end of the lit review  Make sure the hypothesis is obvious  Null and Alternative Hypothesis o Null  A statement of no effect, status quo  State one of them as the thing we care about knowing more (this is the alternative) o We never “prove” anything  You find a consistent evidence with the argument. o We don’t test if it is likely, we test if no relationship is unlikely  WE assume this relationship doesn’t exist  We want to assume there is no relationship, look for evidence that says that’s probably incorrect. o Intending to make statement  How do they do this?  You never know if you have a good or bad representation of a huge population.  Research Design o Whenever you go through the process of going through the literature and defining the process, the research design should flow from the hypotheses  Exploratory  Relationship  Causal  Encouraged o How a change in one causes the change in another. o The way you state your hypothesis is tied up  Should dictate what you do for the rest of the memos  Should flow relatively after  Validity o In the study  Internal  Did the IV actually lead to changes in DV  What happened after didn’t affect beforehand.  Framing makes it different. o External  Can results hold true in different but similar cases  Which is the right theory doesn’t matter o Hold water, some don’t  Approaches  Take on theory and tell what we should know about that argument, what is the previous argument, or fix it  Try to figure out how these all work together  Page 26 in the book, one through five o Good advice here  How to abstract and make sense of it all  Pick one writing style o Doing Research 2.2.16  The Research Process o Identify the problem or question o Develop a theoretical framework that provides one or more possible answer  The research question o The most important step in the process  Defining the problem is challenging and often unique to an individual  Often impleies value judgements about what is or what not o What is the effect of x on y o This is unique to the individual  Objective research  The whole idea of objectivity is biased  What is and isn’t important is a value laden decisions o Flint  There was a political decision made to assume everything was fine o We decide what is important when we have a catalyst to decide this  General research question, what is the effect of x on y  Generally the way we frame o Specific enough to be manageable, that we can do an actual research project on  Types of Questions, not an exhaustive theory o Reasons questions  Explaining the reasons why others did something  Did ___ do ___ because ____  Understand the reason of what is going on in people’s minds o Event Questions  Explain a chain of causal events  Why did the challenger explode? o The sequence of events o Evaluate the place back through down o Outcome Questions  Explain why something happened the way it did instead of the other way?  Two cities, two entirely different  Inherently a comparison  Where to find research questions o Convince enough people that there is enough emphasis on your question  Social problem  Creativity  Interesting  The researchers job is to explain why something is important o Once articulating a research questions, get into theories  Looking into what is known about human decision making  So what is theory o An explanation of human behavior  How Humans act, what we deal with  There are a variety of theories that explain behavior  Normative and positive theory  Normative theory o The world should work this way  Most of the time people are discussing this  Some argument about the way the world should be o This is not what we talk about for research  Positive Theory o The world does work this way  Based on empirical observation  This is how we actually contribute to knowledge  Talk about how the world actually works  We need to understand how the world is before we even begin to think about the wy it should be?  Components of a theory o A theory helps us predict or explain phenomena by linking constructs to propositions  Construct is a term we use to describe actual things or ideas o See how well incumbents do in election  Examples o Very specific supply and demand  When environmental qualities deteriorate, people move away.  When you have environmental problems, the price gets worse o Assumptions  Where theory is useful  Those that an economist would make here  Willingness and demand have to get together  Environment condition is there first, and then poor folk moved in o Explain/predict what happened  Don’t predict well, but better idea than no idea at all  If we want to do that…  Theory must be o Falsifiable or testable  If it can’t be tested it can’t be verified o Parsimonious  Make it logically sound o Pragmatic or Useful  It is easy to figure out what occurs, but how it occurs, why  Why should I care? o Theory gives structure to things we observe  Why do we want to understand our world better?  Because we want our make our world better o Regardless of ideological predispositions  b/c we want to make the world a better place  Theory is abstract o We need to be able to be capable and able to understand abstract thought  Give a person or machine a specific situation, it can make a specific decision  It is only useful that one time. o Policy is the practical application of theory  The reason we do research is because the more we become better on theory, our policies get better o We are already doing theory!  Now we just need more structure  Theories should be o Valid, must conform to reality o Simple, must simplify the world to make sense of it o Testable, we need some way to determine accuracy o Explain why we have seen what happens o Predictive predict what happens, not exactly  If we implement something this is what is likely to happen o Relevant  Must have some value to practice o Reliable  Don’t expect accuracy o Observable  It should be actually testable  General theoretical argument, we want to test it o And then make contributions  Research hourglass  Idea is that the more people that do specific studies, the more we understand the world  Theory and models o How theory informs a model  All that a theoretical framework is is an answer to a question  To develop a theoretical argument for an answer to a question o What provides the best answer to the question o Once this is done  Find a model and hypothesis  A theory is a general thing, explain o A model is specific, concrete, test and explore  If theory says construct x causes y, we can test variable x vs y  Models o Mental, logical, statistical  We will do empirical  Models are abstractions of reality based on theory  Representation of specific phenomena o Research can be wrong, but useful o There can always be problems with theoretical arguments, especially in social sciences  Theories, hyoptheses and models o Theories explain the general relationships o Models  Define a research context and test hypotheses to infer o Hypotheses  Predict specific outcomes between very specific in variables in the model  Finding theories, models, and hypotheses o Use the literature  Start exploring theoretical literature that is applicable  Look at what other people have studied  What were the arguments they have made o Are their distinct situations  Use previous theory to derive framework  Look for theories that are applicable  Think general first o How have everyone do general searching  See what’s there o When you’ve found what makes sense, hone in on what is working  Looking for past research in your topic area o Look at the way professionals do this  The most credible  Why it is that way is because its peer reviewed  Talk to other scholars  Think tanks, newspapers, credible o But be careful!  GAO and CBO is a good source for federal government things 


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