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Research Design. Purposes for Research Criteria for Causation Units of Analysis The Time Component. Three Purposes of Research. Exploration Description Explanation. Criteria for Causation . Two Things Must be Related (Correlation) The Cause Must Precede the Effect (Time ordering)

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Research Design

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Research Design

Purposes for Research

Criteria for Causation

Units of Analysis

The Time Component

• Exploration

• Description

• Explanation

Criteria for Causation

• Two Things Must be Related (Correlation)

• The Cause Must Precede the Effect (Time ordering)

• The Relationship Must be “Non-Spurious”

Common Mistakes

• “Complete” causation

• Exceptional cases

• Majority of cases

Necessary / Sufficient

• A Necessary Cause

• X must be present for Y to occur

• A Sufficient Cause

• If X is present, Y must occur

Units of Analysis

• This is the “what” that is being studied

• Social scientists can have almost anything as the unit of analysis

• It is even possible to have a study with multiple units of analysis

• Be CAREFUL

• Knowing that a person studied “people” does not necessarily tell you the unit of analysis

Some of my tricks…

• Look at what a researcher is predicting or counting—if something is expressed in “rates,” it is a group level unit of analysis

• Rephrase a persons research hypothesis or statement in way that makes the unit of analysis more explicit

• If “groups” are a part of the study, figure out whether the researcher is comparing groups, or simply using group status as an “attribute” in order to compare individuals

The Individual Level

• Typically, individual people

• Don’t confuse “generalizing” with units of analysis

• You can study “groups” or “classes” of people, but still have individuals as unit of analysis

• Non-people examples

• Social artifacts and Social interactions

• Typically individual, but could be aggregates

Group (Aggregate) Level

• KEY = the group is the entity we study—looking at attributes of the group

• May sometimes studies individuals to construct such attributes (e.g., construct rate)

• Organizations

• Corporations, churches,

TIME

• Why is “time” important?

• Causal ordering

• Generalization

• Cross-Sectional Research

• Longitudinal

• Trend

• Cohort

• Panel

Ways to Get Around Longitudinal Research (e.g., Cheating)

• Logic can sometimes dictate cause and effect

• Sometimes the data can help draw conclusions about cause and effect

• Retrospective studies

• Use age differences within sample to reach conclusions

• Repeat a prior cross-sectional study

Designing a Research Project

• Research is MESSY!!!

• Theories and Ideas

• Starting Point

• Purpose of research

• Conceptualization

• Choice of Research Method