Introduction to research methods
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1. 2. Click on the speaker to hear the audio for each slide…here first…. Introduction to research methods. 1: Preface & Foundations. …and here second. 1. Guess my rule. 1. For this introduction. General goals of the course Objectives (what do I want to achieve?)

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Introduction to research methods

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2

Click on the speaker to hear the audio for each slide…here first…

Introduction to research methods

1: Preface & Foundations

…and here second.


Guess my rule

1

Guess my rule


For this introduction

1

For this introduction...

General goals of the course

  • Objectives (what do I want to achieve?)

    • Research and its place within graduate education

    • Systems of belief – ways of knowing

      • Authority

      • Intuition

      • Confirmation bias

      • Astrology

      • Psychic reading

      • Association

      • Science

    • Is science “natural?”

      • Nope, but it works

      • We basically spend the semester learning a way of knowing that’s tried and tested and is “good science”

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Foundations of research
Foundations of research

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  • Positivism vs. post-positivism

    • Positivism

      • Science can only address that which is directly observable

      • Observation and measurement is the only means to the truth

    • Post-positivism & critical realism & critical naturalism

      • Simply put…

        • all measurements are potentially faulty

        • Truth, though it exists, is unlikely to ever be known with certainty

        • The point of science is to maintain the search for the truth despite knowing that one may never reach it

        • Hence seek reality, while being critical of one’s current estimation of it

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Foundations of research1
Foundations of research

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  • Post-positivism & critical realism & c. naturalism

    • Because we are critical of our grasp on reality, we

      • Take multiple measures

      • Critique the measures we have

      • Engage in hearty arguments about our perspectives and their influence on our thought processes (that we might not be aware of)

    • It is only through such critique that objectivity can be approximated – an individual cannot be objective, but if a viewpoint is generalizable across many perspectives and cultures it may possess some objectivity

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Foundations of research2
Foundations of research

  • Post-positivism & critical realism

    • The “natural selection theory of knowledge”

      • That which survives can claim a degree of objectivity or approximation to the truth

      • Here lies the value of research that we do, and the criticism to which we subject it

      • It’s pretty much the only way that our (eventual) understanding can claim a degree of objectivity

      • (according to critical realism, that is…now, if you’re a relativist…)

      • And so back to graduate education

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Figure 2 the yin and yang of research
Figure 2The Yin and Yang of Research

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Foundations of research3
Foundations of research

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  • The language of research

    • Empiricism, theory, probabilities & causation

  • Types of studies

    • Three basic types:

      • Descriptive

      • Relational

      • Causal

  • Time in research

    • Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal designs

    • Repeated measures vs. time series designs

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Foundations of research4
Foundations of research

  • Variables

    • Value or attribute = a property of something (may or may not be numeric) examples:

      • Your age

      • My age

      • Your gender

      • My gender

    • Variable

      • How about all our ages?

      • We all have an age, but they are all different

      • Age is something we vary by

      • Age is a variable that describes a property of our group

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Foundations of research5
Foundations of research

  • Variables

    • Independent variable

      • What you or nature manipulates in some way

        • E.g. 1: What happens when you get older?

          • Age is the independent variable (nature is the manipulator)

        • E.g. 2: What happens when you drink?

          • Blood alcohol level is the IV (you are the manipulator)

      • Critiquing IVs: Exhaustive? Mutually exclusive attributes? See also construct validity (later)

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Foundations of research6
Foundations of research

  • Variables

    • Dependent variable

      • The thing that is influenced (changed) by your independent variable

        • E.g. 1 (IV = Age): Skin sag, baldness, frequency of urine expulsion, memory strength

        • E.g. 2 (IV = Alcohol consumption): Balance, inhibition, frequency of urine expulsion

      • Critiquing DV’s: see operationalization, reliability, measurement validity (all later)

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