ppa 415 research methods in public administration n.
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PPA 415 – Research Methods in Public Administration. Lecture 1 – Research Design. Language of Research. Key terms. Theoretical – developing, testing, or exploring the ideas that social researchers have about the way the world operates.

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language of research
Language of Research
  • Key terms.
    • Theoretical – developing, testing, or exploring the ideas that social researchers have about the way the world operates.
    • Empirical – based on observations and measurements of reality.
    • Nomothetic – pertains to the general case rather than the individual.
language of research1
Language of Research
  • Key terms (contd.)
    • Idiographic – focused on the individual rather than the general case.
    • Probabilistic – most social science relationships are based on tendencies or probabilities.
    • Causal – focused on cause-effect relationships to develop the capacity to predict or shape the world.
types of research questions
Types of Research Questions
  • Descriptive – Designed to describe what is going on or what exists.
  • Relational – Designed to look at the relationship between one more variables.
  • Causal – Designed to determine whether one or more variables causes or effects one or more outcome variables.
  • Research questions are cumulative.
time relationships
Time Relationships
  • Cross-sectional – Measurements made at one point in time.
  • Longitudinal.
    • Repeated measures – two or three points in time.
    • Time series – multiple points in time.
types of relationships
Types of Relationships
  • Correlational – Establishes relationships between two or more variables.
  • Causal – Establishes that one or more variables causes or determines or more outcome variables.
  • Spurious – The difference between correlational and causal depends on the influence of third variables.
variables
Variables
  • Variables are measurements that take different values for different cases.
    • Attribute – each value of a variable is known as an attribute, e.g., the variable gender has two attributes, male and female.
    • When examining the relationship between variables, the causal variable that influences is called the independent variable; the effect variables that is influenced is called the dependent variable.
    • The attributes of the variable must be exhaustive and mutually exclusive.
hypothesis
Hypothesis
  • A hypothesis states an explicit relationship between an independent and dependent variable: e.g., as levels of participation increase, voting turnout increases.
    • Alternative or research hypothesis: X causes Y.
    • Null hypothesis: X and Y have no relationship.
  • In research, you test the probability of no relationship or no effect.
type of data
Type of data
  • Qualitative – measured with labels or categories.
  • Quantitative – measured with numbers.
  • The distinction is usually academic.
unit of analysis
Unit of Analysis
  • Depends on the research question.
    • Individuals.
    • Groups.
    • Artifacts.
    • Geographical units.
research fallacies
Research Fallacies
  • Ecological fallacy.
    • Drawing conclusions about individuals on the basis of groups or aggregations.
  • Exception fallacy.
    • Making generalizations about groups or aggregations on the basis of individuals.
research process
Research Process
  • Begin with broad questions.
  • Narrow down, focus in.
  • Operationalize.
  • Observe.
  • Analyze data.
  • Reach conclusions.
  • Generalize back to questions.
research stages
Research Stages
  • Research problem.
  • Research question.
  • Program (cause).
  • Units.
  • Outcomes (effect).
  • Design.
statistics
Statistics
  • Descriptive – (1) when the researcher needs to summarize or describe the distribution of a single variable (data reduction) and (2) when the researcher wishes to understand the relationship between two or more variables (association).
  • Inferential – when the researcher wants to generalize findings from a sample to a population.
variables1
Variables
  • Discrete – a variable is discrete variable if it has a basic unit of measurement than cannot be subdivided.
  • Continuous – a variable is continuous if the measurement of it can be subdivided infinitely.
levels of measurement
Levels of Measurement
  • Nominal level of measurement – Places cases in categories
  • Ordinal level of measurement – Places categories in order of more or less.
  • Interval level of measurement – Uses a unit of measurement.
  • Ratio level of measurement – Has a substantive zero point.
edward tufte s principles of quantitative reasoning
Edward Tufte’s Principles of Quantitative Reasoning
  • Documenting the sources and characteristics of the data.
  • Insistently enforcing appropriate comparisons.
  • Demonstrating mechanisms of cause and effect.
edward tufte s principles of quantitative reasoning1
Edward Tufte’s Principles of Quantitative Reasoning
  • Expressing those mechanisms quantitatively.
  • Recognizing the inherently multivariate nature of analytic problems.
  • Inspecting and evaluating alternative explanations.