- Focus on differing kinds of research design is about examining frameworks for data collection and analysis
- A research design is a framework for producing evidence that fits a set of criteria and the research question
- Criteria refers to reliability, replication and validity re. assessing the quality of social research
- Criteria mainly applies to quantitative research
- Alternate criteria for qualitative research based on issue of trustworthiness
Research design – framework for collection and analysis of data. Reflective of priorities in the research process. Particular import given to:
- causal connections between variables
- generalising beyond the investigation
- understanding behaviours in a social context
- building temporal appreciation of social phenomenon and how they interconnect
Research method – a technique for collecting data
Variable – an attribute on which different cases vary. If it doesn’t vary it is called a constant. Independent variables have a causal influence on dependent variables. Variable types included interval/ratio variables (distances between categories identical across range); ordinal variables (can rank order but inconsistent distances); nominal variables (cannot be rank ordered – categorical); dichotomous variables (data has only 2 categories)
N.B. p. 336 chart for categorising a variable.
Naturalism – 3 different meanings
- Naturalism see objects of study as belonging to the same “realm” and consequent commitment to natural scientific method. Unity viewed between objects of the natural and social sciences.
- Naturalism means “being true” to the nature of the investigated phenomenon. Recognises subjectivity of meaning in interpreting behaviours – “authors” not passive objects of their social world
- Naturalism works to minimise use of artificial methods of data collection which are viewed as intrusive
- 2 and 3 not compatable and can be viewed as opposed to the meaning in 1.
- Antinaturalists dispute invariably 1.
- Naturalism often the stance of qualitative researchers. Ecological validity a feature of qualitative study often
Evaluation research – Considers whether the intervention achieved its anticipated goals.
- Uses principles of critical realism and views the outcome of an intervention as resultant from generative mechanisms and their contexts. Examing causal factors that inhibit/cause change after an intervention
So what is realism? – 2 types empirical and critical
- Empirical realism (naive realism) close correspondence between reality and terms used to describe it. Through the right methods reality can be understood.Fails to acknowledge structures and generative mechanisms underlying/producing phenomenon
- Critical realisms implies 2 things – positivists view scientific conceptualisation of reality actually directly reflects reality. Realists argue that the scientist’s conceptualisation is simply a way of knowing that reality
- Generative mechanisms are included/acknowledged by realists but not positivists. Realists accept generative mechanisms are not always observable
- Context significant as it interacts with the generative mechanisms to produce an effect on the the causal mechanism
- Offers prospect of change through identification of the generaive mechanisms
- Neither inductive or deductive but retroductive reasoning – inferencing about the causal mechanisms in operation and responsible for the regularities observed in the social world