# Lecture 2: Research Methods and Introduction to Sociology

## Research Cycle

• Formulate research question
• Lift review
• Select appropriate method
• Collect data
• Analyze data
• Quantitative data (numeric - e.g. tables)
• Qualitative data (non-numeric - e.g. images, handwritten)
• Report results
• Annual meetings, conference presentations
• Journals
• Peer review: People who are considered experts in the same field look at the article and assess if it's good enough to be printed in the journal

## Research Terminology

Variable: A concept that can take on more than one value (it can vary). (e.g. age, level of education, etc.)

Independent Variable: The presumed cause in a cause-and-effect relationship.

Dependent Variable: The presumed effect in a cause-and-effect relationship.

Correlation: Data suggests that two things are linked/related. (e.g. Facebook usage and GPA - if one changes, the other will change in no definitive direction)

Causation: Data suggests that one thing caused the other thing to occur. (e.g. Facebook usage and GPA - if one changes, the other will change in a definitive direction - e.g. if Facebook usage increases, GPA decreases)

Population: The entire group about which the researcher wants to generalize.

Sample: The part of the population of interest that is selected for analysis.

Sampling Frame: The list of all the elements in a population.

## Sampling Techniques

Probability: Mathematically random. It means that every unit in my sampling frame has an equal likelihood of being selected into my sample.

Non-Probability: Not mathematically random. The researcher is being selective about who/what to choose as samples.

## Research Methods

### Experiments

• Method more associated with the natural sciences
• Test X → Y via an experiment
• Control group
• Experimental group
• Ex. A researcher is interested in studying the relationship between watching the TV show Game of Thrones and the development of antisocial behavior
• Independent variable: watching GOT
• Dependent variable: development of antisocial behavior
• Experimental Group: undergoing experiment
• Control Group: observe experiment

### Surveys

• Widely-used method
• Knowledge, attitudes, behavior
• Open-ended, closed-ended questions
• Look for association between X and Y
• Surveys have questions asked by someone. Questionnaires don't actually have anyone asking the questions

### Field Research

• Participation observation
• Reactivity and Interpretation
• Look for association between X and Y
• Guiding questions

### Analysis of Existing Documents and Official Statistics

• Statistics Canada, including census data
• Look for association between X and Y
• Pro: Cost effective
• Con: May not have all the variables needed for research

### Other Methods

• Content analysis (quantitative and qualitative)
• Historical-comparative
• Ethnography
• Secondary analysis
• Interviews

## Research Ethics

• Safety, privacy, confidentiality (vs. anonymity), and informed consent
• Institutional REBs: Research Ethics Board
• Group vulnerability

Research risk