# SOWK 6003 Social Work Research Week 4 Research process, variables, hypothesis, and research designs By Dr. Paul Wong.

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SOWK 6003 Social Work Research Week 4 Research process, variables, hypothesis, and research designs
By Dr. Paul Wong

Research Process? Problem formulation Designing the study
Data collection Data processing Data analysis Interpreting the findings Writing the report

Purposes of Research Exploration Description Explanation Evaluation
Multiple purposes

This week we will focus on the first 2 steps in a research process
Formulating a problem and Designing a study

Operationalization of Concepts
Concept as a mental image that symbolizes an idea, an object, an event, a behavior, a person and so on……word that people agree upon to symbolize something. Attributes are concepts that can be grouped together to form a broader concept. Variable is - something of interest to us that can take on different values; an element in a research project that, when measured, can take on more than one value A variable is a characteristic that has two or more values.

Relationships between Variables
Correlations Correlational relationship simply says that two things perform in a synchronized manner.

Weather and fashion, how are they relate to each other?

Independent Variables (IVs) vs. Dependent Variables (DVs)
Types of Variables Independent Variables (IVs) vs. Dependent Variables (DVs) IV is a variable that explains or causes something, and is not depending on the other variables. It is what the researcher (or nature) manipulates. DV is the variable which is the effect, being explained or caused.

Extraneous Variables vs Mediating Variables
Extraneous variables represent alternative explanations for the relationships that are observed between the independent variable and dependent variables

Mediating Variable is the mechanism by which an independent variable affects a dependent variable. Sometimes it is also referred as intervening variables.

How do Extraneous Variables come in to the picture between weather and fashion?

Continuous, Discrete, and Dichotomous Variables
Continuous variable has an infinite number of different values between the highest and lowest score. E.g., ? Discrete variable has a limited and countable number of distinct steps between the highest and lowest score. E.g.,? Dichotomous variable has only two levels. E.g.,?

What is research design?

When we talk about study design, we need to consider the following aspects:
Nature Setting Time Participants

Nature Experimental Design - investigation that involves manipulation and control of an independent or treatment variable with the intent of assessing whether the independent variables causes a change in the level of a dependent variable. Note: Randomization : random assignment to the control and experimental group, which is not equal to random sampling. It is about the reduction of systematic error such as selection bias. Quasi-Experimental Design - research study set up to resemble a true experiment but that does not involve random assignment of the participants to a group or manipulation and control of a true independent variable, instead relying on measuring groups based on pre-existing characteristics. (Beins, 2009) Pre-Experimental Design - the features of experimental design and quasi-experimental design are not present.

Setting Applied Research: take place in a natural environment where people are acting as they normally do. It usually attempts to address practical questions rather than theoretical questions Basic Research is more likely to occur in a laboratory or other controlled setting. It tests or expands on theory, with no direct application intended. (Beins, 2009)

Time One time: Cross-sectional/One shot/Posttest only Two time: pretest – posttest design More than two times: Longitudinal Many many times: Time Series

Participant/Subject One person – Case study One group – A cohort More than one person More than one group – Comparison study

Treatment/intervention

Data Source Qualitative Quantitative Observations
Journal/Diary/Self report Indepth Interview Focus Group Art work Archives Documents Quantitative Measurements through self-administered questionnaires (by hand, by mail, or online) Interview survey (telephone, home visit) Health indicators (BP, skin temperature, saliva cortisol etc.)

Research rigor (means good standard)
Ethical Rigor - concerns about ethical consideration Methodology Rigor 1. The matching of research questions with the research methods 2. The appropriateness and reliability of the data collection method 3. The representativeness of the samples 4. The generalizability of the data

Reliability : Validity:
Rigor of Data Collection Method (we will talk more about them next week) Reliability : consistency of measurement over-time (test-retest reliability) consistency of measurement by different rater (interrater reliability) consistency of measurement on different subgroup (split-half reliability) consistency of measurement on items of the measurement tools (internal consistency reliability. Cronbach’s alpha) Validity: - refers to the extent to which an empirical measure adequately reflects the real meaning of the concept under consideration. Face validity Content validity Criterion-related validity Construct validity: convergent and discriminant validity Factorial validity

Discussions on last week’s homework
In class activity 1 Discussions on last week’s homework

How to write a research proposal?
In class activity 2 How to write a research proposal?

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