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© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 1 Chapter 3 Introduction to Quantitative Research Quantity is the unit of analysis –Amounts –Frequencies –Degrees –Values –Intensity Uses statistics for greater precision and objectivity Based on the deductive model
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 2 Model for Conceptualizing Quantitative Research Overall purpose or objective Research literature Research questions and hypotheses Selecting appropriate methods Validity and reliability of the data
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 3 Creating the Foundation for Quantitative Research Concept –Abstract thinking to distinguish it from other elements Construct –Theoretical definition of a concept; must be observable or measurable; linked to other concepts Variable –Presented in research questions and hypotheses Operationalization –Specifically how the variable is observed or measured
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 4 Research Hypotheses for Quantitative Research Educated guess or presumption based on literature States the nature of the relationship between two or more variables Predicts the research outcome Research study designed to test the relationship described in the hypothesis
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 5 Quantitative Research Hypotheses Directional hypothesis –Precise statement indicating the nature and direction of the relationship/difference between variables Nondirectional hypothesis –States only that relationship/difference will occur
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 6 Assessing Hypotheses Simply stated? Single sentence? At least two variables? Variables clearly stated? Is the relationship/difference precisely stated? Testable?
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 7 Null Hypotheses Implicit complementary statement to the research hypothesis States no relationship/difference exists between variables Statistical test performed on the null Assumed to be true until support for the research hypothesis is demonstrated
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 8 Research Traditions in the Use of Hypotheses Hypotheses are always tentative Research hypothesis, not the null hypothesis, is the focus of the research and presented in the research report
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 9 Research Questions in Quantitative Research Preferred when little is known about a communication phenomenon Used when previous studies report conflicting results Used to describe communication phenomena
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 10 Types of Variables Variable –Element that is identified in the hypothesis or research question –Property or characteristic of people or things that varies in quality or magnitude –Must have two or more levels –Must be identified as independent or dependent
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 11 Independent Variables Manipulation or variation of this variable is the cause of change in other variables Technically, independent variable is the term reserved for experimental studies –Also called antecedent variable, experimental variable, treatment variable, causal variable, predictor variable
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 12 Dependent Variables The variable of primary interest Research question/hypothesis describes, explains, or predicts changes in it The variable that is influenced or changed by the independent variable –In non-experimental research, also called criterion variable, outcome variable
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 13 Relationship Between Independent and Dependent Variables Cannot specify independent variables without specifying dependent variables Number of independent and dependent variables depends on the nature and complexity of the study The number and type of variables dictates which statistical test will be used
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 14 Intervening and Confounding Variables Intervening variable –Explains or provides a link between IV and DV –Relationship between the IV and DV can only be explained when the intervening variable is present Confounding variable –Confuses or obscures the effect of independent on dependent –Makes it difficult to isolate the effects of the independent variable
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 15 Operationalizing Variables All variables need an operationalization Multiple operationalizations exist for most variables Specifies the way in which variable is observed or measured –Practical and useful? –Justified argument? –Coincides with the conceptual definition?
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 16 Making the Case for Quantitative Research Advantages –Tradition and history implies rigor –Numbers and statistics allows precise and exact comparisons –Generalization of findings Limitations –Cannot capture complexity of communication over time –Difficult to apply outside of controlled environments
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 17 Issues of Reliability and Validity Reliability = consistency in procedures and in reactions of participants Validity = truth - Does it measure what it intended to measure? When reliability and validity are achieved, data are free from systematic errors
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 18 Threats to Reliability and Validity If measuring device cannot make fine distinctions If measuring device cannot capture people/things that differ When attempting to measure something irrelevant or unknown to respondent Can measuring device really capture the phenomenon?
© 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. 19 Other Sources of Variation Variation must represent true differences Other sources of variation –Factors not measured –Personal factors –Differences in situational factors –Differences in research administration –Number of items measured –Unclear measuring device –Mechanical or procedural issues –Statistical processing of data
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