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Lecture 3: Surveys in Social Research Leah Wild. Dept. Social and Policy Sciences.

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Overview. The Main Steps In Quantitative Research Concepts Variables And Values

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Key Issues. Types of Variables Dependent And Independent Variables Formulation of Hypotheses Criteria Of Hypothesis Construction Types of Hypotheses

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Variables A variable is any attribute or characteristics that allows us to distinguish between one element or individual and another.

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Nominal variables Latin nominalis (of a name). eg. Newspapers: The Sun, The Mail, The Times, The guardian, the Telegraph. They have no particular value they are just a name.

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Ordinal variables They have a value ie very poor, poor, fair, good, very good excellent. Involves ranking or ordering.

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Quantity Variable Income or price Can be discrete or continuous Number of children in a family a discrete variable cannot be divided. Height a continuous variable can be divided. Both imply counting but in different ways. Produce data that have to be handled differently.

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v23 Household income v21 Highest qualification you have Raw numbers Under £5,000 £5,000-£14,999 £15,000-£29,999 £30,000-£49,999 £50,000+ Sum Higher degree/postgraduate qualification/degree A/AS levels/SCE Higher/Scottish Certific O level/GCSE grade A-C/trade apprenticeship No qualifications/overseas qualifications Sum Included cases from a total of 19411

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Observed Values Each measurement or count or classification made for each elemnt or individual in our sample. Eg sample of 100 individuals= 100 observations. Record gender= 200 observations Record income=300 observations.

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Dependant and Independent Variables Independent Variable –The thing that you think might be having a causal effect. So you are varying it to see whether there is any significant change in the dependant variable. Gender, Age groups, class groups, area of residence. Dependent Variable - e.g. This is basically the thing you are trying to explain so for example newspaper readership or smoking behaviour, drug use, or fear of crime. This is the behaviour that you are measuring. Usually expressed as a frequency

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Re-cap. Concepts e.g. gender (masculinity, femininity), ethnicity, religious affairs Variables and Values e.g. gender has typically two values: male, female (Observed values) Dependent And Independent Variables The researcher decides about the relationship between the variables

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The Main Steps In Quantitative Research 1. Theory 2. Hypothesis 3. Research Design 4. Devise measures of concepts 5. Select research site(s) 6. Select research subjects/respondents 7. Administer research instruments/collect data 8. Process data 9. Analyse data 10. Findings/conclusions 11. Write up findings/conclusions The process of quantitative research (Bryman, 2001)

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Formulation Of Hypothesis A hypothesis is an assumption about the status of events or about relations between variables. It is a tentative explanation of the research problem, a possible outcome of the research, or an educated guess about the research outcome (Sarantakos, 1998).

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Criteria of Hypothesis Construction Hypotheses are required to demonstrate the following characteristics: To be empirically testable, that is they can be empirically proven right or wrong To contain statements that are not contradictory To describe one issue only To be clear, specific and precise

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Types Of Hypotheses Null hypothesis Positive one-directional (or one-tailed) hypothesis A negative or inverse one-directional hypothesis Two-directional (or two-tailed) hypothesis

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Example Of Hypothesis Formation Research aim: To explore the relationship between grades and number of hours of study per week.

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Null hypothesis There is no relationship between hours studying and grades Contains a statement that there is no relationship between variables A starting point or benchmark

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Positive one-directional (or one- tailed) hypothesis: If the number of hours studying per week is low, then grades are low. The higher the number of hours studying per week, the higher the grades

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A negative or inverse one-directional hypothesis states that: If the number of hours studying per week is low, then the grades are high

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Two-directional (or two-tailed) hypothesis (sometimes called a non- directional hypothesis) There is a relationship between hours studying and grades. Suggests that there is a relationship between variables. Does not posit a particular direction.

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Abstract Construct to Concrete Measure The measurement of the process for quantitative research is a straightforward sequence: first conceptualisation, followed by operationalisation, followed by applying the operational definition or measure into collect data.

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Next Week. The Logic Of Survey Research Steps In Conducting A Survey Advantages And Limitations Of Questionnaires Operationalisation And Questionnaires Questionnaire Design Types Of Questions Key Rules For Designing Questions

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