Study Guide for Exam #1: Research Methods

Independent and dependent variable
A. Hypothesis
B. Variables
1. Independent variable (X)
2. Dependent variable (Y)
3. Extraneous or “third” variable (Z)

exogenous variables
– A factor in a causal model or causal system whose value is independent from the states of other variables in the system
– a factor whose value is determined by factors or variables outside the causal system under study

correlation versus causation
you dont know if theres a skunk soiling your flowers, maybe its not that the soil is bad, but that your flowers cant grow in early spring

internal and external validity
A. Internal validity
– The extent to which changes in the DV are attributable to changes in the IV
– duh, income depends on job source

B. External Validity:
– The extent to which research results can be generalized to other appropriate people, times, and settings (i.e., generalizability)
– but not for everyone, some peoples income is hereditary

The purpose and ethical issues raised by Humphrey’s Tea Room Trade study BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY
Recall: homosexual acts taking place in public bathrooms
– Humphreys asserted that the men participating in such activity came from diverse social backgrounds, had differing personal motives for seeking homosexual contact in such venues, and variously self-perceived as “straight,” “bisexual,” or “gay.”
– His study called into question some of the stereotypes associated with the anonymous male-male sexual encounters in public places, demonstrating that many of the participants lived otherwise conventional lives as family men and respected members of their communities, and that their activities posed no danger of harassment to straight males
– Because the researcher misrepresented his identity and intent and because the privacy of the subjects was infringed during the study, Tearoom Trade has caused a major debate on privacy for research participants and is now often used as an example of highly controversial social research

The purpose and ethical issues raised by Milgram’s obedience study PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM
Recall: Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the popular question at that particular time: “Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?”
– The experiments have been repeated many times in the following years with consistent results within differing societies, although not with the same percentages around the globe
– The experiments were also controversial and considered by some scientists to be unethical and physically or psychologically abusive.

The purpose and ethical issues raised by Venkatesh’s study of gangs PHYSICAL HARM

Research ethics
A. Sources of harm
1. Physical harm
EXAMPLE: Venkatesh, “rogue sociologist”
2. Psychological harm
EXAMPLE: Milgram obedience studies
3. Breach of confidentiality
EXAMPLE: Humphreys’ Tearoom Trade study

B. Strategies to protect subjects
1. Informed consent
— minimize or avoid deception
2. Right to refusal
3. Debriefing

Informed consent
you need to know what you’re getting yourself into, but if you want out u got it dude

if you’ve been deceived you need to know

Strengths and weaknesses of different research methodologies
1. Strengths
a. Can assess attitudes
b. Relatively inexpensive
c. Document social change
2. Limitations
a. “Recall” problems
b. Social pressure in interview setting

*Field Study and Natural Observations*
1. Strengths
a. “Real world” settings
b. Can focus on subcultures
c. Captures unique perceptions of actors
2. Weaknesses
a. Not generalizable
b. Subject to researcher’s interpretation
c. May raise many ethical issues

1. Strengths
a. High internal validity YOU KNOW ITS TRAO
2. Weaknesses
a. Unnatural setting
b. Demand characteristics
c. Experimenter effects
d. Low external validity

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