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Steps in the development of a research project:

1. Selection of a problem
2. Review of existing research and theory
3. Statement of a hypothesis/RQ
4. Determination of appropriate methodology and research design
5. Data collection
6. Analysis and interpretation of data
7. Presentation of results
8. Replication
Chapter 2: Elements of Research
1. *Concept*: a term that expresses an abstract idea formed by generalizing from particulars
and summarizing related observations
a. Ex: advertising effectiveness, message length, media usage, readability
b. Important: simplifies the research process and simplifies comm. among those who
have a shared understanding of them
2. *Construct*: concept that has three distinct characteristics
a. Abstract idea broken down into dimensions
b. Cannot be observed directly
c. Designed for a specific research purpose so that its meaning relates only to the
context in which it is found
d. Ex: ad involvement
e. *Authoritarianism*: represents a construct defined to describe a certain type of
3. *Variable*: empirical counterpart of a construct – link empirical and theoretical world –
phenomena and events that are measured/manipulated in research
a. *Marker variables*: important variables that define/highlight the construct under
4. *Independent variables*: systematically varied by the researcher
5. *Dependent variables*: observed; values are presumed to depend on the influence of the
ind. variables
a. What the researcher wants to explain
b. *Multivariate analysis*: a single study that measures multiple dependent variables
6. *Discrete variable*: only a finite set of variables – cannot be divided into subparts (ex:
7. *Continuous variable*: can take on any value and can be broken down (ex: height)
8. Other variable types:
a. Used for predictions (akin to ind.) *Predictor/antecedent variable*
b. Is predicted/assumes to be affected (akin to dep.) = *Criterion variable*
c. *Control variables*: used to eliminate unwanted influences
9. *Noise*: spurious/misleading results
a. Try to ID variables that could lead to this
10. Operational definition: specifies the procedures to be followed to explore/measure a
a. Needed for both ind. and dep. variables
b. Two types:
i. Measured: how to measure a variable
ii. Experimental: how an investigator has manipulated a variable
11. *Qualitative research*: focus groups, field observation, interviews, case studies, etc.
a. ind. variables/dep. variables may or may not be measured
12. *Quantitative research*: telephone surveys, mail surveys, internet surveys – all are asked
some Q’s – no follow ups
a. Variables are measured
13. *Measurement*: a researcher assigns numerals to objects, events, or properties according
to certain rules
a. Measurement systems strive to be isomorphic to reality: similar of form/structure
14. Levels of measurement:
a. *Nominal level*: weakest form – used to classify people, objects, characteristics
(ex: numbers on jerseys)
i. Exhaustive and mutually exclusive
b. *Ordinal level*: usually ranked along some dimension, like smallest to largest (ex:
football rankings)
c. *Interval level*: same as ordinal but the intervals between adjacent points on the
scale are of equal value (ex: temperature)
d. *Ratio level*: same as interval but includes a true zero (ex: time and distance)
15. *Reliability*: when a measure consistently gives the same answer
a. *Stability*: refers to the consistency of a result at different points in time
b. *Internal consistency*: involves examining the consistency of performance among
the items that compose a scale
c. *Equivalency*: assesses relative correlation between two parallel forms of a test
16. Validity: measures what it’s supposed to measure
a. Face validity, predictive validity, concurrent validity, construct validity

Chapter 4: Sampling
1. *Population*: group/class of subjects, variables, concepts, phenomena
2. *Sample*: subset of the population that is representative of the entire population

Chapter 7: Survey Research

1. *Descriptive survey*: attempts to describe or document current conditions or attitudes –
to explain what exists at the moment
a. Ex: rate of unemployment
2. *Analytical survey*: attempts to describe and explain why situations exist
a. Two or more variables are usually examined to investigate research questions or test
3. Advantages of survey research
a. Can be used to investigate problems in realistic settings
b. Cost of surveys is reasonable when one considers the amount of information
c. A large amount of data can be collected with relative ease from a variety of people
d. Surveys are not constrained by geographic boundaries
e. Data that are helpful to survey research already exist
4. Disadvantages of survey research
a. Independent variables can’t be manipulated the way they are in lab experiments
i. Causality is difficult to establish
b. Inappropriate wording or placement of questions within a questionnaire can bias
c. The wrong respondents may be included in survey research
d. Some survey research is becoming difficult to conduct because response rates
continue to decline
5. Putting together questions
a. Understand the goals of the project
b. Questions should be clear and unambiguous
c. Questions must accurately communicate what is required from respondents
d. Don’t assume respondents understand the questions
6. Open-ended questions can be good because of unforeseen answers but can also be bad
because they take time
7. Close-ended questions are good because they provide greater uniformity but are bad because
it’s easy for the researchers to omit important responses
8. General guidelines
a. Make questions clear
b. Keep questions short
c. Remember the purposes of the research
d. Do not ask double-barreled questions
i. One that asks two or more questions in the same sentence
e. Avoid biased words or terms
f. Avoid leading questions
i. Suggests a certain response or contains a hidden premise
g. Do not use questions that ask for highly detailed information
h. Avoid potentially embarrassing questions unless they are necessary
9. Prepare a persuasive introduction to a survey to increase response rate
a. Short, realistically worded, nonthreatening, serious, neutral, and pleasant but firm
10. *Screener/filler questions*: used to eliminate unwanted respondents- only include
respondents who answer questions in a specific manner. These often require respondents to
skip one or more questions
11. Five methods for gathering data: mail survey, telephone survey, personal interview, group
admin., and internet survey
12. Mail surveys
a. Advantages
i. Cover a wide geographic area for low cost
ii. Allow for selective sampling using specialized mailing lists
iii. Provides anonymity
b. Disadvantages
i. Must be self-explanatory
ii. Slowest form of data collection
iii. Never know exactly who answers the questions
13. Phone surveys
a. Advantages
i. Cost is reasonable
ii. Can include more detailed questions
iii. Faster than mail
b. Disadvantages
i. Can’t include questions that involve visual demonstrations
ii. Not everyone has a landline
iii. Require a large number of dialings
14. Personal interviews
a. Advantages
i. Most flexible means of obtaining info
ii. Harder for respondents to terminate the interview
b. Disadvantages
i. Time and cost
ii. Potential for interviewer bias
15. Group administration
a. Advantages
i. Response rates are high
b. Disadvantages
i. Cost
16. Internet survey
a. Advantages
i. Low costs
ii. No geographic limitation
iii. No time constraints
iv. Flexibility
b. Disadvantages
i. No way to ensure that the person recruited for the study is actually the
person who completed the questionnaire

Chapter 9: Experimental Research

1. Advantages of lab experiments
a. Evidence of causality
b. Control
c. Cost
d. Replication
2. Disadvantages of lab experiments
a. Artificiality
b. Researcher bias
c. Limited scope
3. Conducting experimental research
a. Select the setting
b. Select the experimental design
c. Operationalize the variables
d. Decide how to manipulate the independent variable
i. Staged vs straightforward
e. Select and assign subjects to experimental conditions
f. Conduct a pilot study
g. Administer the experiment
h. Analyze and interpret results
4. Have to control the effects of confounding variables that might contaminate findings
a. Randomization
b. Matching
c. Incorporating the confounding variable in the design

Chapter 11: Hypothesis Testing

1. Research questions and hypotheses
a. *Research questions*: used frequently in problem or policy-oriented studies where
the researcher is not interested in testing the statistical significance of the findings
i. Frequently used in areas that have been studied only marginally or not at all
(exploratory research)
b. *Hypotheses*: based on existing theory and able to make predictions about the
outcome of the study
c. Purposes of hypotheses
i. Provides direction for a study
ii. Eliminates trial-and-error research
iii. Helps rule out intervening and confounding variables
iv. Allow for quantification of variables
d. Criteria for good hypotheses
i. Compatible with current knowledge
ii. Logically consistent
iii. Succinct
iv. Testable