A Research Primer for the Social and Behavioral Sciences

A Research Primer for the Social and Behavioral Sciences

1st Edition - October 8, 1985

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  • Authors: Miriam Schapiro Grosof, Hyman Sardy
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483258010

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A Research Primer for the Social and Behavioral Sciences provides an introductory but comprehensive overview of the research process that primarily concerns human subjects. This book discusses the methods of acquiring knowledge, importance of a well-chosen problem, review of the literature, and relationship between theory-building and hypothesis-testing. The common sources of invalidity in practice, non-experimental research types, Stevens' classification of scales, and estimation based on probabilistic sampling are also elaborated. This text likewise covers the role of computer in research, techniques for analysis of data, univariate and bivariate statistics, and assumptions underlying analysis of variance. Other topics include the canonical correlation analysis, non-parametric analysis of variance, deterministic problem analysis techniques, and common errors in presentation of findings. This publication is intended for novice investigators in the broad category of social and behavioral sciences.

Table of Contents

  • Preface



    Appendix: Decision Trees


    1. Preliminaries


    Methods of Acquiring Knowledge

    The Scientific Method

    Identifying a Problem as Researchable

    The Role of Theory


    Controlled Observations

    Statistical Analysis

    Overview of the Scientific Method

    Classification of Research

    Formulative and Verificational Research

    Basic, Applied, and Action Research


    Additional Reading

    2. Choosing the Research Problem and Stating the Problem-Question

    The Importance of a Well-Chosen Problem

    Sources of Problems

    The Role of Curiosity

    A Theoretical Basis for the Study


    Amenability to Replication

    Practical Aspects of Problem Formulation



    Availability of Other Resources

    Availability of Information

    Usefulness of the Findings

    Politics of Problem Selection

    Political Problems Peculiar to Doctoral Students: The Committee

    Capabilities and Limitations of the Researcher

    Stating the Problem-Question: Avoiding Common Errors in Formulation

    A Research Plan

    Design: Preliminaries

    Trouble: The Best-Laid Plans

    Appendix: Difficulties Nobody Mentions Because They Figure You Shouldn't Have To Be Told (Maybe You Don't)


    Additional Reading

    3. The Background of the Problem: Review of the Literature


    Locating Reference Materials: Bibliographic

    Reviewing and Abstracting

    Checklist for Evaluating the Report of a Study

    Locating Reference Materials: Other Researchers

    Format: Notes and Bibliography

    Recording and Storing Bibliographic Material

    When to Stop

    Common Errors

    Outcome of the Background Search

    Appendix: Research Indexes


    Additional Reading

    4. Definitions and Major Research Hypotheses

    Introduction: The Relationship Between Theory-Building and Hypothesis-Testing

    Role of Definitions in Hypothesis Formulation

    Selection of Variables and Identification of Their Role in the Hypothesis

    The Hypothesis: What Is It?

    Stating the Expected Relationships

    Operationalizing Definitions and Hypotheses

    The Logic of Hypothesis Testing

    The Null Hypothesis

    Level of Significance, Region of Rejection, and Type I or α-Error

    Type II or β-Error

    One-Tailed Versus Two-Tailed Tests (Directional Versus Nondirectional Effects)

    When Significance Tests Are Not Appropriate or Useful

    A Final Word


    Additional Reading

    5. Evaluating Method and Design


    Classification of Research


    Internal and External Validity

    Control of Variance

    Common Sources of Invalidity in Practice


    Additional Reading

    6. Research Types


    Nonexperimental Research Types: Historical

    Nonexperimental Research Types: Descriptive

    1. Longitudinal Studies

    2. Case and Generalized Case Studies

    3. Correlational Studies

    4. System Studies

    Experimental Research Types

    Overlapping Research Types

    Pilot Studies



    Additional Reading

    7. Procedure: Measurement, Instrumentation, and Data Collection



    Stevens' Classification of Scales

    Other Ways to Classify Scales

    Scales and Statistics


    Direct Observation


    Questions and Schedules

    Some Vocabulary


    Scaling: Constructing Scales


    Normative and Ipsative Scoring

    Criteria for Evaluating Instruments




    Sensitivity and Differentiability

    The Role of Measurement and Instrumentation

    Problems of Developing Your Own Instrument


    Additional Reading

    8. The Study Population: Sampling


    Sampling: Advantages and Disadvantages

    Nonprobability Sample Types

    Estimation Based on Probabilistic Sampling

    Determining a Sampling Procedure: Initial Steps

    Sampling Types

    Simple Random Sampling

    Stratified Sampling

    Systematic Sampling

    Cluster Sampling

    Matched Samples

    Two-Phased Sampling

    Sequential Sampling

    Interpenetrating Replicate Subsampling

    Other Sampling Types

    Determining Sample Size

    Sampling Errors to Avoid

    Sampling and Studying Human Populations

    Sampling and External Validity: A Concluding Note


    Additional Reading

    9. Role of Computer in Research

    Computer Processing of Data

    Some Basic Computer Terminology

    Access to Computing Facilities

    Who Processes Your Data?

    Computer Costs

    Timely Processing

    Coding and Documentation

    Computerizing Input Information

    Verification of Input Information

    Security of Machine-Readable Information

    Automated Data Acquisition and Process Control

    Data Base Management (Management Information) Systems and Computer Simulation (Automated Data Generation)

    Your Own Software

    Computer Packages for the Social Sciences

    Computer Graphics

    Text Editors

    Keeping Data Records (Archiving)


    Additional Reading

    10. Techniques for Analysis of Data


    A Note on Word Usage

    Questions That Data Analysis Can and Cannot Answer


    Choosing and Using a Statistical Resource Person or Consultant

    Choosing and Using a Computer Resource Person

    Classification of Data Analysis or Statistical Techniques

    Evaluating Competing Procedures

    Computer Use

    Decision Trees for Choosing Statistical Procedures


    Additional Reading

    11. Probabilistic Methods: Univariate and Bivariate Statistics


    Graphs and Charts

    Bar Charts

    Line Plots or Line Charts


    Pie Charts

    Exploratory Graphing Techniques

    Statistical Maps

    Miscellaneous Schematic Graphs



    Cross Sorts and Cross Breaks

    Univariate Measures and Techniques

    The Measurement of Difference

    Measurement of Relationships and Strength of Association Nonparametric Relationships



    Additional Reading

    12. Probabilistic Methods: Multivariate Statistics I: Basic Strategies


    Charts and Tables for Three or More Variables

    Multiple Causality

    Partial and Semipartial (Part) Correlation

    Multiple Regression Analysis

    Least Squares Assumptions

    Nonlinear Regression: Transforming (Re-Expressing) Variables

    Path Analysis

    The Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)

    Assumptions Underlying Analysis of Variance

    n-Uily Analysis of Variance and Factorial Design

    Other Types of Design

    Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA)

    Multiple Comparison Procedures


    Additional Reading

    13. Probabilistic Methods: Multivariate Statistics II: Clustering and Classification Techniques


    Factor Analysis

    Discriminant Analysis

    Assumptions and Procedures

    Interpreting Discriminant Functions

    Classification of Cases

    Calculating Procedures

    A Last Word on Discriminant Analysis

    Canonical Correlation Analysis

    Multivariate Linear Methods: Some Comparisons


    Additional Reading

    14. Probabilistic Methods: Multivariate Statistics III: Techniques Free of Linear Assumptions


    Time Series: Special Issues in Bivariate and Multivariate Analyses

    Nonparametric Multivariate Methods


    Nonparametric Analysis of Variance (Kruskal-Uilllis and Friedman Tests)

    The Coefficient of Concordance

    Cochran's Q Test

    The Chi-Square Tests

    Partialling Procedures

    Some Last Thoughts on Multivariate Statistical Techniques


    Additional Reading

    15. Deterministic Problem Analysis Techniques


    Elementary Mathematical Techniques

    Calculus Based Techniques

    Mathematical Programming

    Linear Programming

    Integer Programming

    Parametric Programming (Sensitivity Analysis)

    Nonlinear Programming

    Dynamic Programming

    Network Models


    Critical Path Method (CPM)

    Decision Theory

    Finite Markov Chain Processes

    Inventory Models

    Waiting Line (Queueing) Models



    Additional Reading

    16. Endgame

    Evaluating the Design of Your Study

    The Overall Structure of the Report

    Review of Related Literature: Suggesting the Importance of the Study

    Presentation of Design and Methodology

    What To Make of It

    The Statement of Findings

    What Are Findings?

    Presentation of Findings

    Common Errors in Presentation of Findings

    Your Conclusions

    Recapitulation of Problem Statement

    Critical Comment: Implications and (General) Discussion

    Resolution of Contradictions

    Negative Results

    Your Summary

    Journal Articles: Special Considerations

    Evaluation Reports: Special Considerations

    Pitfulls in Presentation of Conclusions

    The Research Report: Recapitulation

    Developing a Readable Style


    Appendix: Dissertation Checklist


    Additional Reading



Product details

  • No. of pages: 450
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1985
  • Published: October 8, 1985
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483258010

About the Authors

Miriam Schapiro Grosof

Hyman Sardy

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