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Flashcards in 3) Social Science Research Methods Deck (20):

Describe the key features of quantitative research:

Numerical data
Hypothesis and deduction = conclusions
Relationships between variables (causal)


What designs can be used for quantitative research?

RCTs, cohort, case control, cross sectional surveys
Secondary analysis of statistics and surveys


What are some applications of questionnaires?

Measure of exposure to risk factors e.g. diet on cancer
Knowledge and attitudes e.g. sexual health
Satisfaction with health services


What two things should good questionnaires be?

Valid and reliable


What is the difference between published and unpublished questionnaires?

Publishes tested for validity and reliability
Unpublished, niche areas and need piloting


What questions should be asked in a questionnaire?

Many closed with may be an open ended question at the end with a text box. Requires different analysis and may not be completed


What are quantitative methods good at?

Describing, measuring and finding relationships between variables
Allowing comparisons


What are the disadvantages of quantitative methods?

Force people into inappropriate categories
Don't allow people to express in the way they want
May not access all information


Describe the key features of qualitative research:

Make sense of phenomena in terms of meaning people bring to them e.g. why don't people give up smoking
Understand people's perspective
Insights in behaviour


What methods can be used in qualitative research?

Focus groups
Documentary and media analysis


What is ethnography and why is it useful?

Studying human behaviour in natural context
Gain access to behaviour that individuals many give biased accounts of or not remember


How can be interviews be used for qualitative research?

Give participants' perspective on agenda
Detailed, focussed accounts on issue of interest


How can focus groups be used for qualitative research?

Accessing group based, collective understanding of an issue
Encourages people to participate


What is documentary and media analysis and why is it useful?

Analysis of independent evidence e.g. medical records and diaries
Analysis of TV, newspaper and media stories
Gives historical context and useful for subjects that are difficult to investigate


What are qualitative methods good at?

Understanding perspective
Accessing info not revealed by quantitative
Explaining relationships between variables


What are the disadvantages of qualitative methods?

Labour intensive
Finding consistent relationships
Generalisability - dangerous to infer propensity of views from small sample size


How is qualitative research appraised?

Carried out robustly
Rigour, credibility, relevance, transparency


What factors should be consisted when choosing an approach for research?

Topic under investigation and research question
Research team's preferences
Time, money and funders available


What are the disadvantages of focus groups?

Topics may be too sensitive
Deviant views inhibited
Don't want hierarchy in groups
Difficult to arrange


How is qualitative data analysed?

Close inspection of data looking for themes