Research Methods: Lecture II.2

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What are Surveys?

A structural set of items designed to measure attitudes, beliefs, values, or behavioral tendencies

When defining what a Survey is, we say it is, "A structural set of items..."
What do items include?

-direct questions
-agree/disagree statements
-fill in the blanks and scales

Do items have to concern the person taking the survey?

No

How can Surveys be given?

Self-report (S-data)
Observers report (O-data)

Explain Self-report (S-data).

We report our own attitudes, feelings and etc.
Most common because we know ourselves best

Explain Observers report (O-data).

Friends, family, teachers, and etc. report
Objective observers, anyone else besides ourself report
Ex: teachers report on students

Why are surveys given to other people?

People are a wealth of information about themselves
Others can give us an idea of multiple roles (i.e., teacher, mother, friend, etc.)

When giving a survey, what is our assumption about the participant?

That people are honest about themselves to others

When giving a survey, explain how social desirability is a concern with some topics.

Some people may want to be seen as socially desirable, therefore, they will be untruthful about topics such as sexuality and substance abuse.
This is a threat to construct validity

What is a sample of Rosenberg's Social desirability scale?

"I always tell the truth"
The use of always and never cannot be true

What minimizes sources of bias?

Investigator honesty (makes responder more honest)
Asking the right questions

What is Measurement?

Assigning number to observations

What are the 4 Levels of Measurement?

Nominal
Ordinal
Interval
Ratio

Explain Nominal Scales.

Classification of objects into categories

What are some examples of categories in Nominal Scales?

nationality
hair color
gender
names of objects

What are the 2 key properties of Nominal Scales?

1. Data categories are mutually exclusive (each observation has only 1 category)
2. Data categories have no logical order
(only qualitative differences)

Nominal Scales: What is an example of how numbers can designate categories?

1=blue eyes, 2=brown eyes
(but the numbers do not imply order of categories)

Explain Ordinal Scales

Number can be used to designate categories
Order of numbers agrees with the order of categories

What are some examples of categories in Ordinal Scales?

"Warmth":
1. Cold
2. Cool
3. Warm
4. Hot

Ordinal Scales: The size of a number __________ correspond to the _______ of a relevant characteristic.

does not; amount

Ordinal Scales: What is an example of how the size of the number does not correspond to the amount of a relevant characteristic?

On a scale between 0 degrees and 130 degrees, cold and hot may have larger ranges than warm and cool
(There is not the same number of degree in each category. Heat is increasing from cold-->cool-->warm-->hot, but not by a certain interval)

What are the 3 characteristics of Ordinal Scales?

1. Data categories are mutually exclusive
2. Data categories have some logical order
3. Data categories are scaled according to the amount of the particular characteristic they possess

When choosing items for scales, what must we keep in mind?

We need to pick items tat have a "natural" scale to convey certain types of information

Explain why colors are typically at the Nominal Scale of measurement rather than the Ordinal Scale.

Colors are a poor choice for labeling of ordinal data because people do not automatically know what the different colors mean

Explain the Scale of terrorist threats and color.

Scales of terrorist threat (ordinal) and color (nominal) do not match.
News reports of terrorist threat list the color and phase, the color is of no use at all
(this is an ordinal level of measurement with a nominal scale)

Explain Interval Scales.

Equal Unit Scales

What are some examples of categories in Interval Scales?

temperature (F or C)
IQ scores (try to be)
most tests

Why is temperature a category of Interval Scales?

10 degrees to 20 degrees is equal to 20 degrees to 30 degrees

Explain the "beginning" to an Interval Scale.

There is no beginning to the scales
-the zero point is just another category
-0 degrees Fahrenheit does not mean no heat

What are Interval Scales lacking?

No zero score

What is the difference between Ordinal Scales and Interval Scales?

Interval Scales:
-Number can be used to designate categories
-Order of numbers agrees with the order of categories
-Number differences agree with characteristic differences

What is an Interval Scale example?

An adult with a 50 IQ should have 50 fewer units of intelligence than a person with a 100 IQ
A 100 IQ person would have 50 fewer units of intelligence than a person with a 150 IQ
-However, you cannot say that a genius (150 IQ) is 1.5x as intelligent as an average (100 IQ)

What math can we use when dealing with Interval Scales? Why?

Add and Subtract
Multiple and Divide
-because there is no true zero

What are the 5 characteristics of Interval Scales?

1. Data categories are mutually exclusive
2. Data categories have some logical order
3. Data categories are scaled according to the amount of the particular characteristic
4. Equal differences in the characteristic are represented by equal differences in the numbers
5. The value 0 is just another value on the scale

Explain Ratio Scales.

What we normally think of as measurement
-order of numbers agrees with the order of categories
-number differences agree with characteristic differences

What are some examples of categories in Ratio Scales?

height
weight
energy

In Ratio Scales, what does the zero point correspond to?

Corresponds to a lack of a characteristic

In Ratio Scales, what is an example of how numbers can be used to designate categories?

25 meters--> distance
5 meters --> distance
0 meters --> no distance

What math can we use when dealing wit Ration Scales?

Multiply and Divide

What is an example of Ratio Scales?

Kelvin temperature scale measures heat energy:
0 degrees K= no heat energy
25 degrees K= heat energy
50 degrees K= heat energy

*50 degrees K is 2x as much heat energy as 25 degrees K

What are the 5 characteristics of Ratio Scales?

1. Data categories are mutually exclusive
2. Data categories have some logical order
3. Data categories are scaled according to the amount of the particular characteristic they possess
4. Equal differences in the characteristic are represented by equal differences in the numbers
5. The value 0 reflects the absence of the characteristic

How do you tell what scale is appropriate? Example.

The correct scale often depends on how you intend to use the data rather than on the intrinsic properties of the things you measure
Ex: I can use person names as...
-nominal (code different people)
-ordinal (alphabetize by name)

What are the three question topics of the Questionnaire Format?

1. Attitudes/beliefs: opinion, not true facts (subjective)
2. Facts and demographics: can now check (right or wrong answer)
-group membership, age
3. Behaviors: past or intended

Explain how the wording should be when using the Questionnaire Format.

Should be simple
-use words a 6th grader could understand
-use the language of the participants
(mathematicians, use math terms)
-short and to the point

What should be avoided when trying to be simple when creating questions for a Questionnaire Format?

technical terms
vagueness
poor grammar
run-on sentences

Simplicity: What is an example of a bad question?

How many myoclonic jerks do you or your siblings experience per week?

What are double-barreled questions? Example.

Asking 2 things at once
Ex: "Should freshman get tuition waivers in return for volunteering their time to the University and the state parks?"

What are loaded questions? Example.

Leading one to respond a certain way
Examples:
-"Would you agree that putting kids in jail keeps them off the streets?"
-"Do you think..."

What is an example of using "charged" words?

"Do you favor big business or are you a communist?"
avoid this

What is an example of asking the same question twice and using "charged" words to get a higher percentage to agree?

"Do you think too little money is being spend to help the poor?"--> 64% agree
"Do you think that too little money is being spent on welfare?"--> 23% agree

Negative wording: What is an example of why we should avoid double negatives? What is a better way to ask the question?

Double negative:
"Are you not uncomfortable with unregistered firearms not really being in your community?"
Better question:
"Are you comfortable with registered firearms outside of your community?

What is an example of a question using negative wording?

"Do you agree or disagree that only people who read well should be allowed to teach in public schools?"

How can we avoid Yea- and Nay-saying?

By using reverse-scored or different items:
"I enjoy school"
"School makes me happy"
"I can't wait to get home from school"
"I do not like school"

What is an example of a question that makes an assumptions?

"What do you think about the US trade policy toward Canada?"
-assumes participants know the policy
"What is your occupation?"
-assumes participants are employed

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