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Hypothesis

a statement of how variables are expected to be related to one another, often according to predictions from a theory

variable

a factor thought to be significant for human behavior, which can vary (or Change) from one case to another

Research definition

the way in which a researcher measures a variable

Research method

one of six procedures that sociologists use to colect data: surveys, participant observation, secondary analysis, documents, experiments, and unobtrusive measures

validity

the extent to which an operational definition measures what it was intended to measure

reliability

the extent to which research produces consistent or dependable results

replication

repeating a study in order to test its findings

survey

the collection of data by having people answer a series of questions

population

the target group to be studied

sample

the individuals intended to represent the population to be studied

random sample

a sample in which everyone in the target population has the same chance of being included in the study

stratified random sample

a sample from selected subgroups of the target population in which everyone in those subgroups has an equal chance of being included in the research

respondents

people who respond to a survey, either in interviews or by self-administered questionnaires

self-administered questionnaires

questionnaires that respondents fill out

interview

direct questioning of respondents

interviewer bias

effects that interviewers have on respondents that lead to biased answers

structured interviews

interviews that use closed-ended questions

closed-ended question

questions that are followed by a list of possible answer to be selected by the respondent

unstructured interviews

interviews that use open-ended questions

open-ended questions

questions that respondents answer in their own words

rapport

a feeling of trust between researchers and the people thy are studying

participant observation (fieldwork)

research in which the researcher participates in a research setting while observing what is happening in that setting

generalizability

the extent to which the findings from one group (or sample) canbe generalized or applied to other groups (or populations)

secondary analysis

the analysis of data that have been collected by other researchers

documents

in its narrow sense, written sources that provide data; in its extended sense, archival material of anysort, including photographs, movies, CDs, DVDs, and so on

experiment

the use of control and experimental groups and dependent and independent variables to test causation

experimental group

the group of subjects who are exposed to the independent variable

control group

the group of subjects who are not exposed to the independent variable

independent variable

a factor that causes a change in another variable, called the dependent variable

unobtrusive measures

ways of observing people who do not know they are being studied

quantitative research methods

research in which the emphasis is placed on measurement, the use of statistics, and numbers

qualitative research methods

research in which the emphasis is placed on observing, describing, and interpreting people's behavior

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