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scientific method

a systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem

operational definition

transformation of an abstract concept into indicators that are observable and measurable


a testable statement about the relationship between two or more variables


a measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions

casual logic

the relationship between a condition or variable and a particular consequence with one event leading to each other

independent variable

the variable in a casual relationship that causes or influences a change in a second variable

dependent variable

the variable in a casual relationship that is subject to the influence of another variable


a relationship between two variables in which a change in one coincides with a change in the other


a selection from a larger population that is statistically representative of that population

random sample

a sample for which every member of an entire population has an equal chance of being selected


the degree to which a measure or scale truly reflects the phenomenon under study


the extent to which a measure produces consistent results

control variable

a factor that is held constant to test the relative impact of an independent variable

research design

a detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically


a study, generally in the form of an interview or questionnaire, that provides researchers with information about how people think and act


a face-to-face or telephone questioning of a respondent to obtain desired information


a printed, written, or computerized form used to obtain information from a respondent

quantitative research

research that collects and reports data primarily in numerical form


a number calculated by adding a series of values and then dividing by the number of values


the midpoint, or number that divides a series of values into two groups of equal numbers of values


the single most common value in a series of scores

qualitative research

research that relies on what is seen in field or naturalistic settings more than on statistical data


a research technique in which an investigator collects information through direct participation and/or by closely watching a group or community


the study of an entire social settings through extended systematic observation


an artificially created situation that allows a researcher to manipulate variables

experimental group

the subjects in an experiment who are exposed to an independent variable introduced by a researcher

control group

the subjects in an experiment who are not introduced to the independent variable by the researcher

Hawthorne effect

the unintended influence that observers of experiments can have on their subjects

secondary analysis

a variety of research techniques that make use of previously collected and publicly accessible information and data

content analysis

the systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale

code of ethics

the standards of acceptable behavior developed by and for members of a profession

value neutrality

max weber's term for objectivity of sociologists in the interpretation of data

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