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Social Sci LibreTexts

Glossary

  • Page ID
    71967
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    Example and Directions
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    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    abstract A short paragraph at the beginning of a journal article that summarizes the author’s research question(s), research method(s), and key findings.
    accuracy The extent to which one’s coding procedures correspond to some preexisting standard.
    Analytic field notes Notes that include the researcher’s impressions about her or his observations.
    annotated bibliography A list of sources relevant to a person’s research project. The list is usually presented in alphabetical order, using the citation format of the researcher’s profession. It includes a brief summary of each source’s point of focus, theoretical argument, and major findings underneath each citation. Some annotated bibliographies also contain a brief critique or evaluation of each source.
    annotated bibliography A list of sources relevant to a person’s research project. The list is usually presented in alphabetical order, using the citation format of the researcher’s profession. It includes a brief summary of each source’s point of focus, theoretical argument, and major findings underneath each citation. Some annotated bibliographies also contain a brief critique or evaluation of each source.
    Applied research Research that is conducted for some purpose beyond or in addition to researcher interest.
    Applied research Research that is conducted for some purpose beyond or in addition to researcher interest.
    Attributes The characteristics that make up a variable.
    Attributes The characteristics that make up a variable.
    authority A socially defined source of knowledge.
    authority A socially defined source of knowledge.
    biases Predilections toward a particular perspective that may cause one to neglect alternative perspectives.
    biases Predilections toward a particular perspective that may cause one to neglect alternative perspectives.
    Causality The idea that one event, behavior, or belief will result in the occurrence of another, subsequent event, behavior, or belief.
    Causality The idea that one event, behavior, or belief will result in the occurrence of another, subsequent event, behavior, or belief.
    closed-ended questions A survey question for which the researcher provides respondents with a limited set of clear response options.
    closed-ended questions A survey question for which the researcher provides respondents with a limited set of clear response options.
    Cluster sampling A researcher begins by sampling groups of population elements and then selects elements from within those groups.
    Cluster sampling A researcher begins by sampling groups of population elements and then selects elements from within those groups.
    code A shorthand representation of some more complex set of issues or ideas.
    code A shorthand representation of some more complex set of issues or ideas.
    code sheet The instrument used by an unobtrusive researcher to record observations.
    code sheet The instrument used by an unobtrusive researcher to record observations.
    codebook A document that outlines how a survey researcher has translated her or his data from words into numbers.
    codebook A document that outlines how a survey researcher has translated her or his data from words into numbers.
    cohort survey A type of longitudinal survey where a researcher’s interest is in a particular group of people who share some common experience or characteristic.
    cohort survey A type of longitudinal survey where a researcher’s interest is in a particular group of people who share some common experience or characteristic.
    concept The notion or image that we conjure up when we think of some cluster of related observations or ideas.
    concept The notion or image that we conjure up when we think of some cluster of related observations or ideas.
    conceptualization The process of defining key terms or concepts.
    conceptualization The process of defining key terms or concepts.
    confidentiality Occurs when some identifying information on research subjects is kept, but only the researcher can link participants with their data, and he or she promises not to do so publicly.
    confidentiality Occurs when some identifying information on research subjects is kept, but only the researcher can link participants with their data, and he or she promises not to do so publicly.
    constructs Abstractions that cannot be observed directly but that can be defined based on that which is observable.
    constructs Abstractions that cannot be observed directly but that can be defined based on that which is observable.
    Content analysis A type of unobtrusive research that involves the study of human communications.
    Content analysis A type of unobtrusive research that involves the study of human communications.
    contingency table Displays how variation on one variable may be contingent on variation on another.
    contingency table Displays how variation on one variable may be contingent on variation on another.
    control group The group of participants who do not receive the stimulus in an experiment.
    control group The group of participants who do not receive the stimulus in an experiment.
    convenience sampling A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher gathers data from the elements that happen to be convenient; also referred to as haphazard sampling.
    convenience sampling A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher gathers data from the elements that happen to be convenient; also referred to as haphazard sampling.
    Conversation analysis The study of talk, including how talk progresses, how it is facilitated, and how it may be impeded.
    Conversation analysis The study of talk, including how talk progresses, how it is facilitated, and how it may be impeded.
    correlation A relationship between two variables.
    correlation A relationship between two variables.
    Covert Researcher enters the field by pretending to be a participant only; participants do not know they are being studied.
    Covert Researcher enters the field by pretending to be a participant only; participants do not know they are being studied.
    critical paradigm A paradigm that focuses on how power, inequality, and social change shape the human experience.
    critical paradigm A paradigm that focuses on how power, inequality, and social change shape the human experience.
    critical thinking The careful evaluation of assumptions, actions, values, and other factors that influence a particular decision or way of being or doing.
    critical thinking The careful evaluation of assumptions, actions, values, and other factors that influence a particular decision or way of being or doing.
    Cross-sectional surveys Surveys that are administered at one point in time.
    Cross-sectional surveys Surveys that are administered at one point in time.
    deductive approach Develop hypotheses based on some theory or theories, collect data that can be used to test the hypotheses, and assess whether the data collected support the hypotheses.
    deductive approach Develop hypotheses based on some theory or theories, collect data that can be used to test the hypotheses, and assess whether the data collected support the hypotheses.
    dependent variable A variable that is caused by another.
    dependent variable A variable that is caused by another.
    Descriptive field notes Notes that describe a field researcher’s observations as straightforwardly as possible.
    Descriptive field notes Notes that describe a field researcher’s observations as straightforwardly as possible.
    descriptive research Research that aims to describe or define.
    descriptive research Research that aims to describe or define.
    dimensions The multiple elements of a single concept.
    dimensions The multiple elements of a single concept.
    disciplines A particular course of study; one division of several academic categories.
    disciplines A particular course of study; one division of several academic categories.
    Dissemination A process of careful planning, thought, and consideration of target audiences followed by communication with those audiences.
    Dissemination A process of careful planning, thought, and consideration of target audiences followed by communication with those audiences.
    double-barreled question A question that is posed as a single question but in fact asks more than one question.
    double-barreled question A question that is posed as a single question but in fact asks more than one question.
    ecological fallacy Occurs when claims are made about individuals based on group-level data.
    ecological fallacy Occurs when claims are made about individuals based on group-level data.
    elements The individual unit that is the focus of a researcher’s investigation; possible elements in social science include people, documents, organizations, groups, beliefs, or behaviors.
    elements The individual unit that is the focus of a researcher’s investigation; possible elements in social science include people, documents, organizations, groups, beliefs, or behaviors.
    epistemology An analytic philosophy concerning how we know what we know.
    epistemology An analytic philosophy concerning how we know what we know.
    ethical questions Questions about which people have moral opinions and that may not be answerable in reference to the real world.
    ethical questions Questions about which people have moral opinions and that may not be answerable in reference to the real world.
    Ethnomethodology The study of how people construct and sustain their realities through conversation and gestures.
    Ethnomethodology The study of how people construct and sustain their realities through conversation and gestures.
    evaluation research Research conducted to assess the effects of specific programs or policies.
    evaluation research Research conducted to assess the effects of specific programs or policies.
    experiment A method of data collection designed to test hypotheses under controlled conditions.
    experiment A method of data collection designed to test hypotheses under controlled conditions.
    explanatory research Research that aims to identify causes and effects.
    explanatory research Research that aims to identify causes and effects.
    exploratory research Research that aims to satisfy a researcher’s curiosity about a topic or test the feasibility of a more extensive study.
    exploratory research Research that aims to satisfy a researcher’s curiosity about a topic or test the feasibility of a more extensive study.
    Field notes In field research, the official record that affirms what you observed.
    Field notes In field research, the official record that affirms what you observed.
    Field research A qualitative method of data collection that involves observing, interacting with, and interviewing people in their natural settings.
    Field research A qualitative method of data collection that involves observing, interacting with, and interviewing people in their natural settings.
    filter question A question designed to identify some subset of survey respondents who are then asked additional questions that are not relevant to the entire sample.
    filter question A question designed to identify some subset of survey respondents who are then asked additional questions that are not relevant to the entire sample.
    Floaters Respondents who choose a substantive answer to a question when in truth they don’t understand the question or the response options.
    Floaters Respondents who choose a substantive answer to a question when in truth they don’t understand the question or the response options.
    focus group Multiple respondents participate in an interview at the same time.
    focus group Multiple respondents participate in an interview at the same time.
    Focus groups Planned discussions designed to elicit group interaction and gather information about the researcher’s topic of interest.
    Focus groups Planned discussions designed to elicit group interaction and gather information about the researcher’s topic of interest.
    Focused coding A later stage of developing codes in qualitative data; occurs after open coding and involves collapsing or narrowing themes and categories identified in open coding, succinctly naming them, describing them, and identifying passages of data that represent them.
    Focused coding A later stage of developing codes in qualitative data; occurs after open coding and involves collapsing or narrowing themes and categories identified in open coding, succinctly naming them, describing them, and identifying passages of data that represent them.
    General Social Survey The General Social Survey (GSS) is one of the largest sources of social scientific data in the United States. Since 1972, GSS researchers have collected data on social trends, demographics, behaviors, beliefs, and change using survey interview techniques.
    General Social Survey The General Social Survey (GSS) is one of the largest sources of social scientific data in the United States. Since 1972, GSS researchers have collected data on social trends, demographics, behaviors, beliefs, and change using survey interview techniques.
    grounded theory A systematic process in which a researcher generates new theory by inductively analyzing her or his qualitative empirical observations.
    grounded theory A systematic process in which a researcher generates new theory by inductively analyzing her or his qualitative empirical observations.
    Hawthorne effect A situation that occurs when research subjects, either intentionally or unintentionally, alter their behaviors because they know they are being studied.
    Hawthorne effect A situation that occurs when research subjects, either intentionally or unintentionally, alter their behaviors because they know they are being studied.
    Historical comparative research Research that focuses on more than one location or time period.
    Historical comparative research Research that focuses on more than one location or time period.
    human subjects A living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (a) data through intervention or interaction with the individual or (b) identifiable private information.
    human subjects A living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (a) data through intervention or interaction with the individual or (b) identifiable private information.
    hypothesis A statement drawn from theory that posits a researcher’s expectation about the relationship between two or more variables. Hypotheses are often causal though they do not have to be.
    hypothesis A statement drawn from theory that posits a researcher’s expectation about the relationship between two or more variables. Hypotheses are often causal though they do not have to be.
    in-depth interviews A semistructured meeting between a researcher and respondent in which the researcher asks a series of open-ended questions; questions may be posed to respondents in slightly different ways or orders.
    in-depth interviews A semistructured meeting between a researcher and respondent in which the researcher asks a series of open-ended questions; questions may be posed to respondents in slightly different ways or orders.
    index A type of measure that contains several indicators and is used to summarize some more general concept.
    index A type of measure that contains several indicators and is used to summarize some more general concept.
    indicators Empirical observations taken to represent the ideas that we are interested in studying.
    indicators Empirical observations taken to represent the ideas that we are interested in studying.
    Indirect observables Things that we cannot see with the naked eye but that require some more complex assessment.
    Indirect observables Things that we cannot see with the naked eye but that require some more complex assessment.
    inductive approach Collect data, analyze patterns in the data, and then theorize from the data.
    inductive approach Collect data, analyze patterns in the data, and then theorize from the data.
    informal observation Making observations without any systematic process for observing or assessing accuracy of what is observed.
    informal observation Making observations without any systematic process for observing or assessing accuracy of what is observed.
    informed consent A subject’s voluntary agreement to participate in research based on a full understanding of the research and of the possible risks and benefits involved.
    informed consent A subject’s voluntary agreement to participate in research based on a full understanding of the research and of the possible risks and benefits involved.
    institutional review boards (IRBs) An interdisciplinary review committee tasked with protecting the rights of human research subjects by weighing the relative costs and benefits of proposed research and making decisions about whether said research may be carried out at their organization.
    institutional review boards (IRBs) An interdisciplinary review committee tasked with protecting the rights of human research subjects by weighing the relative costs and benefits of proposed research and making decisions about whether said research may be carried out at their organization.
    internal validity The extent to which we can be confident that an experiment’s stimulus actually produced the observed effect or whether something else caused the effect.
    internal validity The extent to which we can be confident that an experiment’s stimulus actually produced the observed effect or whether something else caused the effect.
    interval Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity and can be rank ordered, and the distance between attributes is known to be equal.
    interval Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity and can be rank ordered, and the distance between attributes is known to be equal.
    interview guide A list of topics or questions that an interviewer hopes to cover during the course of an interview.
    interview guide A list of topics or questions that an interviewer hopes to cover during the course of an interview.
    interviewer effect Occurs when an interviewee is influenced by how or when questions and answer options are presented by an interviewer.
    interviewer effect Occurs when an interviewee is influenced by how or when questions and answer options are presented by an interviewer.
    interviews A method of data collection that involves two or more people exchanging information through a series of questions and answers.
    interviews A method of data collection that involves two or more people exchanging information through a series of questions and answers.
    key informants Field site insider with whom the field researcher has a closer relationship and who can provide insider knowledge about a group being observed.
    key informants Field site insider with whom the field researcher has a closer relationship and who can provide insider knowledge about a group being observed.
    latent content The underlying meaning of the surface content we observe.
    latent content The underlying meaning of the surface content we observe.
    Longitudinal surveys Surveys that enable a researcher to make observations over some extended period of time.
    Longitudinal surveys Surveys that enable a researcher to make observations over some extended period of time.
    macro An analytic framework focusing on large-scale patterns across social structures or institutions.
    macro An analytic framework focusing on large-scale patterns across social structures or institutions.
    macro level Take into account societal-level questions of ethics such as the public’s expectations of research. At the macro level, researchers should consider their duty to, and the expectations of, society.
    macro level Take into account societal-level questions of ethics such as the public’s expectations of research. At the macro level, researchers should consider their duty to, and the expectations of, society.
    Market research Research that is conducted for the purpose of guiding businesses and other organizations as they make decisions about how best to sell, improve, or promote a product or service.
    Market research Research that is conducted for the purpose of guiding businesses and other organizations as they make decisions about how best to sell, improve, or promote a product or service.
    material artifacts Objects created by humans that tell us something about their beliefs, values, or norms.
    material artifacts Objects created by humans that tell us something about their beliefs, values, or norms.
    matrix Question type that that lists a set of questions for which the answer categories are all the same.
    matrix Question type that that lists a set of questions for which the answer categories are all the same.
    mean A measure of central tendency that identifies the average response to an interval- or ratio-level question; found by adding the value of all responses on a single variable and dividing by the total number of responses to that question.
    mean A measure of central tendency that identifies the average response to an interval- or ratio-level question; found by adding the value of all responses on a single variable and dividing by the total number of responses to that question.
    measurement The process by which we describe and ascribe meaning to the key facts, concepts, or phenomena that we are investigating.
    measurement The process by which we describe and ascribe meaning to the key facts, concepts, or phenomena that we are investigating.
    meso An analytic framework focusing on group interactions.
    meso An analytic framework focusing on group interactions.
    meso level Take into account disciplinary or professional questions of ethics such as a profession’s ethical guidelines. At the meso level, researchers should think about the expectations of their given profession.
    meso level Take into account disciplinary or professional questions of ethics such as a profession’s ethical guidelines. At the meso level, researchers should think about the expectations of their given profession.
    micro An analytic framework focusing on the smallest levels of interaction.
    micro An analytic framework focusing on the smallest levels of interaction.
    micro level Take into account individual-level questions of ethics such as the conduct of a specific researcher. At the micro level, researchers must consider their own conduct and the rights of individual research participants.
    micro level Take into account individual-level questions of ethics such as the conduct of a specific researcher. At the micro level, researchers must consider their own conduct and the rights of individual research participants.
    multivariate analysis Analysis of the relationships among multiple variables.
    multivariate analysis Analysis of the relationships among multiple variables.
    nominal Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity.
    nominal Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity.
    nomothetic research General, broad descriptions or explanations of many individuals, phenomena, or groups.
    nomothetic research General, broad descriptions or explanations of many individuals, phenomena, or groups.
    nonresponse bias The possible result of having too few sample members return completed questionnaires; occurs when respondents differ in important ways from nonrespondents.
    nonresponse bias The possible result of having too few sample members return completed questionnaires; occurs when respondents differ in important ways from nonrespondents.
    null hypothesis The assumption that no relationship exists between variables in question.
    null hypothesis The assumption that no relationship exists between variables in question.
    null hypothesis The assumption that no relationship exists between variables in question.
    null hypothesis The assumption that no relationship exists between variables in question.
    Nuremberg Code A 10-point set of research ethics principles developed following the trials of Nazi criminals who conducted human experimentation on concentration camp inmates.
    Nuremberg Code A 10-point set of research ethics principles developed following the trials of Nazi criminals who conducted human experimentation on concentration camp inmates.
    Observational terms Things that we can see with the naked eye simply by looking at them.
    Observational terms Things that we can see with the naked eye simply by looking at them.
    one-group pre-/posttest An experiment in which pre- and posttests are both taken but there is no control group.
    one-group pre-/posttest An experiment in which pre- and posttests are both taken but there is no control group.
    one-shot case study An experiment that contains no pretest and no control group.
    one-shot case study An experiment that contains no pretest and no control group.
    Ontology An analytic philosophy concerning the nature of reality.
    Ontology An analytic philosophy concerning the nature of reality.
    open coding The first stage of developing codes in qualitative data; involves reading data with an open mind and jotting down themes or categories that various bits of data seem to suggest.
    open coding The first stage of developing codes in qualitative data; involves reading data with an open mind and jotting down themes or categories that various bits of data seem to suggest.
    open-ended questions A survey question for which the researcher does not provide respondents with response options; instead, respondents answer in their own words.
    open-ended questions A survey question for which the researcher does not provide respondents with response options; instead, respondents answer in their own words.
    open-ended questions Questions for which a researcher does not provide answer options; questions that require respondents to answer in their own words.
    open-ended questions Questions for which a researcher does not provide answer options; questions that require respondents to answer in their own words.
    Operationalization The process by which we spell out precisely how a concept will be measured.
    Operationalization The process by which we spell out precisely how a concept will be measured.
    ordinal Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity and can also be rank ordered.
    ordinal Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity and can also be rank ordered.
    outcomes assessment The act of judging whether a desired goal has been achieved.
    outcomes assessment The act of judging whether a desired goal has been achieved.
    overgeneralization Assuming that broad patterns exist based on very limited observations.
    overgeneralization Assuming that broad patterns exist based on very limited observations.
    panel surveys A type of longitudinal survey in which a researcher surveys the exact same sample several times over a period of time.
    panel surveys A type of longitudinal survey in which a researcher surveys the exact same sample several times over a period of time.
    paradigm An analytic lens, a way of viewing the world, and a framework from which to understand the human experience.
    paradigm An analytic lens, a way of viewing the world, and a framework from which to understand the human experience.
    parameters The actual characteristics of a population on any given variable; determined by measuring all elements in a population (as opposed to measuring elements from a sample).
    parameters The actual characteristics of a population on any given variable; determined by measuring all elements in a population (as opposed to measuring elements from a sample).
    participant observation The parts of field research that involve spending time with and watching one’s research participants; interviewing and document/artifact analysis are the other two components of field research.
    participant observation The parts of field research that involve spending time with and watching one’s research participants; interviewing and document/artifact analysis are the other two components of field research.
    periodicity The tendency for a pattern to occur at regular intervals.
    periodicity The tendency for a pattern to occur at regular intervals.
    plagiarism Representing the work, writing, or ideas of another person as one’s own work, writing, or ideas.
    plagiarism Representing the work, writing, or ideas of another person as one’s own work, writing, or ideas.
    poster presentation A less formal presentation format that is a visual representation of your research.
    poster presentation A less formal presentation format that is a visual representation of your research.
    postmodernism A paradigm that challenges most social scientific ways of knowing, arguing that there are no universals.
    postmodernism A paradigm that challenges most social scientific ways of knowing, arguing that there are no universals.
    preexperimental design Experimental design used when random assignment of participants into experimental and control groups is not feasible.
    preexperimental design Experimental design used when random assignment of participants into experimental and control groups is not feasible.
    pretesting Getting feedback on a questionnaire so that it can be improved before it is administered.
    pretesting Getting feedback on a questionnaire so that it can be improved before it is administered.
    probability proportionate to size A cluster sampling technique in which each cluster is given a chance of selection based on its size.
    probability proportionate to size A cluster sampling technique in which each cluster is given a chance of selection based on its size.
    probe A request, on the part of an interviewer, for more information from an interview participant.
    probe A request, on the part of an interviewer, for more information from an interview participant.
    Public sociology The application of sociological theories and research to matters of public interest.
    Public sociology The application of sociological theories and research to matters of public interest.
    purposive sample A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher seeks out particular study elements that meet specific criteria that the researcher has identified.
    purposive sample A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher seeks out particular study elements that meet specific criteria that the researcher has identified.
    Quantitative methods Ways of collecting data that can be represented by and condensed into numbers.
    Quantitative methods Ways of collecting data that can be represented by and condensed into numbers.
    questionnaire The document (either hard copy or online) that contains survey questions on which respondents read and mark their responses.
    questionnaire The document (either hard copy or online) that contains survey questions on which respondents read and mark their responses.
    Quota sampling A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher identifies subgroups within a population of interest and then selects some predetermined number of elements from within each subgroup.
    Quota sampling A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher identifies subgroups within a population of interest and then selects some predetermined number of elements from within each subgroup.
    Rapport The sense of connection a researcher establishes with a participant.
    Rapport The sense of connection a researcher establishes with a participant.
    ratio Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity and can be rank ordered, the distance between attributes is known to be equal, and attributes have a true zero point.
    ratio Level of measurement for which variable attributes meet the criteria of exhaustiveness and mutual exclusivity and can be rank ordered, the distance between attributes is known to be equal, and attributes have a true zero point.
    reductionism Occurs when claims about groups are made based on individual-level data.
    reductionism Occurs when claims about groups are made based on individual-level data.
    reification Assuming that abstract concepts exist in some concrete, tangible way.
    reification Assuming that abstract concepts exist in some concrete, tangible way.
    replication The principle that enough information should be provided about a researcher’s methodological procedures that another researcher, at another time or place, could reproduce the study in question.
    replication The principle that enough information should be provided about a researcher’s methodological procedures that another researcher, at another time or place, could reproduce the study in question.
    representative sample A sample that resembles the population from which it was drawn in all the ways that are important for the research being conducted.
    representative sample A sample that resembles the population from which it was drawn in all the ways that are important for the research being conducted.
    Reproducibility The extent to which one’s coding procedures will garner the same results when the same text is coded by different people.
    Reproducibility The extent to which one’s coding procedures will garner the same results when the same text is coded by different people.
    research methods A systematic process of inquiry applied to learn something about our social world.
    research methods A systematic process of inquiry applied to learn something about our social world.
    research question A way of framing a scientist’s particular problem of interest.
    research question A way of framing a scientist’s particular problem of interest.
    response options The answers that are provided to for each question in a survey.
    response options The answers that are provided to for each question in a survey.
    response rate The percentage of completed questionnaires returned; determined by dividing the number of completed questionnaires by the number originally distributed.
    response rate The percentage of completed questionnaires returned; determined by dividing the number of completed questionnaires by the number originally distributed.
    retrospective surveys A type of survey in which participants are asked to report events from the past.
    retrospective surveys A type of survey in which participants are asked to report events from the past.
    roundtable presentations One way of presenting results of scholarly research. Typically less formal than a panel presentation, it emphasizes discussion among those present at the table.
    roundtable presentations One way of presenting results of scholarly research. Typically less formal than a panel presentation, it emphasizes discussion among those present at the table.
    sample The group (be it people, events, etc.) from which you actually collect data.
    sample The group (be it people, events, etc.) from which you actually collect data.
    Sampling The process of selecting observations that will be analyzed for research purposes.
    Sampling The process of selecting observations that will be analyzed for research purposes.
    sampling bias Occurs when the elements selected for inclusion in a study do not represent the larger population from which they were drawn.
    sampling bias Occurs when the elements selected for inclusion in a study do not represent the larger population from which they were drawn.
    sampling frame A list of all elements in a population.
    sampling frame A list of all elements in a population.
    scale A type of measure that contains several indicators that vary in intensity.
    scale A type of measure that contains several indicators that vary in intensity.
    science A way of knowing that attempts to systematically collect and categorize facts or truths.
    science A way of knowing that attempts to systematically collect and categorize facts or truths.
    Secondary sources Sources of data that have been analyzed or otherwise tweaked for presentation by others; “cooked” sources.
    Secondary sources Sources of data that have been analyzed or otherwise tweaked for presentation by others; “cooked” sources.
    selection interval The distance between elements selected for inclusion in a study.
    selection interval The distance between elements selected for inclusion in a study.
    self-administered questionnaires A set of written questions that a research participant responds to by filling in answers on her or his own without the assistance of a researcher.
    self-administered questionnaires A set of written questions that a research participant responds to by filling in answers on her or his own without the assistance of a researcher.
    snowball sampling A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher recruits study participants by asking prior participants to refer others.
    snowball sampling A nonprobability sample type for which a researcher recruits study participants by asking prior participants to refer others.
    social constructionism A paradigm that argues that we create reality through our interactions and our interpretations of those interactions.
    social constructionism A paradigm that argues that we create reality through our interactions and our interpretations of those interactions.
    social desirability The idea that respondents will try to answer questions in a way that will present them in a favorable light.
    social desirability The idea that respondents will try to answer questions in a way that will present them in a favorable light.
    social locations A person’s place in society, generally determined by a combination of aspects of a person’s identity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and social class status.
    social locations A person’s place in society, generally determined by a combination of aspects of a person’s identity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and social class status.
    Sociological Abstracts A database that indexes all major sociological research publications.
    Sociological Abstracts A database that indexes all major sociological research publications.
    sociology The scientific study of humans in groups.
    sociology The scientific study of humans in groups.
    spurious relationship A relationship in which two variables appear to be causal but can in fact be explained by some third variable.
    spurious relationship A relationship in which two variables appear to be causal but can in fact be explained by some third variable.
    Stability In terms of reliability, refers to the extent to which the results of coding vary across different time periods.
    Stability In terms of reliability, refers to the extent to which the results of coding vary across different time periods.
    stakeholders The groups or individuals for whom research is of direct benefit or concern.
    stakeholders The groups or individuals for whom research is of direct benefit or concern.
    standardized The same questions, phrased in the same way, are posed to all participants, consistent.
    standardized The same questions, phrased in the same way, are posed to all participants, consistent.
    standardized interviews Interviews during which the same questions are asked of every participant in the same way, and survey-style question-and-answer formats are utilized.
    standardized interviews Interviews during which the same questions are asked of every participant in the same way, and survey-style question-and-answer formats are utilized.
    starting where you are Having an interest in a topic already, identifying a hobby, or looking for patterns in your everyday life about which you can ask questions.
    starting where you are Having an interest in a topic already, identifying a hobby, or looking for patterns in your everyday life about which you can ask questions.
    static group comparison An experiment that includes a comparison control group that did not experience the stimulus; it involves experimental and control groups determined by a factor or factors other than random assignment.
    static group comparison An experiment that includes a comparison control group that did not experience the stimulus; it involves experimental and control groups determined by a factor or factors other than random assignment.
    Statistical significance A report of the likelihood that relationships observed could be caused by something other than chance.
    Statistical significance A report of the likelihood that relationships observed could be caused by something other than chance.
    stratified sampling technique A researcher divides the study population into relevant subgroups then draws a sample from within each subgroup.
    stratified sampling technique A researcher divides the study population into relevant subgroups then draws a sample from within each subgroup.
    Survey research A quantitative method for which a researcher poses the same set of questions, typically in a written format, to a sample of individuals.
    Survey research A quantitative method for which a researcher poses the same set of questions, typically in a written format, to a sample of individuals.
    table A tool used by researchers who wish to present large amounts of data in a succinct format. Tables are most commonly used in reports of quantitative research findings.
    table A tool used by researchers who wish to present large amounts of data in a succinct format. Tables are most commonly used in reports of quantitative research findings.
    temporality In social science, this refers to the rule that a cause must precede an effect in time.
    temporality In social science, this refers to the rule that a cause must precede an effect in time.
    theory A way of explanation, a mapping out of the why and how of the social phenomenon being studied.
    theory A way of explanation, a mapping out of the why and how of the social phenomenon being studied.
    transcribe Creating a complete, written copy of a recorded interview by playing the recording back and typing in each word that is spoken on the recording, noting who spoke which words.
    transcribe Creating a complete, written copy of a recorded interview by playing the recording back and typing in each word that is spoken on the recording, noting who spoke which words.
    transferable skills The conglomeration of tasks that a person develops proficiency in from one realm that can be applied in another realm.
    transferable skills The conglomeration of tasks that a person develops proficiency in from one realm that can be applied in another realm.
    trend survey A type of longitudinal survey where a researcher examines changes in trends over time; the same people do not necessarily participate in the survey more than once.
    trend survey A type of longitudinal survey where a researcher examines changes in trends over time; the same people do not necessarily participate in the survey more than once.
    triangulation The use of several different research strategies to enhance understanding of a topic.
    triangulation The use of several different research strategies to enhance understanding of a topic.
    typology A way of categorizing concepts according to particular themes.
    typology A way of categorizing concepts according to particular themes.
    units of observation The item (or items) that a researcher actually observes, measures, or collects in the course of trying to learn something about his or her unit of analysis.
    units of observation The item (or items) that a researcher actually observes, measures, or collects in the course of trying to learn something about his or her unit of analysis.
    Univariate analysis Analysis of a single variable.
    Univariate analysis Analysis of a single variable.
    Unobtrusive research Methods of collecting data that don’t interfere with the subjects under study.
    Unobtrusive research Methods of collecting data that don’t interfere with the subjects under study.
    validity Exists when there is a shared understanding of the meaning of whatever concept is being measured.
    validity Exists when there is a shared understanding of the meaning of whatever concept is being measured.
    value-free sociology A perspective associated with positivism. Posits that sociologists should set their personal opinions and beliefs aside in favor of pursuing objective truth.
    value-free sociology A perspective associated with positivism. Posits that sociologists should set their personal opinions and beliefs aside in favor of pursuing objective truth.
    versatility A feature of survey research meaning that many different people use surveys for a variety of purposes and in a variety of settings.
    versatility A feature of survey research meaning that many different people use surveys for a variety of purposes and in a variety of settings.
    vulnerable populations Subjects who may be at risk of experiencing undue influence or coercion. This typically includes minors, prisoners, parolees, patients, mentally or physically disabled individuals, fetuses and pregnant women, and economically or educationally disadvantaged individuals.
    vulnerable populations Subjects who may be at risk of experiencing undue influence or coercion. This typically includes minors, prisoners, parolees, patients, mentally or physically disabled individuals, fetuses and pregnant women, and economically or educationally disadvantaged individuals.
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