Web Sites Recommended in Social Research Methods

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Web Sites Recommended in Social Research Methods
David Dooley
2001
HERE ARE SOME RECOMMENDED METHOD WEBSITES MENTIONED. BECAUSE
WEB SITES SOMETIMES DISAPPEAR OR CHANGE ADDRESSES, THE URLS
SOMETIMES
MAY RETURN THE "REQUEST NOT FOUND (404)" MESSAGE. THIS
DOCUMENT PROVIDES A MORE UPDATED VERSION OF THESE LISTINGS AS
OF SEPTEMBER 2003, OMITTING DEFUNCT SITES, CORRECTING CHANGED
ADDRESSES AND ADDING SOME NEWER LINKS. BUT ALSO KEEP IN MIND
THAT THIS REVISION MAY T SOON BE OUT OF DATE TOO. STUDENTS
SHOULD BE PREPARED TO LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVE SITES USING AN
APPROPRIATE SEARCH ENGINE.
CHAPTER 1
THE LOGIC OF SOCIAL RESEARCH: RULING OUT RIVAL HYPOTHESES
1. The world wide web (WWW) is changing social research and the way we learn
about it just as it is transforming many other aspects of our lives. If you are not already
familiar with the WWW, jump ahead and scan Chapter 4 to see some of the internet
resources that you can draw on to enrich this course. For example, you can visit web
sites that offer on-line texts (e.g. Trochim's site at Cornell:
http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/kb/index.htm. XXX
2. You can use the web to follow-up on topics that we cover in the text. Perhaps
you were interested in the government's handling of the Needleman case or curious for
your own sake as a future researcher. You could learn more about the federal agency that
has the lead role in overseeing the research integrity by visiting the site of the Office of
Research Integrity: http://ori.dhhs.gov. Or you could follow-up any of the specific topics
or researchers mentioned in this chapter by looking them up on a web search engine such
as Google (http://www.google.com/). Just remember that just about anybody can publish
just about anything on the web. Part of what you will be learning in this course is how to
be critical reader of research claims, both in print and on the web.
Chapter 2
Ethics: Protecting Human Subjects and Research Integrity
1. Professional associations of social researchers have developed and continue to
refine statements of research ethics. To find the latest versions of these statements check
the appropriate association web sites: American Psychological Association,
http://www.apa.org/ethics/code.html, American Sociological Association,
http://www.asanet.org/ American Anthropological Association,
http://www.ameranthassn.org/. For links to many other professional ethics codes see
http://www.ethics.ubc.ca/resources/professional/.
2. The federal government has taken an active role in protecting both the subjects
of social research and the integrity of the research process. The Office for Protection
from Research Risks (OPRR) of the National Institute of Health (HIH) has been renamed
the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), and it publishes the relevant human
subject guidelines at http://ohrp.osophs.dhhs.gov/polasur.htm. The current Code of
Federal Regulations Title 45, Part 46 is quite detailed. But you can get a self-paced
electronic tutorial on human subject protection at http://tutorials.rgs.uci.edu/. The Office
of Research Integrity of the Department of Health and Human Services oversees
investigations of scientific misconduct and provides links to the relevant statutes and
regulations at its site: http://ori.dhhs.gov/. Especially interesting are that office's
summaries of dozens of cases, some resulting in official judgment of misconduct and
others closed without such a finding.
Chapter 3
Finding , Using, and Writing Research Reports: Library Usage and
Report Style
1. In addition to searching libraries and journal databases, the internet can provide
access to all the information on the World Wide Web (WWW). For an overview of the
web and its role in social research see Appendix A. Psychwatch provides a listing of
online journals in the psychology area, some of which are full text
(http://www.psychwatch.com/journalpage.htm)XXX. Numerous search engines exist to
help you explore the web, and they are reviewed in Search Engine Watch
(http://searchenginewatch.com/). Because of the web's enormous size, you may need to
focus your WWW searches. You can do this by using Boolean operators as described
earlier in this chapter, often accessible through the advanced, power, or help options on a
search engines menu.
2. Writing clear research reports requires extensive training and feedback. But the
web offers several sites that provide helpful guidance. The Research Room
(http://www.esc.edu/htmlpages/writer/menu.htm) offers instruction on each step of the
report writing process. Paradigm is an online writing assistant that deals with all kinds of
essays. The Purdue Online Writing Lab or OWL (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/) includes
links with style information for such standards as psychology (APA) and the Modern
Language Association (MLA). For a detailed online guide to APA format see Psychology
with Style (http://www.uwsp.edu/psych/apa4b.htm).
Chapter 4
Theory: Tentative Explanations
1. Some web sites provide links to a variety of theories within particular social
science disciplines. For theories in psychology and mental health see
http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/8639/psych.html.
2. The practical value of theory is illustrated by theories that help guide
interventions as in the promotion of public health:
http://rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_Interface/Theory_at_glance/HOME.html
3. Some journals focus on theory and serve as a platform for exchanges between
competing approaches. The home page for one such journal Theory and Psychology
provides tables of contents of recent issues along with abstracts of the articles:
http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journals/details/j0149.html
Chapter 5
Measurement Theory: Toward Validity and Reliability
1. The American Psychological Association posts information on testing and
assessment at http://www.apa.org/science/testing.html. For a summary of tips in
evaluating a measure see Test Evaluation: http://ericae.net/seltips.txt. For more on
measurement theory especially in regard to level of measurement and appropriate
statistics see Measurement Theory: Frequently Asked Questions:
ftp://ftp.sas.com/pub/neural/measurement.html.
2. For some tests measuring constructs such as depression, locus of control, or
self-esteem along with information about their reliability and validity see
http://www.queendom.com/tests.html.
Chapter 6
Types of Measures: Finding and Using them
1. Use the web to locate or get information about a measure. Visit the master site
for tests and measures provided by the Educational Resources Information Center's
Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation: http://ericae.net/. From this home page,
you can find the Test Locator with links to reviews of tests and listings of published and
unpublished tests: http://ericae.net/testcol.htm. For links to on-line tests visit:
http://dir.yahoo.com/Social_Science/Psychology/Branches/Personality/Online_Tests/.
2. The web offers a variety of archival data sets. The Inter-university Consortium
for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan (ICPSR) describes itself
as the world's largest archive of computerized social science data:
http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/. Access to these holding is restricted to faculty and students
of ICPSR member school. But everyone can visit other archives such as the United
States Historical Census Data Browser with data for each state and county of the U.S.
from 1790 to 1970: http://fisher.lib.Virginia.EDU/census/.
Chapter 7
Survey Data Collection: Issues and Methods in Sample Surveys
1. Once a questionnaire has been created, the researcher must find a way to give it
to respondents and collect responses. One method for collecting data uses ComputerAided Personal Interviewing (CAPI) in which the survey questions are read from and
answers inputted into a computer. For an animated demonstration of one program for
CAPI, see http://www.sawtooth.com/products/capi/sensus/onlinedemos/onlinedemo.htm.
Besides the traditional media of in-person, phone, and mail contacts, it is now
increasingly possible to put questionnaires on the internet. For help in doing this see
Resources on Internet Survey Methodology at the MIT web site:
http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/iiip/conferences/survey96/resources.html.
2. Instead of starting a new survey, you may find an existing one that meets your
needs. Many surveys are conducted by institutes based in the private sector or in
academe. For example, consider the wide range of studies conducted by the Survey
Research Center based at the University of Michigan (http://www.isr.umich.edu/src/) or
the National Opinion Research Center based at the University of Chicago
(http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/). The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the most extensive
surveys including not only the census but also the American Community Survey
mentioned earlier in this chapter: http://www.census.gov/. To help find survey data on
the internet try the index provided by the University of California, San Diego:
http://odwin.ucsd.edu/idata/.
Chapter 8
Inferential Statistics: Drawing Valid Conclusions from Samples
1. Power analysis can be used in the planning stage of research to estimate the
sample size needed to achieve statistical significance for a given effect size. For a webbased sample size estimator see http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm.
2. There are many helpful and interesting statistical sites on the web (also see the
web site suggestions in Appendix B). Clay Helberg’s Statistics on the Web is a good
starting point with a wide range of links: http://www.execpc.com/~helberg/statistics.html.
For interactive graphical illustrations of statistical ideas, see the Duke University listing
of Java Applets: http://www.isds.duke.edu/sites/java.html.
Chapter 9
Designing Research For Internal Validity
1. For additional information on the Stanford prison experiment mentioned in this
chapter, see the companion web site (co-designed by principal investigator Philip
Zimbardo), which includes audio-visual material on this study:
http://www.prisonexp.org/.
2. A set of web tutorials on topics in experimental research design has been
posted on Bill Trochim's methods site:
http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/tutorial/TUTORIAL.HTM.
3. One of the best ways to practice your understanding of research design is to
analyze various studies—identifying the cause and effect variables and deciphering the
research approach. A handy source of brief research reports is the National Clearinghouse
of Undergraduate Research: http://clearinghouse.mwsc.edu/ (see the manuscripts
nominated as outstanding). Determine for each study whether there is an experimental
intervention and, if so, how many differently treated groups appear in the design and
whether they are composed by random assignment. Diagram these designs using the R,
X, and O symbols.
Chapter 10
True Experimentation: External Validity and Experimental Construct
Validity
1. The internet brought the possibility of conducting experiments on line. Some
web experiments, the pros and cons of web experiments, and links to web labs can be
found at http://www.psych.unizh.ch/genpsy/Ulf/Lab/WebExpPsyLabAnim.html. More
web experiments and information for accessing or adding to the experiments' data files
appear at http://www.olemiss.edu/psychexps/.
2. For web sites on experimental ethics and various nonconsensual human
experiments, see
http://www.dc.peachnet.edu/~shale/humanities/composition/assignments/experiment.htm
l. Note especially the Milgram experiment on obedience to authority, which induced
subjects to administer what they believed were severe electric shocks to other people. For
an extensive description of the Milgram obedience experiments visit this site:
http://sociology.about.com/science/sociology/library/weekly/aa012501a.htm.
Chapter 11
Quasi-experimentation: When Multiple Groups and Random Assignment
Are Not Possible
1. For more on quasi-experimental design, see the chapter on this topic in Bill
Trochim's electronic text: http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/kb/quasiexp.htm and its
special coverage of such special designs as regression-discontinuity and regression point
displacement. Also see his thoughtful reflections on the whole area of quasiexperimentation: http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/kb/advquasi.htm.
2. Single subject designs utilize multiple experimental treatments (e.g.
reinforcements) and observations to draw causal conclusions. This special type of quasiexperimentation is frequently used in studies reported in the Journal of Experimental
Analysis of Behavior. That journal's web site posts links to movies made of some of their
published studies:
http://www.envmed.rochester.edu/wwwvgl/jeab_movies/jeab_movies.htm. Another
journal that often publishes single subject design studies is the Journal of Applied
Behavioral Analysis. See its cite for numerous links to its own articles and to other
journals on related topics:
http://www.envmed.rochester.edu/wwwrap/behavior/jaba/jabahome.htm.
Chapter 12
Correlational Methods: Controlling Rival Explanations Statistically
1.Although conventional wisdom holds that researchers may not infer individuallevel conclusions from aggregate-level data, a method has been proposed to do just that
(King, 1997). You can find software for carrying out the necessary analyses at
http://Gking.Harvard.Edu/stats.shtml. Other researchers are interested not in interpreting
research from one level to another but rather in collecting and analyzing data at two or
more levels in the same study. You can find student software for such hierarchical linear
modeling at http://www.ssicentral.com/other/hlmstu.htm.
2. Because correlational designs risk the threat of spuriousness, they usually
require multivariate analytic procedures to measure the association of interest after
adjusting for possible confounding variables. The method called structural equation
modeling (SEM) has become popular as a general approach for analyzing a wide range of
correlational designs. For numerous links to related sites see Ed Rigdon's SEM page:
http://www.gsu.edu/~mkteer/. For user-friendly software that performs SEM see the
student version of AMOS on the SmallWaters site: http://www.smallwaters.com/amos/.
Chapter 13
Qualitative Research: Participant Observation
1. The topic of qualitative research could easily fill an entire text and course. For
an e-text on qualitative research methods, see the Qualitative Methods Workbook that C.
George Boeree developed for his qualitative research methods course:
http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/qualmeth.html
2. There are numerous web sites providing resources for qualitative researchers
including links on methods, philosophy, data, calls for papers, e-journals, and qualitative
data analytic software among others. Judy Norris' QualPage lists many of these resources:
http://www.ualberta.ca/~jrnorris/qual.html. Anthropology is the research profession that
makes most use of qualitative methods, and the American Anthropological Association
provides a comprehensive listing of research resources called Anthropology Resources on
the Internet: http://www.ameranthassn.org/resinet.htm.
Chapter 14
Interpreting Research: Overview of Research Design and Review Methods
1. Find a literature review on the web using electronic indexing or abstracting
services such as PsycINFO. As one example see Kirsch, I., & Sapirstein, G. (1998).
Listening to Prozac but hearing placebo: A meta-analysis of antidepressant medication.
This is available in the e-journal Prevention and Treatment:
http://journals.apa.org/prevention/
2. If you are interested conducting a quantitative review yourself, you can find out
more about meta-analysis in general, the statistical procedures employed for this method,
and many links to other related sites:
http://www.mnsinc.com/solomon/MetaAnalysis.html. For an example of software for
meta-analysis see Ralf Schwarzer’s program: http://www.fuberlin.de/gesund/gesu_engl/meta_e.htm.
Chapter 15
Applied Social Research
1. The journal Evaluation Review specializes in program evaluation, and its web
site includes tables of contents and abstracts for some recent volumes as well as its
mission statement and submission guidelines:
http://www.math.ucla.edu/~johnston/journals/er/
2. Visit the Health and Human Services Program Evaluation Database, a federal
government search engine for finding program evaluation reports:
http://www.os.dhhs.gov/search/prog_eval.html
APPENDIX A
SOCIAL RESEARCH AND THE INTERNET
1. To get more background information about how the web works, there are sites
to visit where you can explore the internet-related pages
(http://www.howstuffworks.com/web-page.htm or
http://www.learnthenet.com/english/section/www.html). There is also more information
on internet-related terminology (http://www.netlingo.com/).
2. For more information on web page creation, visit the following sites. There is a
reference to html tags
(http://developer.netscape.com/docs/manuals/htmlguid/contents.htm). You can find
guidance on web style (http://info.med.yale.edu/caim/manual/).
Appendix B
Statistics Review
1. What statistic should be selected for a particular problem? See Bill Trochim's
Guide to Selecting Statistics at Cornell University:
http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/selstat/ssstart.htm
2. Want to learn more about statistics? See the following: Statistical Instruction
Internet Palette at Arizona State University: http://research.ed.asu.edu/siip/, XXX Web
Interface for Statistics Education at Claremont Graduate School:
http://www.grad.cgs.edu/wise/ (especially the statistical applets), and The Chance course:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/.
3. For general information and more links see the home page of the American
Statistical Association: http://www.amstat.org/. You can also find many statistical
techniques on the internet via Globally Accessible Statistical Procedures (GASP):
http://www.stat.sc.edu/rsrch/gasp/.
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