By the end of this class, students should be able to:
- Identify the theory being tested in an academic paper.
- Distinguish between theoretical frameworks (like religions), theoretical explanations (complex, but subject to evidence and argument), and hypotheses (statements which can test one prediction of theory).
- Identify the units of analysis and the variables in a social science analysis
- Identify the dependent variable, independent variables, and control variables in an analysis
- Identify the conceptualisation of a variable, and the operationalisation of a variable, and to suggest alternative ways that a particular variable could be conceptualised or operationalised differently.
- To be able to state what level of measurement a variable is measured at, particularly with respect to the categorisations of: categorical, binary, ordinal, continuous (or interval).
- Identify a scale or index in an academic paper. Explain the advantages of a scale or index.
- Search the internet and academic databases and find scales or indexes in the academic literature for a particular concept.
- Explain in everyday language what reliability and validity are, with examples.
- What is research methods, why does it matter, and how does it relate to statistics?
- How do I distinguish between a theoretical framework, a theoretical explanation, and a hypothesis?
- How do I identify the units of analysis and the variables in a study?
- How do I distinguish between the dependent variable, independent variables, and control variables?
- How do I properly conceptualise a variable?
- How do I properly operationalise a variable?
- How can I tell if a variable is measured as a categorical, binary, ordinal, or continuous (or interval) variable?
- How do I make a scale or index? How do I identify them in an academic paper?
- How do I find a good (validated) scale or index in the academic literature?
- How do I know if my variable or scale or index is reliable and/or valid?