Descriptive Research Method Essay

1062 Words Feb 11th, 2012 5 Pages
Descriptive Research Methods (Ch. 12) Case Studies: Detailed analysis of a single (or limited number) of people or events. Case studies are usually interesting because of the unusualness of the case (Three Faces of Eve, Mind of a Mnemonist) and/or the detail and apparent insightfulness of the conclusions drawn by the writer (e.g., Freud’s cases such as ‘Little Hans’). The major problem with case studies is the problem of objectivity. The person who is presenting the case usually has some theoretical orientation. It is acceptable for a theoretical orientation to affect one’s interpretation of events. In a case study the theoretical orientation can also lead to the selection of the facts to include in the case. It is not surprising …show more content…
Surveys that rely on self-selection (respond if you are interested) produce non-generalizable results. Surveys also provide information for correlational research. One can correlate responses to some questions (often demographic questions) with responses to other questions (often attitudes or reports of behavior). Survey question must be clear and unambiguous. (See Appendix B for a discussion of some issue in the framing of questions.) Even if the questions are unambiguous and non-leading, people may display a social desirability bias and give positive or socially acceptable and desirable answers. Survey methods include: (1) the interview or face-to-face method which is generally viewed as the best method for obtaining a high rate of responses but is also very costly; (2) phone surveys, which are less expensive but have a higher non-response rate (which has probably increased with caller ID); and (3) written or mail surveys, which are least expensive but have a very high non-response rate. Follow-up messages can help increase the response rate. Archival Research: Analysis of pre-existing data or records. E.g., studies of ‘lunar lunacy’ rely on records of accidents, homicides, 911 calls, use of emergency rooms, etc. Archival research often involves content analysis, a qualitative analysis of material. For example, one would use content analysis to determine

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