Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Definition of a Theory

In quantitative research, some historical precedent exists for viewing a theory as a scientific prediction or explanation (see G. Thomas. 1997. for different ways of conceptualizing theories and how they might constrain thought). For example, the definition of a theory, such as the one
by Kerlinger (1979), is still valid today. A theory is "a set of interrelated constructs (variables), definitions, and propositions that presents a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables, with the purpose of explaining natural phenomena" (p. 64).

In this definition, a theory is an interrelated set of constructs (or variables) formed into propositions, or hypotheses, that specify the relationship among variables (typically in terms of magnitude or direction). The systematic view might be an argument, a discussion, or a rationale, and it helps to explain (or predict) phenomena that occur in the world.

Labovitz and Hagedorn (1971) add to this definition the idea of a theoretical rationale, which they define as "specifying how and why the variables and relational statements are interrelated" (p. 1 7). Why would an independent variable, X, influence or affect a dependent variable. Y?
The theory would provide the explanation for this expectation or prediction. A discussion about this theory, then, would appear in a section of a proposal titled a theory-base, a theoretical rationale, or a theoretical perspective. I prefer the term theoretical perspective because it has been popularly used as a required section for a proposal for research when one submits an application to present a research paper at the American Educational Research Association conference.

The metaphor of a rainbow can help to visualize how a theory operates. Assume that the rainbow bridges the independent and dependent variables (or constructs) in a study. This rainbow, then, lies together the variables and provides an overarching explanation for how and why one would expect the independent variable to explain or predict the dependent variable.

A Form of Theories
Theories develop when researchers test a prediction many times. Recall that investigators combine independent, mediating, and dependent variables based on different forms of measures into hypotheses or research questions. These hypotheses or questions provide information about the type of relationship (positive, negative, or unknown) and its magnitude (e.g., high or low). The hypothesis might be written. "The greater the centralization of power in leaders, the greater the disenfranchisement of the followers." When researchers test hypotheses such as this over and over in different settings and with different populations (e.g., the Boy Scouts, a Presbyterian church, the Rotary Club, and a group of high school students), a theory emerges and someone gives it a name (e.g.. a theory of attribution).Thus, theory develops as explanation to advance knowledge in particular fields (G. Thomas, 1997).

Another aspect of theories is that they vary in their breadth of coverage. Neuman (2000) reviews theories at three levels: micro-level, meso-level, and macro-level. Micro-level theories provide explanations limited to small slices of time, space, or numbers of people, such as GofEman's theory of "face work" that explains how people engage in rituals during face-to-face interactions. Meso-level theories link the micro and macro levels. These are theories of organizations, social movement, or communities, such as Collins's theory of control in organizations. Macro-level theories explain larger aggregates, such as social institutions, cultural systems, and whole societies. Lenski's macro-level
theory of social stratification, for example, explains how the amount of surplus a society produces increases with the development of the society.

Theories are found in the social science disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology, education, and economics, as well as within many subfields. To locate and read about these theories requires searching literature databases (e.g., Psychological Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts) or reviewing guides to the literature about theories (e.g.. see Webb. Beals. & White. 1986).

A Form of Theories
Researchers state their theories in several ways, such as a series of hypotheses, "if ... then" logic statements, or visual models.

First, some researchers state theories in the form of interconnected hypotheses. For example, Hopkins (1964) conveyed his theory of influence processes as a series of 15 hypotheses (slightly altered to remove all the male-specific pronouns).

For any member of a small group, some hypotheses are:

1. The higher her rank, the greater her centrality.
2. The greater his centrality. the greater his observability.
3. The higher her rank, the greater her observability.
4. The greater his centrality. the greater his conformity.
5. The higher her rank, the greater her conformity.
6. The greater his observability, the greater his conformity.
7. The greater her conformity, the greater her observability.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Problem Statement

Four wives and a husband
         When ?


In our example..
         Online banking is a system that allows individuals to perform banking activities anywhere, anytime, via the internet
         Using this system, customers can make their transections rapidly without having to travel to the banks and the banks can save a lot of resources
         ABM bank have invested a lot of money in making this system available to its customers
         However its usage is not encouraging
         A study need to be done to identify the reasons for the low level of usage


Social research is all around us. Educators, government officials, business managers, human service providers, and health care professionals make frequent use of social research findings. Many people use social research to raise children, reduce crime, improve health, sell products, or just understand life. Daily broadcast news programs, magazines, newspapers, and websites disseminate research results.

Research findings can affect our lives and public policies. For example, a study that looked at the "summer slide" or decline in children's reading and spelling skills over the summer. The decline is greatest among low-income students who lose about two months of school learning each summer. At a time when many schools are cutting summer programs to save money, the study found that simply giving low-income children access to books at spring fairs and letting them pick books that most interested them reduced the summer reading gap. Low-income children given twelve books and who read them over three summers far outpaced those who did not. They gained as much as if they had attended summer school each summer.

In simple terms, research is a way to find answers to questions. Professors, professional researchers, practitioners, and students in many fields conduct research studies to answer questions and learn about social life. You probably already have some notion of what social research entails. There are some possible misconceptions. When we asked students in our classes what they think social research entails, they may gave the following answers:
It is based on facts alone; there is no theory or personal judgment.
Only experts with a Ph.D. degree or college professors read it or do it.
It means going to the library and finding a lot of magazine articles or books on a topic.
It is when someone hangs around a group and observes.
It means conducting a controlled experiment.
Social research is drawing a sample of people and giving them questionnaires to complete.
It is looking up lots of statistical tables and information from official government reports.
To do it, one must use computers to create statistics, charts, and graphs.

The first two answers are wrong, and the others describe only part of what constitutes social research. It is unwise to confuse one part with the whole.

We do social research to learn something new about the social world; or to carefully document our guesses, hunches, theories, or beliefs about it; or to better understand how the social world works. In research we combine theories and ideas with facts in a careful, systematic way and this requires creativity. To do a study, we must organize, plan carefully, and select appropriate techniques to address a specific question.

We want to treat the people in a study in ethical and moral ways. Once we complete a study, it is
time to communicate the results to others in a complete and accurate way. In the process of social research we combine principles, outlooks, and ideas (i.e., methodology) with a collection of specific practices, techniques, and strategies (i.e., a method of inquiry) to produce knowledge. It is an exciting process of discovery, but it requires persistence, personal integrity, tolerance for ambiguity, interaction with others, and pride in doing quality work.

By reading the research text book will not transform you into an expert researcher, but it can teach you to be a better consumer of research results, help you to understand how the research enterprise works, and prepare you to conduct your own small-scale studies. Hope, after reading and studying the basic social research, you will be aware of what research can and cannot do, and why always conducting research properly is important.

Glossary of Research

Abstract A term with two meanings in literature reviews: a short summary of a scholarly journal article that usually appears at its beginning, and a reference tool for locating scholarly journal articles.

Acceptable incompetent When a field researcher pretends to be less skilled or knowledgeable in order to learn more about a field site. (11)

Accretion measures Nonreactive measures of the residue of the activity of people or what they leave
behind. (9)

Action research A type of applied social research in which a researcher treats knowledge as a form of power and abolishes the division between creating knowledge and using knowledge to engage in
political action. (1)

Alternative hypothesis A hypothesis paired with a null hypothesis stating that the independent variable has an effect on a dependent variable. (4)

Analytic domain In domain analysis, a type of domain a researcher develops using categories or terms he or she developed to understand a social setting. (13)

Analytic memo's The written notes a qualitative researcher takes during data collection and after-
ward to develop concepts, themes, or preliminary generalizations. (11)

Anonymity Research participants remain anonymous or nameless. (3)

Appearance of interest A technique in field research in which researchers maintain relations in a field site by pretending to be interested and excited by the activities of those studied, even though they are actually uninterested or very bored. (11)

Applied social research Research that attempts to solve a concrete problem or address a specific policy question and that has a direct, practical application. (1)

Association  A co-occurrence of two events, factors, characteristics, or activities, such that when one
happens, the other is likely to occur as well. Many statistics measure this. (2)

Assumption Parts of social theories that are not tested, but act as starting points or basic beliefs about the world. They are necessary to make other theoretical statements and to build social theory. (2)

Attitude of strangeness A technique in field research in which researchers study a field site by mentally adjusting to "see" it for the first time or as an outsider. (11)

Attributes The categories or levels of a variable. (4)

Axial coding A second coding of qualitative data after open coding. The researcher organizes the codes, develops links among them, and discovers key analytic categories. (13)

Back translation A technique in comparative research for checking lexicon equivalence.
A researcher translates spoken or written text from an original language into a second language,
then translates the same text in the second language back into the original language, then com-
pares the two original language texts. (12)

Bar chart A display of quantitative data for one variable in the form of rectangles where longer rectangles indicate more cases in a variable category. Usually, it is used with discrete data and there is a small space between rectangles. They can have a horizontal or vertical orientation. Also called bar graphs. (10)

Basic social research Research designed to advance fundamental knowledge about the social world. (1)

Bivariate statistics Statistical measures that involve two variables only. (10)

(Neuman, 2012)