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Quantitative Research Methods

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Title: Quantitative Research Methods


1
Quantitative Research Methods
  • Overview

2
The Most Important Thing Is To Ask Tough
Questions at the Outset
  • What kinds of questions do I want to ask?
  • What kinds of questions can I ask?
  • What kinds of information is feasibly obtained
    from the population in question?
  • Can I get there from here?
  • Have I got the right stuff?

3
Good News and Bad News?
  • In the extreme example, Quantitative Research may
    tend to buy you the luxury of distance, safety,
    an air-conditioned office, fresh water, and a
    toilet
  • In the extreme example, Qualitative Research may
    tend to require a much more hands-on,
    go-bush, get-in-the-natives-face, and
    subsequent danger.

4
The Project Dictates the Style
  • Some questions cant be answered without a very
    close look at the human side of the phenomena. Go
    bush, as it were.
  • Other questions require hard numbers which may be
    primary data (collected by you) or secondary data
    (collected by someone else).
  • The two approaches are complementary.

5
First, a Lesson in Philosophy
  • The Golden Aristotilean meaneverything sort of
    reaches a happy understandable medium sooner or
    later
  • Maimonides Systematic Doubt
  • Rene DesCartes Deductive Reasoning
  • Francis Bacon Inductive Reasoning
  • Newtownian Hypothetical Reasoning
  • Kantian notion of uncertainty

6
Kants Transcendental Logic
  • If the receptivity of our mind, its power of
    receiving representations . . . , is to be
    entitled sensibility, then the minds power of
    producing representations of itself, the
    spontaneity of knowledge, should be called the
    understanding. . . . Thoughts without content are
    empty, intuitions without concepts blind. It is.
    . . necessary to make our concepts sensible,
    that is, to

7
  • . . . . To make our intuitions intelligible, . .
    . to bring them under concepts.
  • The understanding can intuit nothing, the
    senses can think nothing. Only through their
    union can knowledge arise.
  • Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (1777)

8
Qualitative
  • What is a quality that something possesses?
    Primary, secondary?
  • Where does it come from? The source?
  • How might one describe it?
  • Does one see the same as another?
  • The thing itself, according to Kant, has
    shifted from the thing as it is in world to
    ones perception thereof. Problem?

9
Qualitative
  • How do we know it? Epistemology epistime logos
  • What is that we know? Phenomenology enomenos
  • At what point do we have to assume we have the
    best possible vantage point?
  • At some point we have to bite the bullet, as it
    were.

10
Maimonides the Mystery Man
  • Reality was like an onion
  • Sensible, knowable, understandable
  • Peel away, and all will be known unto you
  • EXCEPTTheres always going to be something left,
    unknowable.
  • He fretted over what one couldnt know, but,
    assuming it the Divine, he didnt feel too badly
    about it.

11
DesCartes the Deducer
  • Thinks hes got it all in his pocket, but
    proceeds through a systematic doubt
  • He starts with Cogito, ergo sum and tries to
    establish
  • Systematically fusses over what is and what
    isnt.
  • Gets a bad case of reality with Queen Cristina of
    Sweden, dies after to too many naked snow frolics.

12
Descartes Minus the Smut?
  • Deductive reasoning process
  • Start with theoretical model or assumption and
    then proceed logically from there.
  • Problems with DesCartes? Believed that logic
    would guide his path, empirical knowledge
    secondary to logic
  • Analogous to armchair anthropologist of
    centuries later
  • A Favorite of British Social Anthropologists

13
The Fabulous Bacon Boys
  • Bugger everything thats every been knownstart
    over.
  • Inductive Reasoning Process Collect data until
    there is no question of truth
  • The catch, however, is to do the experiment via
    empirical observations.
  • Cleanse the idols that might bias understanding

14
Newtonian Hypothetical Science
  • Make a hunch
  • Test the hunch
  • See if the hunch pans out according to
    expectations, i.e., does what you expected to
    find match what you found?
  • Start over if needed.
  • When all else fails, make the math so dense and
    impenetrable that critics die before theyve
    second-guessed you.

15
So, Where Do We Go From Here?
  • Observation breeds concepts, concepts breed a
    grouped or thematic dimension to the real world?
  • Where do words fail and numbers succeed?
  • How does one strike the balance?
  • Might the quantitative dimension potentially be
    as flawed as the qualitative?
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