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Data Collection

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elements selected to represent the larger population being studied
random sample
a sample where each member of a population has an equal chance of being chosen for study; the gold standard of sampling
representative sample
a sample big enough to accurately represent the population at large
systematic sampling
where the sample is drawn based on a certain pattern (e.g. at fixed intervals from a list)
stratified sampling
where the sample is drawn from a subgroup naturally occurring in the population (e.g. males, blacks, texts in English)
snowball sample
a sample where members of the sample select new members
volunteer sample
a sample whose members are self-selected
convenience sampling
recruiting those research participants or selecting cultural texts that are the most easily accessible
experimental group
one or more subjects in an experiment who are exposed to the thing being tested
control group
experiment participants who are not exposed to the thing being tested (for comparison purposes)
longitudinal study
a study that tracks the same group of participants over an extended period of time
covert observation
observation where participants are not aware of being observed
overt observation
the identity of the researchers and the purpose of the research are made clear to the study subjects
field research
studying a phenomenon in a natural context outside of the laboratory
laboratory experiment
an experiment conducted in specially constructed surroundings
participant observation
learning through researcher's direct personal participation
non-participant observation
the researcher observes an activity without taking part in it
Hawthorne effect
change in participant behaviour caused by the fact that they know they are being observed
experimenter effect
(a.k.a. researcher personal attribute effect) change to experiment results caused by characteristics of researcher
experimental effect
unintended effect of the experiment on the participants
information obtained as part of a study
primary data
new data collected as part of a research project
secondary data
available existing data collected by other scholars
secondary analysis
studying existing sources of information (records, data)
structured data
data which can be represented numerically and analyzed statistically
semi-structured or unstructured data
data generated using qualitative methods, usually not computationally tractable
categorical scale data
(a.k.a. nominal data) data that falls into only one category (e.g. pregnant vs non pregnant)
quantitative data
numerical data, data expressed in the form of numbers
quantitative method
research methods that rely on collecting numerical data (or data that can be easily converted to numerical form) and rely on statistical or mathematical analysis
qualitative data
non-numerical data
qualitative method
research method that rely on personal observation and description without recourse to mathematics
ordinal scale data
data that allows for ranking but not measuring a concept (dull - very dull)
interval scale data
data that ranks measured values at fixed intervals (e.g. student grades)
influence of initial or early data on subsequent evaluation
statistical regression
(a.k.a. regression to the mean) extreme values are unlikely and are often followed by more average results
intersubject bias
where members in a sample influence one another, producing aligned responses (groupthink)
complete set of potential study subjects (people or inanimate objects)
missing data
no data value is stored for the variable in an observation