Reflections on Approaches to Quantitative Research and Butler, et al’s Meditation with yoga, group therapy with hypnosis, and psychoeducation for long-term depressed mood and Schenker and Rumrill’s Causal-comparative research designs and Implications for My Own Research

While quantitative research is easier to understand after several readings (Locke, et al, 2010; Creswell, 2014), I am still not as comfortable with statistics as I would like to be in spite of two statistics classes and the insistence of a professor that I would eventually understand it.  If I utilized any method, be it true experimental, quasi-experimental, or causal-comparative, it would have to be in collaboration with a statistician.  My area of interest, the influence of sexism in media propaganda upon the self-esteem of Black American teen girls and women may be best researched within the quasi-experimental approach.  Due to the preexisting group that I am working with in the Unconquered Minds Service Group, this approach could be helpful to research preexisting interpersonal relationships and how those relationships influence individual attitudes towards sexism.  While this approach does not cover the completely subtlety of this topic, it may be valuable for some aspects of it.

The research question that could be investigated with this approach, “How are black teen girls’ and women’s unintentional propaganda (Doob, 1966, pp. 370-371; Ellul, 1969, pp. 62-65) social media postings about cultural artifacts (e.g., clothing, music, fashion) effected by mass media that uses sexist themes and may be defined as propaganda of one form or another?”  The dependent variable in this instance, if I understand the concept, would be the resultant effect from mass media upon the attitude of each teen girl and woman after being exposed to specific mass media as it influences their unintentional propaganda within their small group.  The independent variables would be the specific form of mass media, whether a music video (or artist), fashion trend, or advertising campaign, for example.  While the subtle effects of sexism are difficult to predict here, the results could be measured in terms of influence of the above media upon the fashion choices, vocabulary, and level of self-confidence.  I would predict that, at least in the short term, the participants would exhibit behaviors [that are either more or less] reflective of the mass media in question that can be measured between the group that was exposed to the same media and to interpersonal propaganda from their peers.  Before and after exposure measurements could be taken.

Deciding if this is a good or bad method as a way of researching is subjective.  I have peers that wholeheartedly embrace quantitative research.  If I was to select any method, it would necessarily be quasi-experimental to take advantage of already existing groups and their already existing interpersonal influence vis a vis their unintentional propaganda.  Having read Butler, et al. (2008), the results of their experiment are couched in terms that are positive, but they don’t seem all that significant overall.  While it was a randomized pilot study that investigated the effects of meditation with yoga (and psychoeducation) versus group therapy with hypnosis (and psychoeducation) versus psychoeducation alone, I wasn’t convinced that this was as controlled as they claimed or thought it was.  There were too many unknown variables, so many that their results seemed a little insignificant when they concluded that they would conduct this study differently when they attempted it again.

I see flaws in doing quantitative research completely.  I can probably see flaws in using qualitative research that cannot be duplicated (though I know it can be duplicated if done correctly).  But quantitative research does not allow for subtleties in responses and that leaves wide gaps in the ability to learn as much as possible from the study participants. If quantitative methods are to be used at all in a study, quasi-experimental, in this case, would have to be supplemented with qualitative research.

 

References:

Butler, L. D., Waelde, L. C., Hastings, T. A., Chen, X., Symons, B., Marshall, J., . . . Spiegel, D. (2008). Meditation with yoga, group therapy with hypnosis, and psychoeducation for long-term depressed mood: A randomized pilot trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology J. Clin. Psychol., 64(7), 806-820. doi:10.1002/jclp.20496

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Quantitative Methods. In Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed., pp. 167-182). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Doob, L. W. (1966). Public opinion and propaganda (2nd ed.). Hamden, CT: Archon Books.

Ellul, J. (1969). Propaganda; the formation of men’s attitudes. New York: Knopf.

Locke, L. F., Silverman, S. J., & Spirduso, W. W. (2010). Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9. In Reading and understanding research (3rd ed., pp. 158-279). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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