qualitative methods

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Quantitative Research Design

Introduction

Area of Interest and Statement of the Issue.  My primary area of research interest is the influence of sexism in media propaganda upon the self-esteem of Black American teen girls and young women.  Queries into propaganda research and the influence on gender and racist stereotypes have revealed no direct studies of the subject or any related subjects.  Let me be clear here.  There is an abundance of quantitative and qualitative research into the influence of stereotypes, of sexism and racism embedded in the English language (Sunderland, 2006), and even of the influence of sexist media programming and advertising upon women and (Sunderland, 2006).  However, I am unable to find any research that explicitly identifies this as unintentional propaganda (Doob, 1966) or as “penetration of an ideology by means of its sociological context” (Ellul, 1969). There is a gap between media and propaganda and between sexism and propaganda that this research hopes to connect and fill.

Theoretical perspectives.  The quantitative theory that would be most aligned with this particular topic is correlational modeling research where path analysis maps the relationships between a number of variables and displays the degree to which any of them can be used to predict one or more variables (Locke, et al, 2010).  In this theory, lines are given a direction of influence and the number given for each line indicates the degree of influence that has been exerted.  Swim, et al. (2004) utilize modelling to measure the association between Modern Sexist beliefs and identifying and engaging in subtle sexist behavior.  Connelly and Heesacker (2012) utilized structural equation modeling to explore the extent to which benevolent sexism is positively associated with life satisfaction.  The scales included benevolent sexism, hostile sexism, system justification and life satisfaction.  Oehlhof (2011) use structural equation modeling that took into account objectifying experiences, internalized experiences, and psychosocial outcomes related to self-objectification of overweight women.

The study of sexism in media propaganda has not been researched specifically via the influence of unintentional propaganda but it has been studied via the influence of media programming (Lafky, et al, 1996; Plakoyiannaki, et al, 2008, Plakoyiannaki and Zotos, 2009).  The manner that influence has been described in past studies is described as propaganda elsewhere (Doob, 1966) as well as sociological, cultural, and societally embedded (Ellul, 1969).

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For reasons of in depth analysis and to allow study participants their full voice, qualitative research and inquiry is where my heart, mind, and soul are, because, to me, people are more than mere numbers and statistics, though, in a very limited capacity, I can see where quantitative research may be useful when a certain population is difficult to reach for part of a research project.  Particularly, due to previous study and their potential to reveal more as well as engage participants more fully, grounded theory (where the critical areas of research are revealed in the data) and participatory action research (also known as action research to some) greatly appeal to me, even if more work is required in the long run.

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