quantitative methods

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Quantitative Research Design


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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While a research methods class isn’t necessarily an ideal venue to receive revelations of a personal nature, the latest readings on quantitative analysis have made me aware of how my ever devouring mind works as it continues to seek out and absorb valuable information and higher-level knowledge. Here, there is the qualitative side that is always talking to people, making new friends, learning their stories, and offering help. That’s the creative side. Then there is the quantitative side, the side that wants to break down almost everything into a method, into a process, to make things work like a factory assembly line. That’s the logical side, but it’s also the side that realizes humanity is not a factory and will not evolve successfully if we treat it like a government program of numbered live bodies. Both get along as I work to help people help themselves while I develop simple systems they can use to learn and grow.

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The process of constantly contemplating a research topic from one class to another serves an interesting purpose in my mind.  It causes me to constantly rethink this topic and others that I have dwelled on for the last few years. I see this as a powerful engagement with the topic of gender and racism propaganda, sitting where I sit from a perspective of an Italian white-appearing cisgender man and causing me to constantly look at this topic from different perspectives and engage others with this topic.  As a result, my area of interest at this time has been refined as, what are the short and long-term effects of organized sexist media propaganda as it influences unintentional interpersonal sexist propaganda upon Black women and girls.

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