Political Research: An Introduction by Lisa Harrison

By Lisa Harrison

A good place to begin for these new to the world of analysis tools, this paintings assumes no previous wisdom of the topic and units of the main concerns thinking about doing examine in Politics.

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We might find that 90 per cent of left-handed people vote Labour, but this strong correlation does not mean that left-handedness decides voting behaviour – it lacks theoretical credibility. Therefore, you should not go mad testing for correlations. Such a finding is not likely to revolutionise traditional thinking about voting behaviour. We might find that a whole range of variables demonstrate similar patterns of change, but if we claim this is a valid association when in fact it is not, we are making a ‘spurious association’ (Bernstein and Dyer, 1992, p.

24 INTRODUCING QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS A correlation measure will lie between +1 (a perfect positive correlation) and –1 (a perfect negative correlation). Although this is mathematically possible, in the social sciences we are unlikely to reach a perfect correlation of either type. Correlational relationships provide an ongoing puzzle faced by those who wish to explain the influence of political communications. It has regularly been demonstrated that those who pay most attention to political news are more politically knowledgeable than those who pay little or no attention.

155). Obviously, the sources of secondary data are widespread and it would be impossible to list them all here. It may be that you need to collect primary data for your dissertation, and the practicalities of this will be analysed in later chapters. 16 INTRODUCING QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS The language of quantitative analysis Types of data Students can often feel disconcerted by the language of statistical analysis. However, much of the technical language that is employed does in fact have a relatively simple explanation and should not be feared.

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