ESP 178 Applied Research Methods
Winter 2017

 Lectures             

T/R 4:40 – 6:00 pm

Bainer 1132

 Sections             

F 9:00 – 9:50 am in Wellman 235

F 10:00 – 10:50 am in Wellman 235

 Instructor             

Calvin Thigpen

Office:  2142 Wickson Hall

Office hours:  W 9-11 pm or by appointment

e-mail:  cgthigpen “@” ucdavis “dot” edu

website: www.calvinthigpen.com

 Co-Instructor

Dillon Fitch

Office: 2142 Wickson Hall

Office hours:  F 8-9 and 10-11 am or by appointment

e-mail:  dtfitch “@” ucdavis “dot” edu

                                   

Course Objectives

Of the millions who watch sports events, a vanishingly small percentage can play any of the games they watch with anything approaching professional skill, yet virtually all understand the rules well enough to appreciate what they see.  The public must then, in the same way, understand science if it is to react intelligently.  They must at least be capable of following the game, even if they can’t play it.   
                                                                                                                                                    
-  Isaac Asimov, 1980.

The purpose of this course is to train students in the fundamentals of research design in the social sciences.  Many students will take jobs after graduation where they will, occasionally or frequently, oversee the research process – developing problem statements, issuing calls for proposals, evaluating proposals, choosing a research team, monitoring the research process, using research results in the policy process.  Some students will return to graduate school, where they will receive further training in the scientific research process, and may choose a career in research in one field or another.  Whatever job students take, they are likely to make use of research produced by others to understand problems and evaluate potential solutions. In fact, all students are consumers of research, whether they realize it or not, throughout their daily lives.  With the understanding of research design that students gain through this course, they can be more critical and more effective as both consumers and producers of social science research.  By the end of the course, students will be conversant in the language of social science research and know what questions to ask of themselves and others in the design of research projects and the use of research results.


Syllabus

Proposal Assignment
    Stage 1:  Question and background
    Stage 2:  Literature review
    Stage 3:  Conceptualization and Research Design

Clarifications on concepts in Stage 3

Research Design Review
    Stage 4:  Data Collection Instrument and Budget
        Budget Template - excel file
    Final Proposal
        Template for final proposal
        An "A" proposal from 2007
Rules and Roles for In-Class Exercises

 

Interesting websites on science and policy

The Latest Attack on Climate Science – New York Times, 12/4/15

Recommendations for Improving the Scientific Basis for Environmental Decision Making

Explaining Science to Power: Make It Simple, Make it Pay – Science, 11/24/2006

 

Research on attitudes towards research…

Politicization of Science in the Public Sphere: A Study of Public Trust in the United States, 1974 to 2010

Trust in Scientists on Climate Change and Vaccines

An attack on science?  Media use, trust in scientists, and perceptions of global warming

 

Examples of the biases that come into research…

New York Times article “Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets” – 8/9/15

Study on Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change

 

Articles on the culture of science…

Peer review: the nuts and the bolts

Science commentary on sharing in science – Give and it will be given to you

Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students – PNAS, 2012

 

 

Helpful websites for finding research topics

Environmental Issues News from ScienceDaily

Priority Issues from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Resources on all kinds of environmental issues, from Envirolink.org
Public Policy Institute of California on Climate Change and Energy

SCHEDULE – Subject to change…

Date

Day

Topic and Lecture Notes

Required Readings

Extra Resources (For Your Own Edification – NOT required)

1/10

Tues

Introduction (video + quiz)

Cul-de-sacs Proposal summary

UCD research on air quality…

     A Toll on Human Health – overview of air quality research at UCD        

     Primate Center Research Shows Link Between Ozone Pollution Asthma – monkey study

     Cow Study Yields Surprises – it’s not the manure

UCD research on climate change…

Prof. Susan Handy’s Policy Brief on Induced Travel and see other Policy Briefs from the NCST

1/12

Thurs

Conceptualization and Operationalization

Powerpoint

Lecture notes

On-line Text

Chapter 1 thru p. 6

Chapter 2

Chapter 3 p. 20-24

Chapter 4 thru p. 28

Chapter 6 thru p. 47

Chapter 7 p. 55-61

Embed the Social Sciences in Climate Policy – Nature, 4/2/15

NPR (National Public Radio) Morning Edition series on science of behavior

See also the Hidden Brain podcasts also by Shankar Vedantam

 

60+ benefits of bicycling from the International Bicycle Fund – how many of these are supported by research?  See also:

This is your brain on bicycling – Bicycling magazine

Why riding your bike makes you a better person (according to science) – Huffington Post

The environmental paradox of bicycling – Karl Ulrich,

 

The Benefits of Shifting to Cycling – 2015 IDTP/UC Davis report

CityLab on Bicycling

Bike commuting: still on the rise

San Francisco debuts its very first elevated bike lane

Objecting to bike lanes as ‘paint stripe pollution’

The poor bike, the rich bike-share

What would a ‘cycling utopia’ look like?

1/13

Fri

Discussion: “What is science?”

 

 

1/17

Tues

Exercise: Conceptualization and Operationalization

Exercise

Rules and Roles for In-Class Exercises

Schneider article (in Canvas
“Files” folder)

 

1/19

Thurs

Research design and causality criteria

Powerpoint

Lecture notes

On-line Text

Chapter 5

Schutt reading 1             

The Strongest Case Yet That Excessive Parking Causes More DrivingCityLab, 1/12/16

Why bike lanes make people mad – The Washington Post, 1/14/16

The Complicated Relationship Between Cities and ObesityCityLab 1/12/16

NYT article on exercise and cancer

NPR story on the effects of family dinners

When Correlation is Not Causation, But Something Much More Screwy – The Atlantic, 5/11/12

Does Money Make You Mean? Ted Radio Hour on NPR, 2/19/16 – note experiment to establish time order, plus explanation of causal mechanism

1/20

Fri

Discussion: Proposal topics

 

 

1/24

Tues

Exercise: Research design and causality

Exercise

Proposal Stage 1 due

Ecological Fallacy explanation from UC Berkeley

“The ecological fallacy rides again”

1/26

Thurs

Experiments

Powerpoint

Lecture notes

On-line Text

Chapter 10 (stop after block designs)

Schutt reading 2

An additional reading TBA

Read Proposal Stage 2 assignment!

BBC story on the Stanford Prison Experiment

To test a housing program, some are denied aid – NY Times, 12/8/10

Moving to Hope program

1/27

Fri

Discussion: Conducting a literature search

 

 

1/31

Tues

Exercise: Experiments

Exercise

Top Ten Unethical Psychological Experiments from Listverse

2/2

Thurs

Sampling

Powerpoint

Lecture notes

On-line Text

Chapter 8

Chapter 16

Basics on Sampling Statistics

Stratified vs. Cluster Sampling

(Two Problems with Random Sampling and Two Alternatives – broken link) from Methodspace

National Surveys on Energy and Environment 2015 poll on climate change

World Public Opinion.org

“How one 19-year-old Illinois man is distorting national polling averages” – NYT, 10/12/16

2/3

Fri

Discussion: Reading articles

Lubell, et al., 2009 (available on Canvas)

 

2/7

Tues

Exercise: Sampling

Exercise

Proposal Stage 2 due

2/9

Thurs

Survey research

Powerpoint

Lecture Notes

On-line Text

Chapter 9 (skip “Interview Survey” section)

Schutt on pros and cons of survey methods

Examples of Bad Survey Questions

Fresh Air interview with Nate Silver on political polling – 2/11/16

Fresh Air interview with Jill Lepore on the history of polling in the US – 2/11/16
For Valentine’s Day – The Science of Romance

 

2/10

Fri

Discussion: Midterm review

 

 

2/14

Tues

MIDTERM 1

Midterm from 2006

Midterm Review Sheet

A useful website with definitions and explanations of all these research terms

A fun website on all 60 Methodological Potholes, from ecological fallacy to smorgasboard thinking and head-in-the-sand syndrome

 

2/16

Thurs

Exercise: Survey design

Exercise

Articles available in Canvas:

Fowler, 1992

Dillman, 1991

Dillman and Bowker, 2001

Dr. Handy’s survey examples:

8 Nor Cal Neighborhoods Survey

6 Cities Bicycling Survey

Davis Shopping Survey

2015 Campus Travel Survey – note the complicated branching in this one, which works much better in its online form than hard-copy form

Davis High School Survey

2/17

Fri

Discussion: Human subjects and the IRB

 

 

2/21

Tues

Exercise: Scales

Powerpoint

Lecture Notes

See the following for examples of scales on Canvas:

Grob_1995.pdf

Bixler and Floyd, 1997

Gatersleben et. al., 2002 (READ FOR DISCUSSION)

Survey examples:

The New Ecological Paradigm Scale – widely used

The General Social Survey – conducted annually by the University of Chicago

Eurobarometer surveys on public attitudes to the environment – See report on Attitudes of European citizens towards the Environment (2014) – Questionnaire is about 2/3 through the document

The American Climate & Environmental Values Survey (2011) from ecoAmerica

The Minnesota Report Card on Environmental Literacy (2008) - Check Appendix A in the full report for the survey instrument

Indications of environmental literacy: using a new survey instrument to measure awareness, knowledge, and attitudes of university-aged students (2007) – see Appendix B for survey instrument

Survey on Public Attitudes to the Environment in Scotland (2002) Check survey method and survey contents for description of interview method

The First Pennsylvania Environmental Readiness for the 21st Century Survey Report (2000) Check Appendix 1 for the survey instrument

2/23

Thurs

Quantitative analysis (pt. 1)

Powerpoint

Lecture Notes

Articles available in Canvas:

McElreath:

Chapter 1 (sections 1.1 and 1.2)

 

Gelman and Hill:

Chapter 2 (section 2.1 - skip multivariate normal and log-normal - and sections 2.2 and 2.5)

Chapter 3 (sections 3.1, 3.2, and 3.6)

Andrew Gelman's blog on data analysis, sampling, other research design topics

2/24

Fri

Discussion: Reading articles

Proposal Stage 3 due

Canvas: Gatersleben et. al., 2002

 

2/28

Tues

Quantitative Analysis (pt. 2)

Powerpoint

Lecture Notes

Articles available in Canvas:

Gelman and Hill:

Chapter 5 (section 5.1)

Chapter 6 (section 6.2 through p. 113 and 6.3 through p. 117)

3/2

Thurs

Exercise: Survey workshop

Exercise

 

3/3

Fri

Exercise: Data analysis

In 75 Hutchison computer lab!

Exercise

 

 

3/7

Tues

Observations, Secondary Data, Case Studies

Powerpoint

Lecture Notes

On-line Text

Chapter 11

Some examples of observational instruments:

SOFIT (System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time)
SOPLAY (System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity) protocol and SOPLAY data recording sheet

3/9

Thurs

Qualitative research and analysis

Powerpoint

Lecture Notes

Proposal Stage 4 due

On-line Text

Chapter 9, pp. 78-80

Chapter 12 p. 106-111

Chapter 13

3/10

Fri

Exercise: Census data

Exercise

In 75 Hutchison computer lab!

 

Gateway to the 2010 Census - see especially What is the Census?
Accuracy of the Census - method for calculating standard errors and confidence intervals 

 

3/14

Tues

Course wrap-up and review

Powerpoint

Article to read for midterm

Copies will be handed out in class today.

Does Money Make You Mean? Ted Radio Hour on NPR, 2/19/16 – note experiment to establish time order, plus explanation of causal mechanism

3/16

Thurs

MIDTERM 2

 

Practice Exam (Thigpen et al. paper)

Study Sheet

 

3/17

Fri

Discussion: Proposal review

 

 

3/24

Fri

Proposals due by 6pm on SmartSite

Early submissions encouraged!

 

 

 


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Last updated 1/6/17