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research fundamentals

research should be free, based on sound empirical observation methods, and published subject to blind peer review

hypothesis

proposed relationship between variables that's being tested in a research project

zero hypothesis

assumption that the hypothesis is false and there's no relationship between the variables (point of departure in all research)

interpretive hypothesis

conceptual hypothesis that states a conjecture about what something might mean

explanatory hypothesis

empirical hypothesis stating that X is caused or made possible by Y

predictive hypothesis

empirical hypothesis stating that in conditions ABC, X will (tend to) occur

descriptive hypothesis

empirical hypothesis stating that all Xs have features F or belong to class Y

falsifiability

when a hypothesis can be conceivably proved wrong

dependent variable

the variable we are trying to assess, as caused by another variable

independent variable

measured factor influencing the dependent variable; what we manipulate (change) to see how that affects the dependent variable

correlation

statistical relationship between variables or data that reveals whether or not those are connected

correlational relationship

any relationship where a change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable

causal relationship

relationship between variables where a change in one causes a change in the other

causal mechanism

the exact way in which one thing causes another

reverse causality

where we think that A is causing B, but in fact the opposite is the case

spurious relationship

false, mistaken association between variables (where the effect is actually due to a third variable)

confounding factor

("intervening variable") external variable which affects the dependent variable and obscures the relationship under examination

inductive reasoning

reasoning where concrete observations in the real world are used to formulate general rules or laws

intervening variable

("confounding factor") an external variable which affects the dependent variable and obscures the relationship under examination

deductive reasoning

reasoning where general laws or rules are used to predict likely outcomes in the real world