Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reading Last Week

Seaman: Qualitative Methods
  • Description of ways in which qualitative methods can be used in conjunction with a positivist stance. Tools include observational studies and interviews.
  • Interesting tradeoff: amount of data collected in an interview vs. amount of interviewee's time used vs. amount of direction in interview. Often, the importance/implication of the data collected isn't known for a long time after the interview.
  • When conducting an interview, stress that it is not an evaluation. There are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers.
Cohen: Statistical Power Analysis
  • Examines the importance of analyzing and reporting the power of a statistical relation in empirical research.
  • Author proposes that a sound target power be 0.80, as it produces feasible sample sizes for given values of alpha and ES.
  • Not a very understandable piece of literature, at least from my perspective.

Rosenthan and MiMatteo: Meta-Analysis: Recent Developments in Quantitative Methods for Literature Reviews
  • A good introduction to meta-analysis (that is, analyzing the results of many studies/experiments to determine h0, instead of directly testing subjects to prove h0).
  • Interesting points about making sure the studies in your meta-analysis are independent (if meta-analyzing multiple studies from the same research group, subjects and or data may be reused, and so the results may be overlapping).
  • Also interesting discussion of inherent bias in meta-analysis, arising in the form in which the experimentalists choose to include/exclude studies from their sample space.

Card: Ender's Game
  • Enjoyable novel about a young boy who is called upon to train as a military commander to protect the earth from the threat of alien invasion.
  • Good character development, although the author lays on the bloodlust and homo-eroticism a bit thick.
  • As a consequence, the sci-fi aspects of the story seemed secondary to the character plot, even tacked on in some places.
  • Generally, I liked it, but probably wouldn't invest the time to read the 5 or 6 sequels

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