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Thread: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by independent_thinker2002 View Post
    While I'm not saying that this happens a lot, you can put bias into one depending on the sequence of the questions. I'm not disagreeing that they are the most objective, just point out that they aren't perfect.
    There are MANY ways to introduce bias, not just on the sequence of questions, but how things are worded, how you define the scale (e.g. with or without labels, the number of anchor points, or continuous range, etc. etc.).

    All that aside, as a researcher you introduce bias by what questions you use or existing instruments you select to address your research question.

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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    There are MANY ways to introduce bias, not just on the sequence of questions, but how things are worded, how you define the scale (e.g. with or without labels, the number of anchor points, or continuous range, etc. etc.).

    All that aside, as a researcher you introduce bias by what questions you use or existing instruments you select to address your research question.
    But this doesn't mitigate that it is the most objective way. What do you consider more effective?
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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCourtesy View Post
    One of the best ways to identify what type of psychological issues one may have is by using the MMPI... a questionnaire that took years of development and has a good track record of accuracy.
    The key words being "may have" - proper interpretation of the MMPI (I believe) requires additional information about the patient, which would likely come from an interview of some sort - getting back to Tex's point that research gathered only through questionnaires can be suspect.

    I do not share his opinion that questionnaires are necessarily "poor research tools" but it's also not true that they are necessarily the "best" tools for research. The best research tends to come from the use of many different methods, as they all have characteristic strengths, weaknesses and biases.

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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by independent_thinker2002 View Post
    But this doesn't mitigate that it is the most objective way. What do you consider more effective?
    It always depends on what question you're trying answer. When CC says it's best for "this type of research" he's being much, much too generic.

    Sure it's great when you have an instrument that has been studied, scrutinzed, tested, and retested over years - results obtained from such instruments allow a certain degree of confidence or at the very least confindence in knowing what the limitations of that instrument are.

    But let's not forget that a primary reason questionnaires are used in research is because they can be cheap and easy to administer. If I wanted to see how some independent variable (e.g. parental makeup) influenced GPA, would the "best, most objective" method be to ask them via questionnaire or would it be to try to obtain transcripts? I can tell you which would be cheap and easy. When Nanny 911 does her assessments of child rearing, would we expect the more objective "poor parenting" data to come from a questionnaire administered to parents or from her observation of video? (There are positives and negatives to each approach.)

    It's not difficult to imagine other contexts in which questionnaires are used not because they're a better tool, but because they're efficient. Let's say you want to measure something as abstract as gender identity in young children. It's doubtful you'll be able to devise a reliable instrument that can be administered directly to a child - that leaves what options? A questionnaire given to a parent? Is that the "best, most objective" means of getting the desired data, or would it be preferable to have the child interviewed by an expert who is blind to the parenting condition?

    Point being, the distinction being discussed "Questionnaires are the best and most objective tools when doing research. Interview are the best tools to use when doing assessments" is bollocks. I can't really speak for psychological assessments, but as far as research is concerned, the best tool is a swiss army knife, as the method of choice will always be dependent on what it is you're trying to measure.
    Last edited by Taylor; 12-30-09 at 01:24 AM.

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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    When CC says it's best for "this type of research" he's being much, much too generic.
    By chance, is generic your favorite word?

    If you feel he is generalizing, then you could simply say so. This argument about what is the "best" or "most objective" is going to differ to a degree based simply on opinion. No research measure is perfect because the people who construct them, evaluate them, and interpret them are not perfect. Interviews can tell you things that questionnaires cannot and questionnaires can tell you things that interviews cannot. What is the best tool depends largely upon the situation and the question for which you are looking to answer.

    The only people who claim to be perfect and to follow a perfect source are religious zealots.

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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    How about we get any form of government out of marriage they should only recognize contracts.
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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    By chance, is generic your favorite word?

    If you feel he is generalizing, then you could simply say so.
    Generalizing means something else, especially in a discussion related to psychological research. I suppose I could substitute "vague," but for me that tends to imply some degree of intentionality.

    This argument about what is the "best" or "most objective" is going to differ to a degree based simply on opinion. No research measure is perfect because the people who construct them, evaluate them, and interpret them are not perfect. Interviews can tell you things that questionnaires cannot and questionnaires can tell you things that interviews cannot. What is the best tool depends largely upon the situation and the question for which you are looking to answer.
    Yes

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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    The key words being "may have" - proper interpretation of the MMPI (I believe) requires additional information about the patient, which would likely come from an interview of some sort - getting back to Tex's point that research gathered only through questionnaires can be suspect.
    MMPi interpretation is done through computer scoring of the results. The only interpretation that occurs is through the interpretation of these scores. Interview is not required, nor is it used in the evaluation of the scores. Not including an interview assists in the objectivity of the assessment.

    I do not share his opinion that questionnaires are necessarily "poor research tools" but it's also not true that they are necessarily the "best" tools for research. The best research tends to come from the use of many different methods, as they all have characteristic strengths, weaknesses and biases.
    It depends on the research that one is doing. Remember though, if you are trying to assess "happiness" you will fail miserably, simply because happiness is so subjective. That's one reason why in researching what we are discussing, interviewing produces subjective and highly invalid data. Other assessment tools are far more accurate in determining well-being, such as (when we are discussing the success of children in a household), grades, levels of depression/mood disturbance on scales such as the BDI, socialization based on various scales that identify well-adjusted socialization. These scales are developed and checked for validity during their development and significantly limit the degree of bias and invalidity.
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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    It always depends on what question you're trying answer. When CC says it's best for "this type of research" he's being much, much too generic.
    No, for the research we are discussing, it is, and I am not being generic. Assessing well-being and success through interview is far too subjective and arbitrary, both because of the examiners perceptions and beliefs, and the subject's subjectivity around self-assessment.

    Sure it's great when you have an instrument that has been studied, scrutinzed, tested, and retested over years - results obtained from such instruments allow a certain degree of confidence or at the very least confindence in knowing what the limitations of that instrument are.
    Valid methodological research does this. Questionnaires are scrutinized from a validity standpoint before being administered. Any good researcher does this.

    But let's not forget that a primary reason questionnaires are used in research is because they can be cheap and easy to administer.
    Absolutely not. Many of these tests are extremely expensive to score. Further, the main reason that questionnaires are used is for their ability to remove subjectivity from the equation.


    If I wanted to see how some independent variable (e.g. parental makeup) influenced GPA, would the "best, most objective" method be to ask them via questionnaire or would it be to try to obtain transcripts? I can tell you which would be cheap and easy.
    Transcripts, but this is not an interview, so you have proven nothing by making this comparison.

    When Nanny 911 does her assessments of child rearing, would we expect the more objective "poor parenting" data to come from a questionnaire administered to parents or from her observation of video? (There are positives and negatives to each approach.)
    This analogy does not apply. You are talking about INDIVIDUAL ASSESSMENT which I have told you is different from research. If you want to determine if gay parents are suitable for rearing children, you give questionnaires with different research scales to many different people. If you want to determine if ONE gay couple should be allowed to adopt a child. YOU INTERVIEW. The former is research; the latter is individual assessment. Completely different situations, requiring completely different techniques. This is why your "Nanny 911" analogy does NOT apply.

    It's not difficult to imagine other contexts in which questionnaires are used not because they're a better tool, but because they're efficient. Let's say you want to measure something as abstract as gender identity in young children. It's doubtful you'll be able to devise a reliable instrument that can be administered directly to a child - that leaves what options? A questionnaire given to a parent? Is that the "best, most objective" means of getting the desired data, or would it be preferable to have the child interviewed by an expert who is blind to the parenting condition?
    You are, again, talking about INDIVIDUAL ASSESSMENT, not research. I believe I've explained the difference.

    Point being, the distinction being discussed "Questionnaires are the best and most objective tools when doing research. Interview are the best tools to use when doing assessments" is bollocks. I can't really speak for psychological assessments, but as far as research is concerned, the best tool is a swiss army knife, as the method of choice will always be dependent on what it is you're trying to measure.
    You've proven nothing, except that you do not understand the difference between assessment and research. Your analysis is complete "bollocks".
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    Re: DC City Council votes to legalize gay marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by independent_thinker2002 View Post
    But this doesn't mitigate that it is the most objective way. What do you consider more effective?
    Lets be extremely clear here.

    The data CC was trying to pass off as legitimate dealt with the psychological profile of a homosexual couple and their children.

    That is not something an unsupervised questionnaire can answer. No psychiatrist or psychotherapist would ever sign off on the feelings and behavior of any person based on an unsupervised questionnaire, period. It ignores the very essence of psychology and body language in determining the emotional state of a person.

    This is not a general condemnation of all studies using unsupervised questionnaires for research. It is specific to the evidence trying to be passed off in this particular research.
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