Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

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The research glossary defines terms used in conducting social science and policy research, for example those describing methods, measurements, statistical procedures, and other aspects of research; the child care glossary defines terms used to describe aspects of child care and early education practice and policy.

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Q-Methodology/Q-Sort
Q Methodology is a research method used in psychology and social sciences to study people's point of viewpoint or judgments on a variety of topics. Participants as asked to sort decks of cards that contain statements, words, pictures, etc. into piles according to some criterion. For example, a child's mother may be asked to read and sort a series of statements about her child's behavior towards her in different situations.
Qualitative Research
A field of social research that is carried out in naturalistic settings and generates data largely through observations and interviews. Compared to quantitative research, which is principally concerned with making inferences from randomly selected samples to a larger population, qualitative research is primarily focused on describing small samples in non-statistical ways.
Quartiles
A set of three values that divides the total frequency into four equal parts.
Quasi-Experimental Research
Research in which individuals cannot be assigned randomly to two groups, but some environmental factor influences who belongs to each group. For example, if researchers want to look at the effects of smoking on health, they cannot ethically assign individuals to a group that smokes and a group that does not smoke. Researchers might rely on some environmental factor, for example an ad campaign that discourages smoking, to examine changes in health following the campaign. The theory behind quasi-experimental designs is that following an environmental intervention, individuals' characteristics play a smaller role in determining whether they smoke or do not smoke, and thus membership in these groups is closer to random assignment.
Questionnaire
A survey document with questions that are used to gather information from individuals to be used in research.
Quota Sampling
A non-probability sampling method in which a given number of subjects are selected from a specific group or groups. For example, a researcher might design a sample of 200 parents of newborns that sets quotas of 100 mothers and 100 fathers. Widely used in opinion polling and market research.