Week 6 Discussion – Real Life Leadership Studies Discussion Group 1
Colette Taylor
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Real Life Leadership Studies
In pre-assigned groups of four discuss the various behavioral factors that you feel need to be taken into account when delineating and measuring variables in a quantitative leadership research study. Do you feel any of these factors are different for doing an “applied” quantitative study versus a “pure” one?
Student’s Discussion:
Heather Anderson-James
Tuesday Oct 30 at 10:58pm
Hi Hasnaa, Alejandro and Sheila,
I am excited about working with you guys this week.
I know that conceptualizing and operationalizing the variable to be measured are key pieces.   So my thoughts on delineating and measuring behavioral factors, are that the factors must be both observable and measurable. Possible examples are perceptions of time, attitudes, responses to stimuli etc.  Behavioral factors that show how an individual acts or is acted upon by the concept/environmental conditions/other variables at play that the variable is trying to capture.
I am editing this comment to clarify my thinking.   I know that in a “pure” study you don’t have to control for as many things because random assignment across conditions renders them equivalent in the two groups. In an “applied” study, you’re measuring things as they are. You’re not assigning people to one condition or the other, so any differences you see in the dependent variable could be due to the independent variable… or the could be due to some other confounding variable (some preexisting difference). For instance, if you let people self-select into a training, the more ambitious people are likely to join and the less ambitious people will pass on the chance. But then if you see a difference in leadership after the training, it could be because of the training, but it could also be because of the ambition. So, you’d have to statistically “control” or “account” for ambition and see if there’s still a difference between those who did and didn’t have the training.
Edited by Heather Anderson-James on Oct 31 at 7:15pm
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Collapse Subdiscussion Hasna Abu Khalid
Hasna Abu Khalid
Yesterday Oct 31 at 7:10am
Good morning team,
Sorry Sheila about your headache.
from what I understand that we need to measure a behavior, such as bullying at school based on home or environment violent. so we will find the behavior factors  impact on “applied” quantitative studies over “pure” quantitative studies.
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Collapse Subdiscussion Sheila Walton
Sheila Walton
Yesterday Oct 31 at 9:35pm

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Thanks for your thoughts, Hasna. I hope you’re doing well too!
Related to your example, do you have any other examples that might illustrate your point? Just curious. Bullying is such an important behavior to study. How would you build an applied study about bullying and control for different behavioral factors?
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Collapse Subdiscussion Sheila Walton
Sheila Walton
Yesterday Oct 31 at 9:44pm

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Hi Heather,
I like your example of the training. How might you react to the study design if participants were forced to be at the training? That might be considered a behavioral factor. If that is the case do you think that would make a difference in the results of the training? Let’s say there are two training experiences happening at the same time. There is only considerable difference – the ability to participate in an involving experience during the training and the other one was pure lecture. All other information was the same (like a workshop on ethics – which is pretty standard in terms of curricula). The study would try to measure how well people retained information by doing a pre-post test but the audience was a mixture of employees who wanted to attend and those forced to attend. I don’t know if that would be considered a behavioral factor to delineate but I think it fits the discussion prompt. Thoughts?
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Collapse Subdiscussion Sheila Walton
Sheila Walton
Yesterday Oct 31 at 9:32pm
Hi Team,
In reading the prompt I was struck by the idea about delineating behavioral factors. Then, of course, I needed to look up what applied and pure research was. That got me thinking further about the planning involved in developing research, regardless of type. In applied research, studies that try to answer a question about the ‘real world’ (which is very different depending on which world bubble you’re living in), there are many moving parts; much of what you described in your post, Heather. In addition to the mechanics of learning how to choose samples from a population (because I do not believe social science research in an applied case will be as simple as ‘men’ and ‘women’, and ‘other’), there is also the consideration of the researcher. Behavioral factors necessary for consideration when delineating (describing) variables could also include the behavior or biases of the researcher. If bias is not considered that could impact the study; like, how does the researcher think about a population. What is their consideration of experience in and among participants that will fill out the variables. This seems a bit meta, but I believe it to be an important part of research.
In terms of a ‘pure’ or basic study, where results may not be directly applicable in an immediate way because new knowledge is being sought, delineating behavioral factors might include how and when participants are selected to be in a study and how variables might impact them. Of course, people may not be involved in a pure study, and the researcher is reviewing some large data set to look for new meaning. In that case delineating behavioral factors would again be assigned to the researcher, for the researcher; or team.
In the end, I think it’s important for a researcher to think about what things mean to them and have a very clear understanding of the variables they are defining and know how they emotionally or cognitively respond or connect to them. If I ‘hate or love’ X variable and I’m going to study that variable then I should probably figure out a way to not let my ‘hate or love’ get involved – if I even know I ‘hate or love’ the thing I’m studying.