Research Design, Sampling, and Measurement
Some of the most important decisions that a researcher must make, apart from deciding what to study, have to do with how to study—the basic design of the study, what variables to include and how to measure them, and what or whom to include in one’s sample. This chapter includes two articles that deal with the general topic—smoking as a gendered practice—but they do so using dramatically different research approaches, one quantitative and the other qualitative. Marjorie MacDonald and Nancy Wright employ secondary analysis of survey data to explore gender differences and other factors that correlate with smoking among Canadian high school students. Penny Tinkler prefers a qualitative and historical approach; she explores representations of smoking in magazines aimed at young women in Great Britain from 1918–1939. Although their research designs could hardly be more different, each faced decisions that all social science researchers must make regarding what to study (the sample) and how to study it.