Methods of Inquiry- Week 5 & 6

Basic Personal Values, Core Political Values, and Voting: A Longitudinal Analysis Author(s): Shalom H. Schwartz, Gian Vittorio Caprara and Michele Vecchione Source: Political Psychology, Vol. 31, No. 3 (June 2010), pp. 421-452

Literature:

  • how political values relate to one another
  • left or right ideology does not explain attitudes
  • research largely fails to test political values of electorate
  • value construct: prior research focuses on limited sets of values

Variables:

  • basic personal values: “abstract beliefs about desirable goals that transcend specific situations” (p.428)
    • power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security
  • core political values: beliefs and assumptions about government, citizenship, and society
    • law & order, traditional morality, equality, free enterprise, civil liberties, and blind patriotism
  • Measurements: developed scale to measure core political values

Theory

  • Basic personal values are aligned in a circular structure with ten dimension, one for each basic personal values

Hypothesis

  1. “core political values mediate relationship of basic personal value to voting” (p.423) such that basic personal values affect core political values which affect voter choice behavior outcomes (relationship of independent variable: basic personal values and dependent variable: core political beliefs.
    1. “The hypothesis for each political value specified one set of basic values expected to relate positively to the political value and another, motivationally opposed set, expected to relate negatively.” (pg. 437)
    2. In Hungary in the 1990s, it was found that core political beliefs such as traditional versus modern ideals were affected by basic personal values such that those with core beliefs of tradition were affected by tradition and conformity values and modern core belief were affected by stimulation, hedonism, and self-direction.
  2. Value–attitudes–behavior hierarchy
  3. Structure of basic personal values will measure up with core political beliefs on separate sides of circular structure model.

“The current research tests three broad hypotheses: 1) The circular motivational structure that organizes relations among basic personal values also organizes and gives coherence to core political values. 2) Both basic personal values and core political values predict voting choice systematically. 3) Core political values mediate the effect of basic personal values on voting choice.” (pg. 429)

Methods

  1. First, the authors decided if a basic personal value was aligned or in opposition to a given core political value such as tradition would be aligned with tradition, conformity, and security on the positive side basic personal values: hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, and universalism were on the opposite, negative side of the circular model.

Results

  • core political beliefs and basic personal values fit circular behavior model suggesting the relationship between variables: basic personal values and core political beliefs can be organized and structured.  Left-right ideology fails here.
  • found correlation between basic personal values and core political beliefs in 47 of 48 relationships; greater relationship that left-right ideology
  • Using multiple regression analysis, found core political values mediated basic personal beliefs in voting suggesting the values-attitude-behavior model is correct.
  • found core political beliefs affect voting outcomes and core political beliefs are affected by basic personal values

Quiz

In the Schwartz, et al, article, the authors argue that there is a difference between the two concepts of core political attitudes and basic personal values. How are each of these concepts defined by the authors?

  • The authors define two variables: basic personal values and core political beliefs.  These two variables are very different because the authors have argued basic personal values are not only separate from core political values but may actually have a positive and negative affect such that core political values are influenced by basic personal values.
  • The authors define basic personal beliefs as “abstract beliefs about desirable goals that transcend specific situations,” (p.428) and are substructured by measurements of power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security.
  • The authors define core political values as beliefs and assumptions about government, citizenship, and society.  Core political values are substructured with measurements of law & order, traditional morality, equality, free enterprise, civil liberties, and blind patriotism.

What do Schwartz, et al, hypothesize with regard to the relationship between basic personal values and core political values?

  • The authors give two main hypothesis and the relationship between basic personal values and core political beliefs such that there may be modeled a “circular motivational structure that organizes relations among basic personal values also organizes and gives coherence to core political values” and that “core political values mediate the effect of basic personal values on voting choice.” (pg. 429)
  • The first hypothesized relationship is that a core political value will be aligned positively by basic personal beliefs that respond to it and be aligned negatively to basic personal values that do not respond to it.  This may be modeled in a circular structure where basic personal values was aligned or in opposition to a given core political value on a positive and negative side respectively.  For example, tradition would be aligned with tradition, conformity, and security on the positive side while the basic personal values: hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, and universalism were on the opposite, negative side of the circular model.
  • The second hypothesized relationship is that basic personal values affect core political values such that there exists a relationship of the independent variable: basic personal values and the dependent variable: core political beliefs.  For example, in Hungary in the 1990s, it was found that core political beliefs such as traditional versus modern ideals were affected by basic personal values such that those with core beliefs of tradition were affected by tradition and conformity values and modern core belief were affected by stimulation, hedonism, and self-direction.

What is the scale Schwartz, et al, create to measure core political values? Explain it, don’t just use direct quotes from the article.

  • Survey respondents answered a questionaire to measure core political values using frameworks by Feldman (1988), McCann (1997), Jacoby (2006), Gunther and Kuan (2007), and Schatz, Staub, and Lavine (1999).  The values measured were equality, free enterprise, traditional morality, law and order, blind patriotism, civil liberties, immigration, and military intervention.  Respondents were given statements and asked on a scale of increasing agreement whether or not they agreed or disagreed with the statement.  The scale was in five intervals, 1 was given for “completely disagreeing,” a 2 was given for agreeing slightly more at “agreeing a little”, a 3 was given to those who “agree somewhat”, 4 was coded for those who “agree a great deal,” and 5 was given for those who “completely agree.”  As the scale increases, respondents agree slightly more each interval.

How did Schwartz, et al., measure basic personal values? You should be able to answer this in a couple of sentences.

  • Schwartz et al. write that for each given basic personal value, “respondents indicate how similar the person is to themselves on a scale ranging from “very much like me—6” to “not like me at all—1.”  The scale is listed as decreasing from complete similarity at number 6 to complete difference at number 1.  The authors do not list the 6-1 decreasing scale.

Quiz submitted: 1713a

Third Short Writing Assignment
PSC 502
Spring, 2017

Read the material provided at this website describing the Belfast Project’s oral history project that focused on members of the Irish Republican Army: http://www.chronicle.com/interactives/belfast

Assume you are a member of the IRB at Boston College and you have been asked to vote on approval of the project before it is begun.
Basing your decision only on the article’s description of the project and the course material for this week on the protection of human subjects, how would you vote?
Would you approve it as described, deny it as described or ask for modifications?
Support your decision with a memo explaining how your conclusion is based on the existing principles in place for the protection of human subjects.

Your explanation should be presented in a 1-2 page, double-spaced essay with an introduction and conclusion. Email it to me before the end of day on Sunday, February 26.

Dominique Awis

24 February 2017

Methods of Inquiry

3rd Assignment

Project Approval

To fellow colleagues,

As a member of the IRB at our Boston College, I must relay my opinion to the committee on the project. The project involves collecting interviews over a long-term period of several years. This will come at great costs the committee and must be fully considered. I must say that it will be a dangerous venture to interview members of a former Irish terrorist group, and the interviews must be conducted with utmost safety that cannot be guaranteed.

For the protection of the interviewees, I must regretfully disagree with the premise of the project and therefore will cast my vote against approval of the project unless certain guarantees may be met. Scientific inquiry is of the utmost importance to me, however, I cannot, in good conscious, vote on a project that would potentially put the lives of the interviewees at risk because of strict ethical research standards we should live by as professional scientists.

The study will be conducting interviews with dangerous former “criminals” or those who broke the law committing acts of rebellion, terrorism, and treason. There is no guarantee of the researcher who will conduct the interviewees safety. If the interviewer is proceeding at his or her own risk, I will overlook this caution. The main reason why I am inclined to deny the approval of this project is because the lives of the interviews cannot be guaranteed as safe. The interviews are bound to release incriminating information that could leave to the arrest and trial of the interviewees.

As a researcher of good conscious, I believe it would be in the interviews best interest if any incriminating information such as names, crime details, dates, etc. should be withheld from interviews. Ethically, it would be improper for the committee to let the interviewees incriminate themselves and fear of facing arrest. The committee must put the lives of the interviewees above research. If the Tuskegee experiments have taught us anything, it would be that lives of the subjects must be the first priority of researchers. I cannot personally in good conscious, as a citizen of the United States, collect evidence to brutal crimes such as murder, arson, and kidnapping and withhold that information from the state.

Because I cannot agree to have this information collected, the interviews would have to exclude any questions that could potentially record incriminating evidence that would lead to the disruption of the lives of the test subjects. In conclusion, unless the interviewer is careful in the questioning to leave out of the interviews any incriminating information such as names, dates, and places, I will not agree to the project. As researcher and scientists, we must uphold the highest ethical standards of research and that includes protecting the lives of the subjects.

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