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.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z
Ecological Fallacy
False conclusions made by assuming that one can infer something about an individual from data collected about groups.
Econometrics
A field of economics that applies mathematical statistics and the tools of statistical inference to the empirical measurement of relationships postulated by economic theory.
Effect Size
A measure of the strength of the effect of the predictor (or independent) variable on the outcome (or dependent) variable. It is a measure of the magnitude or size of the difference between two or more groups. There are many ways to calculate an effect size, but one of the more common is to express differences in outcomes between groups in standard deviation units. For example, a researcher finds a significant difference in the math scores of African American and Hispanic first graders. Hispanic scores are 5 points higher than those of African American children. The effect size for this 5 point difference would be equal to .33 standard deviation given that the overall standard deviation of the assessment is 15 (effect size = score difference/standard deviation of assessment).
Egocentric Social Network Analysis
Egocentric social network analysis (SNA) is a methodological tool used to understand the structure, function, and composition of an individual's patterns of interactions in multiple social settings. It is used to study how people's patterns of interaction shape their individual-level outcomes (e.g. health, education, employment opportunities).
Endogeneity
A threat to the assumption that the independent (exogenous) variable actually causes the dependent (or endogenous) variable. Endogeneity occurs when the dependent variable may actually be a cause of the independent variable. Sometimes this is referred to as reverse causality. For example, a researcher may note that states with the death penalty also have high murder rates. The researcher may conclude that the death penalty causes an increase in the murder rate; however, it could be that states that experience a high murder rate are more likely to institute the death penalty. Endogeneity is the opposite of exogeneity.
Epistemology
A way of understanding and explaining how we know what we know. Each research methodology is underpinned by an epistemology that serves as a guiding philosophy and provides a concrete process of research steps.
Error
The difference between the actual observed data value and the predicted or estimated data value. Predicted or estimated data values are calculated in statistical analyses, such as regression analysis.
Error Term
The part of a statistical equation that indicates what remains unexplained by the independent variables. The residuals in regression models.
Estimated Sampling Error
When researchers use a sample to predict the true but unknown value of a population there is the risk of being wrong. They decide ahead of time how much error in their prediction is acceptable. For example, when predicting the percentage of children enrolled in home-based child care, a researcher could select a sample size with an error of +/- 5 percent points.
Estimation
The process by which data from a sample are used to indicate the value of an unknown quantity in a population.
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