Political Science - Measuring civic participation

#1
Hey everyone.

I'm a undergrad senior working on a thesis involving Facebook and civic participation. I've recently realized my research paper's idea is based off of ill logic.

What I'm trying to do is survey students at my university on their use of Facebook for civic purposes (gathering political news, sharing political news stories with friends, etc) and trying to see if I can find any relationship between high civic participation in real life and high civic participation online.

I'm also interested to look at participants' perception of how diverse their network is.

The problem is that I really don't know where to begin when it comes to understanding sound methodology of designing and conducting questionnaires.

No statistics professor at my school will give me the time of day.

Correlation does not prove causation, so even if I get data showing high Facebook use and high civic participation there is not direct connection there.

I'm not sure if I would have to establish a control group of non-Facebook users to prove Facebook-use as a factor when it comes to civic participation.

Are there any resources/guides/tips you might be able to share? I'm not sure how to make this sound.


Thanks.
 

CB

Super Moderator
#2
I'm not sure if I would have to establish a control group of non-Facebook users to prove Facebook-use as a factor when it comes to civic participation.
We don't ever prove things with empirical studies - proofs are in maths.

Keep in mind that even with a control group, you can't randomly assign people to Facebook use/not or online civic activities/not. So you're unlikely to get much further than a correlational design here.