Chapter 2 Notes

Chapter 2 Notes - Psychology 101 Chapter 2: The Tools of...

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Psychology 101 Chapter 2: The Tools of Psychological Research (Pages 26-58) Scientific method – a multistep technique that generates empirical knowledge—that is, knowledge derived from systematic observations of the world **see class notes for steps ; always begins and ends with observation Operational definition – definitions that specify how concepts can be observed and measured Tools used in psychological research can both help to solve problems but also cause potential pitfalls I. Observing Behavior: Descriptive Research Descriptive research – methods designed to observe and describe behavior Whenever you observe the actions of another, the very act of observing can affect the behavior you’re recording Reactivity – when behavior changes as a result of the observation process One of the negative consequences of reactivity is external validity – the extent to which results generalize to other situations or are representative of real life II. Observing Behavior: Descriptive Research: Naturalistic Observation: Focusing on Real Life Naturalistic observation – a descriptive research technique that records naturally occurring behavior as opposed to behavior produced in the laboratory; the researcher tries not to interfere in any way This eliminates the flaw of the subjects creating reactivity Participant observation – the observer attempts to become a part of the activities being studied in order to blend in Another way to reduce reactivity is to measure behavior indirectly: by looking at the results of the behavior rather Naturalistic observation can also be used to verify the results of laboratory experiments because the lab generates questions pertaining to external validity Naturalistic observation by itself is a poor vehicle for determining causality; however it can be used effectively to gather basic information about a phenomenon and, in conjunction with laboratory research, to establish the generality of psychological principles III. Observing Behavior: Descriptive Research: Case Studies: Focusing on the Individual Case study – a descriptive research technique in which the effort is focused on a single case, usually an individual, in an effort to accumulate a great deal of info about a psychological topic Case studies give researchers an important historical perspective that helps them form hypotheses about possible causes of a behavior or psychological problem Sybil – dissociative identity disorder Case studies are also limited by placing “all of the eggs in one basket” – external validity comes into play with the question of application to other cases Case studies are excellent for generating hypotheses but are generally ineffective for determining cause-and- effect relationships IV. Observing Behavior: Descriptive Research:
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PSY 101 taught by Professor Gardner&walters during the Fall '07 term at N. Arizona.

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Chapter 2 Notes - Psychology 101 Chapter 2: The Tools of...

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