social psyc textbook summary chap 2, research

social psyc textbook summary chap 2, research - Chapter 2...

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Chapter 2: Doing Social Psychology Research This chapter examines how social psychologists apply the scientific method in order to conduct their research. Questions about, for example, the effect of long distance on relationships, the efficiency of working in groups, and regret of action vs. Inaction are social psychological questions. We are interested in finding answers to such questions because they give predictability to people’s behaviour. The opinions we form about such social psychological questions are often guided by common sense. However, common sense depends on people’s personal experience and can thus be very false. Furthermore, depending on people’s personal experience, common sense can dictate contradictory statements (e.g. “distance makes the heart fonder” vs. “out of sight, out of mind”). Thus, social psychology is built on the scientific method, in order to find an answer that is based on observations and evidence, rather than common sense. It allows us to correctly understand human nature. Why should you learn about research methods? Firstly, and most obviously, it will allow you to do better on the exams (DUH! ) Secondly, it improves your reasoning about real life events. o You can think critically about information that you are presented with, and better differentiate myth from fact. o We are constantly bombarded with information from media, ads, and other people. Much of this information is wrong or misleading. o When presented with such information, we should not take their word for it, but seek evidence to prove those statements. We cannot know something to be true until we research and discover the truth on our own. o To this regard, William Butler Yeats said “education is not the filling of pail, but the lighting of a fire” Developing ideas: beginning the research process:
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Research process involves coming up with ideas, refining them, testing them, and interpreting the results. This section examines the stage of coming up with ideas. 1. Asking questions : Every study begins with a question. Questions can be inspired from almost anything: o A brutal murder and the inaction of the witnesses – begs the question “why are people driven to kill?” o Questions can also arise from other experiments (e.g. an experiment by Muzafer Sherif found that people will conform to the opinion of a group even if that opinion is wrong. The question that will be asked following that experiment is “why?”) o Can also come from folk wisdom, personal observations, news, etc) 2. Searching the literature: Once a researcher found a question, it is important to check what other experiments were done on that topic. The process of checking the literature often changes the nature of the original question,
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course PSYC 215 taught by Professor Michaelsullivan during the Spring '08 term at McGill.

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social psyc textbook summary chap 2, research - Chapter 2...

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