How Is the Scientific Method Usedin Psychological Research?Learning Objectives•Identify the four primary goals of science.•Describe the scientific method.•Differentiate between theories, hypotheses, and research.
2.1 Science Has Four Primary Goals•There are four primary goals of science:–description–prediction–control–explanation
Scientific Method•Research: a scientific process that involves the careful collection, analysis, and interpretation of data •Data: a collection of measurements gathered during the research process •Scientific method: a systematic and dynamic procedure of observing and measuring phenomena, used to achieve the goals of description, prediction, control, and explanation; it involves an interaction among research, theories, and hypotheses
The Role of Theory•Theory: a model of interconnected ideas or concepts that explains what is observed and makes predictions about future events–Theories are based on empirical evidence.•Hypothesis: a specific, testable prediction, narrower than the theory it is based on
The Role of Theory•How can we decide whether a theory is good?–When we talk about a good theory, we do not mean that it is good because it is supported by research findings.–One key feature of a good theory is that it should be falsifiable.–A good theory produces a wide variety of testablehypotheses.–Good theories also tend toward simplicity.
The Role of Theory•A good theory produces a wide variety oftestable hypotheses.-Jean Piaget’s theory of infant and child development generated thousands of hypotheses and scientific papers.-Freud’s theory that dreams served a wish fulfillment function generated few testable hypotheses.
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2.2 The Scientific Method Tests Hypotheses•The seven steps of the scientific method:–Frame a research question.–Conduct a literature review.–Form a hypothesis.–Design a study.–Conduct the study.–Analyze the data.–Report the results.
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2.3 The Scientific Method Is Cyclical•Once the results of a research study are in, the researchers return to the original theory to evaluate the implications of the data.–If the study was conducted competently (i.e., used appropriate methods and data analysis to test the hypothesis), the data either support the theory or suggest that the theory be modified or discarded.•No single study can provide a definitive answer about any phenomenon.•No theory would be discarded on the basis of one set of data.
Replication•Replication: repetition of a research study to confirm the results–When the results from two or more studies are the same, or at least support the same conclusion, confidence increases in the findings.