Chptr_02 - Methods and Numbers - Chapter 2 Chapter 2:...

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Methods and Numbers - Chapter 2 37 PSYCHOLOGY: Exploring Behavior Chapter 2: Methods and Data Methods and Data Experiments Controls and Ethics What is an Experiment? Between-Groups Comparison Within Groups Comparison Sources of Error Ethics in Research The Importance of Statistics Descriptive Statistics Inferential Statistics Correlation USING PSYCHOLOGY: Writing a Research Report USING PSYCHOLOGY: Main Sections of a Written Report USING PSYCHOLOGY: Ancillaries of a Research Report REVIEW ACTIVITIES INTERESTED IN MORE? Methods and Data WHAT'S THE ANSWER? Why is it not enough for an advertiser to say, "Brushing with Ripsnort yields 16% fewer cavities"? "Sheila, I don't think I'll ever forget an argument I heard when I visited the Canadian Parliament during the Spring of 1998. Two Members of Parliament (MPs) were arguing on the floor about the average annual income for Canadian households." "What's so memorable about that, Bart?" asks Sheila. "A Liberal MP said something like, 'The average annual income is almost $63,000 (CD) per household throughout Ontario!' Another MP who was a Conservative got up -- in fact, he interrupted -- to point out, 'Nonsense! The average Ontario household earns less than $55,000 (CD) per year!' What made it so interesting is that both MPs were right." "That can't be," replies Sheila. "One of them has to be wrong!" Who's right here, Sheila or Bart? Why?
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Methods and Numbers - Chapter 2 38 PSYCHOLOGY: Exploring Behavior As an empirical science, psychological studies require the creation of experiments, with proper control conditions and regard for the ethics of conducting experiments. Ideas for experiments come from curiosity, past research, and theory. To establish a functional relationship between a cause and an effect, psychologists use control groups. They compare experimental- and control-group behavior between groups or within groups. In doing research psychologists must be on guard against various errors, including demand characteristics, and experimenter biases, caused by the process of measuring behavior. All psychological research is done following a strict set of ethical guidelines for treatment of participants. Statistics are important in analyzing the data generated in many psychological experiments. The simplest type of descriptive statistic is a frequency distribution of the raw data. Averages (mode, median, or mean) can also be calculated, as well as measures of variability and of the skewness of data. Inferential statistics are used to help a scientist decide whether experimental-control differences could occur by chance or are more likely due to the effects of the independent variable. Correlations summarize the size and nature (positive, zero, or negative) of a relation between two sets of data. A high correlation does not mean one variable has caused the other. Once the results are collected and the results analyzed, a
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Chptr_02 - Methods and Numbers - Chapter 2 Chapter 2:...

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