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Unformatted text preview: Research Methods Research The Scientific Method *Theory *an explanation using an integrated set of principles that organizes and predicts observations observations *Theories are never proved…only disproved *Hypothesis *a testable prediction *often implied by a theory *Use hypotheses to shape the theory The Process behind Scientific Method Concerns when testing hypotheses *Operational Definition *a statement of procedures (operations) used to define research variables *example*intelligence may be operationally defined as what an intelligence test measures *Replication *repeating the essence of a research study to see whether the basic finding extends to other participants and circumstances other *usually with different participants in different situations Types of Psychological Research *Observation *Describe behavior *Correlations *Help predict behavior based on previous responses *Experiments *Help explain behavior by manipulating the situations Observation *Case Study *In-depth study of one individual *Cons: individuals may be the exception to the rule, or an individual may not be typical of the population in general typical Observation *Survey *Questions people about their behavior or opinions *Concerns: Concerns: *Wording Effects: changing the order or the words in questions can dramatically effect the results dramatically *Sampling: who did you talk to and were they an accurate representation of the population of interest? *Saying vs. Doing: there may be a gap between what people say and what they actually do, i.e. the Edsel. Intention does not always equal action. they *Social desirability: people will tell you what they think you want to hear or what is “appropriate” what Observation Observation *Naturalistic Observation *Watching and recording the behavior of organisms in their natural environment *Does not explain behavior, just describes it Correlation *Through surveys and observations we can analyze the data to test correlations. *A correlation is how two things influence one another *Positive correlation: between 0 and 1.00 indicates a direct relationship. When one increases or decreases the other also increases or decreases one *Ex: # of hours studied and score on exam *Negative correlation: between 0 and -1.00 indicates an inverse relationship or when one variable increases the other decreases and vice versa when *Ex: # of cups of coffee drank and score on exam *No correlation: around zero indicates that the two variables are not actually related to one another related *Ex: # of pencils and score on exam Correlation *Correlation vs. Causation *Just because there is a relationship between the two variables it does not mean that one causes the other to change. causes Correlation *Illusory Correlation *the perception of a relationship where none exists Random Chance vs. Patterns *You are just as likely to get dealt either hand! Experimentation *To try to discover cause and effect use an experiment *Experiments: *Manipulate the factors of interest *Hold constant “control for” other factors Experimentation *Population *all the cases in a group, from which samples may be drawn for a study *Random Sample *a sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion chance Experimentation *Evaluation of therapies *Placebo: a false treatment. Some patients get the experimental treatment and some get a placebo which is harmless get *Double-blind: when neither the patient or the researcher knows if the patient is receiving the experimental treatment or the placebo receiving *Placebo effect: even though the patient is not receiving the experimental treatment they may have positive or negative outcomes based on the belief that they are in the they experimental condition (i.e. receiving the actual treatment as opposed to being in experimental the control group where they get the placebo.) the *Random Assignment: each participant has an equal chance of being in the experimental or control group. This helps to eliminate pre-existing group experimental differences differences Experimentation *Independent Variable Independent *the experimental factor that is manipulated *the variable whose effect is being studied *Dependent Variable Dependent *the experimental factor that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable *in psychology it is usually a behavior or mental process in Example of Experimental Study Example *Half the students got the “right” tapes, half got the “wrong” or switched tape *There was no change in memory or self-esteem for the students before and after the five week study week *However, the students believed that their memory or self-esteem was improved by the tapes no matter what they were actually listening to tapes Comparing Research Methods Frequently Asked Questions *Can lab experiments really tell us anything about day to day life? *Psychologists try to replicate everyday life as much as possible in the lab, but also want to control for outside factors that may influence the results. Therefore lab want studies can be applied to everyday life to the extent that the environment they were studies tested in was similar to the outside world. This is often called generalizability and it tested is the extent to which lab findings can be applied to the general population in the is “real world”. “real Frequently Asked Questions *Does behavior depend on one’s culture and gender? *Culture = the shared ideas and behaviors that one generation passes on to the next *Yes, but we also share biological similarities that can influence behavior and are not influenced by culture or gender. The extent of the influence that gender and not culture has on an individual’s behavior is a matter of debate and varies by culture individual. Culture or gender can influence how one interprets or acts on an individual. underlying process that transcends culture and gender. underlying Frequently Asked Questions *Why do psychologists study animals? *To learn about the animal itself and also to learn about human behavior. Physiology between animals and humans can be similar. Looking at a less complex species can between help show exactly the mechanisms at work. help *Is it ethical to experiment on animals? *This may be a matter of opinion where one must weigh the positive outcomes from animal experimentation vs. the pain and suffering of the animals. There are animal guidelines for the humane use of animals in experiments and these studies need to guidelines be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) the same way that studies be involving human subjects need to be approved. involving Frequently Asked Questions *Is it ethical to experiment on people? *The general concensis is that as long as the participants are made aware of the risks and benefits of participation and are allowed to discontinue participation at any and time during the study and the study is not harmful and the information gathered time confidential then it is ethical. All studies involving human subjects have to be confidential reviewed by the IRB before they can begin. reviewed Ethical or Unethical? *Surreptitiously observing and timing the length of time taken to urinate by men in a public restroom public *Covertly filming people who strip the parts from seemingly abandoned cars *Staging a shoplifting episode in a drug store and observing the shopper’s reactions *Ask participants to sing “Feelings” *Approach members of the opposite sex on a college campus and ask them to have sex *Hide under dormitory beds and eavesdrop on college student’s conversations Frequently Asked Questions *Is psychology free of value judgments? *No, How and what you study is determined by your values and how you interpret your results is colored by them as well. Frequently Asked Questions Frequently *Is psychology potentially dangerous? *Possibly. In the wrong hands psychological findings can be used for bad purposes (ex: propaganda). However, the good that results from psychological study far (ex: outweighs the potential harm that could be caused. outweighs Tips for Studying Psychology *Distribute your time *Study over time instead of cramming *Learn to think critically *Look for assumptions and values, evaluate evidence and assess conclusions *In class, listen actively *Listen for: main ideas, and sub-ideas. Write them down. Ask questions *Overlearn *Test yourself, study lots, do not overestimate how much you know, and review what you think you already know you *Be a smart test-taker *Do the essay questions first, organize your thoughts before you write. With multiple choice try to think of the correct answer before reading the choices choice ...
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- Fall '10