Measuring Behavior 1.27

Measuring Behavior 1.27 - Research Methods PSYC E226 1/27/10

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Research Methods PSYC E226 1/27/10
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Learning Objectives Understand what a variable is and learn how to define it operationally Understand and apply different modalities of measurement Learning types of validity Learning types of reliability
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Defining Variables  How would you measure height? How would you measure academic performance? How would you measure intelligence? How would you measure creativity?
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What is a variable? A characteristic or condition that varies between individuals and/or over time Usually we are interested in how variables relate Do students with higher SAT scores have higher grades? Do children in Head Start perform better in elementary school than those not in a pre-K program? Variables are measured in different ways We usually try to find numerical ways to represent our topics of interest
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Transforming theory into  variables Research starts with a theory , or a hypothesis about how behavior works Students in this class will learn research methods A construct is a hypothetical attribute or mechanism “Learning research methods” cannot be directly observed In research, we find ways to measure a construct so that we can see how it relates to other things (being in this class)
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Operational Definitions An operational definition is a way of measuring a construct that cannot be directly observed. Defines the construct for the purpose of the research “Learning research methods” is defined by receiving passing grades on assignments, exams, and participating in class. Keep in mind that many abstract variables may be very difficult to operationalize We use behaviors that are relevant to this variable How is depression measured? Intelligence?
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Operational Definitions If a construct has been studied before, it is best to use the same operational definition used in other research Consult the literature to understand how a construct has been measured in the past. Beck Depression Inventory for measuring depression
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This note was uploaded on 06/03/2011 for the course PSYC E226 taught by Professor Smolowitz during the Spring '10 term at South Carolina.

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Measuring Behavior 1.27 - Research Methods PSYC E226 1/27/10

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