In_Depth_QuALMRI

In_Depth_QuALMRI - Organizing Scientific Thinking Using the...

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Organizing Scientific Thinking Using the QuALMRI Framework Written by Kevin Ochsner and modified by others. Based on a scheme devised by Steve Kosslyn. This handout outlines a structured process for generating, asking, evaluating and answering scientific questions. This process, denoted by the acronym QuALMRI, can be used to organize and plan your own research, outline your writing about it, and help understand the research of others. QuALMRI stands for: Qu estion, A lternative hypotheses, L ogic & design, M ethod, R esults, and I nferences. Importantly, QuALMRI can help you make clear what the question is that you are asking, and help you to relate it directly to some means of testing it. Furthermore, this process is useful not just in psychology and science, but in any endeavor in which data is used to discriminate between alternative arguments. This handout has 2 parts: 1) a detailed description of the 5 main steps of the QuALMRI process and 2) a streamlined blank template for use in outlining. Part 1: QuALMRI in Depth I. Begin with a Question : i.e. what do you want to know about? All research should be motivated by a clearly defined question or set of questions that the research seeks to address. A. Questions can be considered at two levels: 1. Diffuse questions provide a “bigger-picture” motivation for research, such as, “how does gender matter in social interaction?” These questions cannot be addressed in single experiments, but rather are answered by considering patterns of data across different studies, each of which addresses a more specific question. 2. Specific questions are “bite size” pieces of larger, more diffuse, ones. For example, given a general interest in gender and social interaction, a more specific, more focused question might be, “how do men and women offer different types of verbal and nonverbal feedback during conversation?” This question could be refined further by focusing more closely on examination of specific types of feedback that are offered particular situations. B. Make clear the connection between diffuse and specific questions. Usually a diffuse “big picture” question is made clear at the beginning of an article, and specific smaller questions to be addressed in individual experiments are also identified. Clarifying the connection between them is essential for mapping out the motivation behind the research. As an experimenter, this entails making clear how your specific questions relate to the more diffuse motivating issues; as a reader/evaluator of other’s work, it entails extracting this information and 1
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making sure that the specific questions addressed in each experiment meaningfully relate to the “bigger picture.” C. Good questions are motivated by theories, and experiments addressing such questions have implications for the correctness of the theory. Just as we cannot explore a large issue in just one study, we cannot design a single experiment to test a comprehensive theory all at once. Instead, we have to test the theory bit by
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course EC 10 taught by Professor Mankiw during the Spring '08 term at Harvard.

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In_Depth_QuALMRI - Organizing Scientific Thinking Using the...

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