Terms  Definitions 

Basic Research 
research that answers fundamental questions about behavior

Applied research 
research that investigates issues that have implications for everyday life and provides solutions for every day problems

empirical 
based on systematic collection of data

scientific method 
the set of assumptions, rules, and procedures scientists use to conduct research

objective 
free from the personal bias or emotions of the scientist

laws 
principals that are so general as to apply to all situations in a given domain of inquiry

theory 
an integrated set of principals that explains and predicts many but not all observed relationships within a given domain of inquiry

falsifiable 
a characteristic of a theory or research hypothesis in which the variables of interest can be adequately measured and the predicted relationships among the variable can be shown through research to be incorrect

research hypothesis 
a specific and falsifiable prediction about the relationship between or among two or more variables

variable 
any attribute that can assume different values among different people or across different times or places

conceptual variables 
abstract ideas that form the basis of research hypotheses

measured variables 
the variables consisting of numbers that represent the conceptual variables

operational definition 
a precise statement of how a conceptual variable is turned into a measured variable

deception 
a situation that occurs whenever research participants are not completely and fully informed about the nature of the research project before participating in it

institutional review board (IRB) 
a committee of at least 5 members whose goal it is to determine costbenefit ratio of research conducted within an institution

informed consent 
a procedure, conducted before a participant begins a research session, designated to explain the research procedures, and inform the participant of his/her rights during the investigation

debriefing 
a procedure designated to fully explain the purposes and procedures of the research and remove any harmful after effects of participation

research design 
an approach used to collect, analyze and interpret data

descriptive research 
research designed to provide a snapshot of current affairs

correlational research 
research designed to discover relationships among variables and to allow the prediction of future events from present knowledge

experimental research 
research in which initial equivalence among research participants in more than one group is created, followed by a manipulation of a given experience for these groups and a measurement of the influence of the manipulation

case study 
a descriptive record of one or more individual's experiences and behavior

survey 
a measure administered through interviews or written questionairs to get a picture of the beliefs or behaviors of a sample of people of interest

sample 
the people chosen to participate in a research project

population 
in a descriptive research design, the people that the researcher wishes to know about

naturalistic observation 
research based on the observation of everyday events

descriptive statistics 
numbers that summarize the distribution of scores on a measured variable

normal distribution 
a data distribution that is shaped like a bell

Arithmetic mean 
symbolized by the letter M, the most commonly used measure of central tendency

median 
the score in the center of the distribution, meaning that 50% of the scores are greater than the median, and 50% of the scores are less than the median

Mode 
the values that occur most frequently in a variable's distribution

standard deviation 
symbolized by S, the most commonly used measure of the dispersion of a variable's distribution

scatter plot 
a visual image of the relationship between 2 variables

pearson correlation coefficient 
symbolized by R, a statistic indicating the strength and direction of a linear relationship. The value of the correlation coefficient ranges from R= 1.00 to R=+1.00

multiple regression 
a statistical technique, based on correlation coefficients among variables, that allows predicting a single outcome variable from more than 1 predictor variable

commoncausal variable 
a variable that is not part of the research hypothesis, but that causes both the predictor and the outcome variable and thus produces the observed correlation between them

spurious relationship 
a relationship between 2 variables in which a commoncausal variable produces and "explains away" the relationship

independent variable 
in an experiment, the causing variable that is created (manipulated) by the experimenter

dependent variable 
in an experiment, the measured variable that is expected to be influenced by the experimental manipulation

random assignment to conditions 
a procedure used in experimental research designs in which the conditions that which participant is assigned to is determined through a random process

construct validity 
the extent to which the variables used in the research adequately assess the conceptual variables they were designed to measure

reliability 
the consistency of a measured variable

statistical significance 
the confidence with which we can conclude data are not due to chance or random error

statistical conclusion validity 
the extent to which we can be certain that the researcher has drawn accurate conclusions about the statistical significance of the research

internal validity 
the extent to which we can trust the conclusions that have been drawn about the casual relationship between the independent and dependent variables

confounding variable 
a variable other than the independent variable on which the participants in the experimental condition differ systematically from those in other conditions

experimenter bias 
a situation in which the experimenter subtly treats the research participants in the various experimental conditions differently, resulting in an invalid confirmation of the research hypothesis

doubleblind experiment 
an experimental design in which both the researcher and the research participants are blind to condition

external validity 
the extent to which the results of a research design can be generalized beyond the specific way the original experiment was conducted

generalization 
the tendency to respond to stimuli that resemble the original conditioned stimulus

replication 
the process of repeating previous research

metaanalysis 
a statistical technique that uses the results of existing studies to integrate and draw conclusions about those studies

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