the research methods used in psychology research enterprise in psychology

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  • THE RESEARCH METHODS USED IN PSYCHOLOGYRESEARCH ENTERPRISE IN PSYCHOLOGY

  • GOALS OF THE SCIENTIFIC ENTERPRISEThere are 3 interrelated goals1: Measurement and descriptionhow do we measure the phenomenon2: Understanding and predictionhypothesis, variables (measurable conditionscontrolled or observed)3: Application and controltheories (bring understanding from description and generates new predictions)

  • STEPS IN A SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION1: Formulate a testable hypothesisvariables must be definedOperational definition describes actions or operations that will be used to measure or control a variable

  • STEPS2: Select research method and design the studyDepends on nature of the questionExperiments, case studies, surveys, naturalistic observation, etc

  • STEPS3: Collect the dataHow data is collected depends on what is being investigated

  • STEPS4: Analyze data and draw conclusionsStatistics are used to analyze and determine the validity of the hypotheses

  • STEPS5: Report the findingsFindings usually submitted to a journal: periodical that publishes technical and scholarly material

  • ADVANTAGES OF THE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH1: It is clear and precise2: Intolerant of error---findings are reviewed by other skeptical researchers

  • EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH

  • EXPERIMENTDef: a research method where a variable is manipulated under carefully controlled conditions and observes changes in that variable

  • INDEPENDENT AND DEPENDENT VARIABLESInd. Variable: one that is changed to see its impact on another variable (controlled or manipulated)Dep. Variable: one that is affected by manipulation of the ind. variable

  • EXPERIMENTAL AND CONTROL GROUPS--Experimental Group: subjects who receive special treatment in regard to the ind. variable--Control Group: do not receive special treatment--Both groups must be similar, except in treatment

  • EXTRANEOUS VARIABLESDef: any variables other than ind. variable that seem to influence the dep. variable in a specific studyEven if groups are alike there are smaller differences that could affect outcome

  • EXTRANEOUS VARIABLESConfounding of variables: when 2 variables are linked together in a way that makes it difficult to sort out their specific traitsMakes it difficult to see which variable is affecting the outcome

  • HOW TO PREVENT EXTRANEOUS VARIABLESRandom assignment: when subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to any group or condition in the study

  • VARIATIONS IN DESIGNING EXPERIMENTSSometimes it is good to use only one groupInstead you create control conditions and experimental conditions

  • VARIATIONS CONTINUEDManipulate more than one ind. variable in a single experimentAllows researchers to see if two variables interact

  • VARIATIONS CONTINUEDUse more than one dependent variable in a single studyHelps form a more complete picture

  • ADVANTAGES OF EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCHAllows conclusions about cause and effect relationships btwn variablesCreates precise controlHelps avoid extraneous variables

  • DISADVANTAGES OF EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCHExperiments are artificialExperimental method can not be used in some instances (ethics)Sometimes it is hard to manipulate variables

  • PERMITS RESEARCHERS TO DESCRIBE PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR AND DISCOVER LINKS BETWEEN VARIABLESDESCRIPTIVE/ CORRELATIONAL

  • NATURALISTIC OBSERVATIONDef: researcher observes w/o interfering directlyStrength: experiments are less artificialWeakness: hard to remain unobtrusive

  • CASE STUDIESDef: in-depth investigation of an individual subjectIncludes: interviews, observation, testingGood w/psych disordersProblem: highly subjective

  • SURVEYSDef: use of questionnaires or interviews to gather info. about specific aspects of a subjects behaviorUse to gather info. hard to observeEasy to gather from a large sample

  • ADVANTAGES OF DESCRIPTIVE/CORRELATIONAL RESEARCHBroadens scope of what can be studiedCovers some of what cant w/experimental researchCannot control eventsCannot demonstrate that 2 variables are casually related

  • STATISTICS: USE OF MATHEMATICS TO ORGANIZE, SUMMARIZE, AND INTERPRET NUMERICAL DATASTATISTICS AND RESEARCH

  • DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICSUsed to organize and summarize dataInclude measure of central tendency, measures of variability, and the coefficient of correlation

  • CENTRAL TENDENCY3 measures:1: Median: score that falls in the center of the distribution of scores2: Mean: avg. of scores (most useful)3: Mode: most frequent score

  • VARIABILITYDef: how much the scores in a distribution vary from each other and from the meanStandard of deviation: an index of the amount of variability in a set of dataLarge variability = large standard of deviationSmall variability = small s.o.d.

  • CORRELATIONDef: when 2 variables are related to each otherCorrelation coefficient: numerical index of the degree of relationship btwn 2 variablesindicates direction of correlation and the strength of the relationship

  • POSITIVE/NEGATIVE CORRELATIONPositive(+): variables co-vary in the same direction (Ex.: increased study time = increased test score)Negative(-): variables co-vary in opposite direction (Ex.: increased absences = decreased test scores)

  • STRENGTH OF CORRELATIONSize of coefficient indicates strengthCoefficient varies btwn 0 and +1.00 (pos.); 0 and -1.00 (neg)Closer to zero, the weaker the relationship

  • CORRELATION AND CAUSATIONCorrelation does NOT mean causation

  • INFERENTIAL STATISTICSDef: used to interpret data and draw conclusionsDid chance play a factor?Statistical significance: exists when the probability that the observed findings are due to chance is very low (5 chances in 100)

  • EVALUATING RESEARCH

  • REPLICATIONDef: repetition of a studyTo test resultsCan change results entirely

  • META-ANALYSISDef: combines statistical results of many studies of the same question, giving an estimate of the size and consistency of a variables effectAllows to test the generalizability of findings across people, places, and times and variations in procedure in a precise and objective way

  • SAMPLINGSample: collection of subjects being observed in a studyPopulation: group from which the sample is taken

  • SAMPLING BIASDef: exists when a sample is not representative of the population from which it was drawn

  • PLACEBO EFFECTDef: occurs when participants expectations lead them to experience some change even though they receive empty, fake, or ineffectual treatment

  • DISTORTIONS IN SELF-REPORT DATAQuestionnaires, inventories, interviews have flawsSocial desirability bias: tendency to give socially approved answers to questions about oneself

  • DISTORTIONSResponse set: tendency to respond to questions in a particular way that is unrelated to the content of the questions

  • EXPERIMENTER BIASDef: when researchers expectations about the outcome of a study influence the results obtained

  • DOUBLE-BLIND PROCEDUREDef: research strategy in which neither subjects nor experimenters know which subjects are in the experimental or control groups

  • DO THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?ETHICS

  • QUESTION OF DECEPTIONDeceiving in order to observe specific situationsProponents: white lies, not harmful to participants, benefits worth itCritics: it is lying, may diminish trust, may produce distress in subjects

  • ANIMAL RESEARCHSome treatments are unacceptable for humansOnly 7-8% of all psychological studies involve animalsVery controversial