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  • WHS AP PsychologyUnit 1: Science of PsychologyEssential Task 1-5:Describe descriptive research studies taking into account random sampling, wording-effect and applicable biases.

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  • Essential Task 1-5: Describe descriptive research studiesNaturalistic ObservationObserver BiasCan not replicate or generalizeCase StudiesCan not replicate or generalizeSurveystaking into account random sampling, Wording-effectSocial Desirability BiasNon-response BiasOutline

  • 3 Types of Descriptive ResearchNaturalistic ObservationSurveyCase Studies

  • Descriptive Research DESCRIBES

  • Naturalistic ObservationWhat is it? A descriptive research method involving the systematic study of animal or human behavior in natural settings rather than the laboratoryHuh? Researcher describes the behavior of the human or animal in their natural settings

  • Naturalistic ObservationStrengthsThe behavior is more natural than if they were in the labWeaknessesCan not replicate. Replication involves the process of repeating a study using the same methods, different subjects, and different experimenters. If you cant replicate you cant retest the results or apply them to new situations to see just how generalizable it is.Can not generalize (apply them to new situations) your findings.Observer bias - occurs when the observers (or researcher team) know the goals of the study or the hypotheses and allow this knowledge to influence their observations during the study

  • Naturalistic Observations

  • Case StudiesWhat is it? Study of a single individual or just a few individuals in order to describe their situation.Purpose? Take advantage of situation that you can not replicate (make happen again)How? Gather as much evidence as you can: Observation, scores on psychological tests, interviews, medical records etc.


  • Case StudiesStrengths:Takes advantage of nonreplicable situationsYou get a lot of in-depth understandingWeaknesses:Observer bias is a problemCan not generalize (apply your findings to other individuals or groups)Can not replicate

  • Two most famous case studies in psychologyPhineas GageGenie

  • The Lost Children of Rockdale CountyCase Study of a syphilis epidemic at a high school in an affluent suburb of Atlanta

  • SurveyWhat is it? Descriptive research technique in which questionnaires or interviews are administered to a selected group of people. Huh? To describe a large group of people you ask them carefully worded questions.

  • SurveyStrengthsYou can generate a lot of information for a fairly low costOvercomes the false consensus effectIf you randomly sampled then you can generalize your findings to the population from which you sampled.

    Weymouth High SchoolHingham High School

  • SurveyWeaknessesWording EffectWording can change the results of a survey.Should cigarette ads be allowed on television?Should cigarette ads be forbid on television?Social Desirability EffectIf directly asked about a sensitive subject, we may alter our answer to what we think is socially acceptable.

  • The root of the problem is that in real life, all scientists ever observe are samples. And, in real life, all they want to know about is populations Nancy Darling, Ph.D.Sampling from a population

  • Random SamplingSampling in which each potential population member has an equal chance of being surveyed.Cant just pull names from a hatAlphabetical list and pick every 10th name. Outline

  • Non-response BiasWomen and Love study done by Shere Hite 197498% Dissatisfied by their Marriage75% Extramarital AffairsBut to all of those who were mailed surveys only 4% responded.

  • When randomly sampled93% of women are satisfied in their marriagesOnly 7% had affairs

  • Comparison

    Research MethodAdvantagesLimitationsNaturalisticObservationMore accurate than reports after the factBehavior is more naturalObserver can alter behaviorObserver BiasNot generalizableCase StudiesDepthTakes advantage of circumstances that can not be replicatedNot generalizableTime consuming and expensiveObservational BiasSurveys Immense amount of dataQuick and inexpensiveGeneralizableReplicable Poor sampling can skew resultsWording EffectSocial Desirability Bias

    *Logo Green is R=8 G=138 B=76 Blue is R= 0 G=110 B=184Border Grey is R=74 G=69 B=64******


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