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Yash Vazirani

Chapter 1 Questions – Research

1. A scientific theory is an explanation of an integrated set of principles that organizes and

predicts behaviors or events. It also simplifies things by organizing isolated facts.

2. A hypothesis is a testable prediction about a theory. Example: Students who get enough

sleep at night perform better in school. An operational definition is a specific, concrete,

measurable, specification of the independent and dependent variables. The independent

variable would be the amount of sleep a student gets per night. Enough sleep is

operationally defined as seven hours per night. The dependent variable is the grades of

the students. “Better grades” are operationally defined as five percentage points higher

than those of the control group.

3. Replication is important because it increases the reliability of the results. If the same

results are achieved consistently, then the data can be considered trustworthy and a

conclusion can be reached about the theory.

4. A case study is an observation technique in which one person is studied in depth in the

hope of revealing universal principles. A survey is a research method that asks people to

report their behavior or opinions. A naturalistic observation is observing and recording

behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the

situation. A correlation is a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and

thus of how well either factor predicts the other. An experiment is a research method in

which an investigator manipulates one or more factors to observe the effect on some

behavior or mental process. Statistical reasoning is an interpretation of data using

statistical tools that help us notice what the human eye may miss. Tools such as the mean,

median, mode, and range can be used as a way to analyze data. After applying one of the
measures of central tendency, one must make inferences from the data and form


5. A sample is a group of people in an experiment. A population is the group of people that

the theory applies to. It includes all the people in a group, from which samples may be

drawn for a study.

6. A correlation is a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of

how well either factor predicts the other. Positive correlation: as the profit of a company

increases, its stock price increases. Negative correlation: as the amount of pollution

increases, the quality of life decreases.

7. The essential elements of a good scientific experiment include having operationally

defined independent and dependent variables. In addition, effective experiment has equal

experimental groups and a control group, representative sampling, double-blind

procedures and replication.

8. An independent variable is the experimental factor that is manipulated or the variable

whose effect is being studied. A dependent variable is the behavior of the subject that

may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable. The experimental

group is a group of subjects in an experiment who are exposed to the treatment. A control

group is a group of subjects who are not changed in any way. An experiment could be

conducted based on the hypothesis that the more time students spend surfing the web, the

worse they perform in school. The independent variable is the amount of time they spend

on the Internet and the dependent variable is grades. The two experimental groups can

include a group of students that spends an average of 2-3 hours on the Internet and

another that spends more than five hours. The control group would consist of a group of

students who spend as much time as they normally would surfing the web. A survey can
be taken from each group and the results can be compared with the students’ grade point

average to reach a conclusion.

9. A placebo effect is any effect on behavior caused by the administration of an inert

substance or condition, which is assumed to be an active agent. The double-blind

procedure is an experimental procedure in which both the research participants and the

research staff are ignorant about whether the research participants have received the

treatment or a placebo.

10. It is important in an experiment to have experimental and control group that are equal in

most ways to determine if any differences between them are the result of the treatment. .

If the two groups were not equal, the results could occur from factors other than the

active variant. For instance, if the experiment attempted to find the effect of a certain

drug, both the experimental group must be equal. If it turns out that many of the people in

one group did not have the disease, then the experiment would be considered inaccurate.

The researchers erroneously concluded that the drug was effective in its treatment when

in fact, most of the people in a group did not have the disease.

11. A mean would provide a more representative measure when reporting test scores because

it would incorporate every score in the class and provide an overview of the performance

by the class. A median would be more appropriate if there are fewer points of data and if

there are outliers at one extreme. A median would be used in calculating home values for

a town because there would be outliers that would significantly skew the average to the

upside due to a few ridiculously expensive houses.